Soil variation and its effect on the physical and chemical properties of shea butter, a product from the nut of the shea tree, were investigated in four districts of the northern region of Ghana. Thirty-six samples of freshly extracted shea butter together with 36 soil samples were collected and stored at 25°C for analysis. Clinical analysis of soil properties and the clinical analysis of the physical and chemical properties of shea butter were investigated using standard methods. The results showed that the soil organic matter (1.78%), soil organic carbon (1.03%), soil nitrogen (0.10%) and sandy soil have significant positive impact on the fat content (48.69%) of the shea kernel, and the soil cation exchange capacity (6.61%) has a negative effect. Soil properties do not have an impact on the chemical properties of the shea butter. This study thus concludes that apart from other factors such as the method adopted for the extraction of shea butter, soil composition contributes significantly to the quantity of shea butter extracted from the shea kernels.
Key words: Physical, chemical, soil quality, shea butter, fatty acids, vegetation, climate.
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