The use of enzyme consortium to aid the extraction of shea butter in the traditional village extraction process improves the quality of the shea butter. In this study, shea butter was extracted from three different shea kennel substrates; raw shea kennels (RASK), roasted shea kennels (ROSK) and shea kennel paste (SKEP) from a single variety of shea nuts (Vitellaria paradoxa) using the standard traditional extraction process and aided by 1:1:1 combination of enzymes: lipase, pectinase and cellulase.The characteristics of the resulting shea butter were investigated, and compared to existing recommended standards and export guidelines, using standard methods. The shea butter from raw shea kennels exhibited great qualities with moisture content of 0.18%; the free fatty acid levels of 1.60%; the peroxide valueof3.67 meq/g and the insoluble impurities level of 0.02 %. This generally places enzyme-assisted traditionally extracted shea butter as either Grade 1 or Grade 2. Enzyme-assisted extraction makes the shea butter an export commodity. In summary, shea butter from enzyme aided extraction has improved qualities, is exportable and useful across all the various industries.
Key words: Enzyme-assisted, traditional extraction, shea butter, substrate, free fatty acids.