The processing methods, kernel storage and phytosanitory conditions are some of the major challenges leading to production of low quality shea butter. The effect of processing germinated shea kernels on the overall quality of processed butter was examined. Shea fruits were picked under different shea trees, pooled, and divided into two portions: one portion was processed immediately; the other was germinated for 9 days. The butter expressed from the respective portions was analyzed using standard methods. The yield of the extracted butter from the germinated and ungerminated kernel was 52 and 49%, respectively. The physicochemical properties of butter from the ungerminated and germinated nuts were free fatty acid (FFA) (0.22 and 1.66%), saponification value (SV), (223 and 239 mg KOH/g), unsaponifiable matter (7.77 and 9.39%), iodine value (Wijs) (IV) (33 and 30), and peroxide value (PV) (0.10 and 8.14 meq/kg), respectively. Germination process depleted the lipid content of shea kernel, and elevated the FFA by 7-folds, the PV by 81, while IV decreased. Again, germination mobilized linoleic acid more than the other constituent fatty acids, and the elemental composition remained generally unaffected. Prompt sterilization and sorting out the germinated kernels are necessary steps to improving the quality of shea butter.
Key words: Germinated shea kernel, butter quality, desaturation, fatty acids, elemental analysis.
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