EFFECT OF SHEA FRUIT SUGAR CONTENT ON SHEA (Vitellaria paradoxa L.) BUTTER QUALITY

A. K. Quainoo, A. Jibrim, F. Chimsah

Abstract


This study uses the indigenous knowledge of rural women in the shea parkland areas who are engaged in shea
nut picking and processing to determine the effect of shea fruit sugar content on shea butter quality. The study
was conducted within the shea parkland area in the Zoolanyili community in the Tolon District of Ghana. Shea
fruits from different trees were characterized based on the sweetness of the fruit pulp into three taste groups: very
sweet fruits (T1), sweet fruits (T2) and tasteless fruits (T3). The sugar content (Glucose, Fructose and sucrose)
of the fruit pulp were determined using gas chromatography. Generally, T1 recorded the highest fructose, glucose
and sucrose levels followed by T2 and T3 respectively. Shea butter from T1 recorded the lowest mean free fatty
acids (FFA) 1.35 % while T3 recorded the highest mean value of 9.76 %. Shea butter from T1 and T2 recorded
low FFA values and of higher quality than T3 which recorded high FFA value. FFA of shea butter extracted from
T1 and T2 were below 3% (< 3) hence first grade quality shea butter while the FFA of T3 was greater than 8%
(˃8) hence third grade shea butter. The correlation matrix revealed inverse relationship between the individual
sugars in the shea fruit pulp and butter FFA in the shea nut. Percentage FFA decreased as fructose, glucose and
sucrose in the shea fruits increased. There were no significant difference in the moisture content of the nuts
obtained from the characterized shea fruits.

Keywords: Shea Fruit, Sugar Content, Free Fatty Acids, Moisture Content, Butter Quality


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