Effect of storage conditions on microbiological and physicochemical quality of shea butter.
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Storage conditions are key constraints for quality assurance of the shea (Vitellaria paradoxa Gaertner) butter. In the Sudan savannah Africa, storage conditions of butter produced by women vary across and among processors, traders and consumers. These conditions could impact the quality of the products and reduced their access to international market. The present study attempted to investigate the effect of storage duration and packaging materials on microbiological and physicochemical characteristics of shea butter under tropical climatic conditions. Five packaging materials traditionally used in shea butter value chain were tested for their efficacy in storing shea butter freshly produced. Total germs, yeasts and mould varied with packaging materials and storage duration. After 2 months of storage, moisture content of butter remained constant (5%) whereas acid value increased from 3.3 to 5.4 mg KOH/g, peroxide value from 8.1 to 10.1 meq O-2/kg and iodine value dropped from 48.8 to 46.2 mg I-2/100 g in shea butter irrespectively to the storage materials used. The basket papered with jute bag was the less effective in ensuring the quality of butter during storage while plastic containers and plastic bags seemed to be the best packaging materials.
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