Quality Characteristics and Volatile Compounds of Shea Butter Under Different Storage Conditions
Proper storage of shea butter is crucial to maintain quality and ensure availability of the product over time, particularly in the production zones where refrigeration is not an option. The present study investigated several quality characteristics of shea butter under different storage conditions. Three packaging materials (i.e. calabash, black plastic, and transparent plastic), often used to store shea butter in the production zones, were used to store the butter for six months at ambient conditions (28-30ºC) and at low temperatures (4-7ºC). After 6 months of storage, all parameters investigated were significantly affected by storage conditions and storage duration while the effects of the packaging materials were less pronounced. At ambient conditions, changes were more pronounced than at low temperatures. For instance, after 6 months of storage, the increase of free fatty acid of butter stored in a calabash was three times higher than that stored in refrigerator (1.9 % at ambient conditions against 0.53 % in refrigerator). Also, the rate of oxidation reaction was two times higher at ambient temperature than at refrigerator temperature. After 6 months of butter storage, the number of volatile compounds increased from 42 to 54 at room temperature and from 42 to 47 at refrigerator. The increase in rate of chemical reactions at ambient conditions is in accordance with the hypothesis that the quality changes of shea butter are caused by chemical reactions influenced by the temperature of storage. Black plastic containers seemed to be the better packaging materials for a long storage period.
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