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Chemical and biological significance of naturally occurring additives on African black soap and its performance

A. Adebomi Ikotun
O. Fisayo Ogundele
O. Mobolaji Kayode
C. John Ajaelu


The potassium ester (C11H23COO-K+) commonly known as African black soap was prepared by the action of palm kernel oil on cocoa pods. This was divided into four portions. Sample A contained the African Black soap without any modification, sample B was black soap modified with honey, sample C and sample D were modified with shear butter and coconut oil respectively. The pH, FTIR and phytochemical analyses of the samples were carried out. They were also screened for in-vitro antibacterial activities against two Gram-positive bacteria (Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus subtilis) and two Gram-negative bacteria (Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Escherichia coli). The pH determinations showed that all the samples were alkaline in nature with sample A having the lowest pH of 8.90, while sample B had the highest pH of 9.58. FTIR analyses of sample A revealed strong bands assigned to the υ (C=O) frequency of a keto group at 1668 and 1560 cm-1 and a strong band at 1379 cm-1 assigned to the υ (C-O) frequency of the ester oxygen. The spectra of samples B, C and D showed no complexation through these oxygen donor atoms, but rather some interactions with other present molecules. Phytochemical analyses showed that samples A and D were rich in saponin, all the samples were rich in both flavonoids and terpenoids, while tannins and steroids were absent in all the samples. Antimicrobial studies showed that only sample B was active against Staphylococcus aureus, while samples A, C and D were inactive against all tested microorganisms.

Keywords: Additives, African Black Soap, Phytochemical and Antimicrobial