Determination of the microbial and physiochemical composition of branded and unbranded Shea butter
Shea butter samples were randomly obtained from different local markets and supermarkets from two states in Nigeria for the unbranded and branded samples respectively. Isolation and identification of microbial contaminants as well as determination of some physiochemical parameters such as heavy metal levels, saponification and iodine composition for branded and unbranded samples. The Total heterotrophic Fungi count of unbranded samples ranged from 8.50×104 cfu/g to 3.20×107cfu/g while the branded samples showed no significant count, the total heterotrophic bacteria count of unbranded and branded samples ranged from 1.25×106cfu/g to 3.35×108cfu/g, total coliform counts ranged from 1.2×102cfu/g to 2.15×103cfu/g, total Staphylococcus counts of the unbranded and branded samples ranged from 2.71×105 to 3.55×105, The isolated microorganism include: Aspergillus niger (40%), Candida species (30%), Aspergillus fumigatus (10%), Penicillium species (10%) and Blastomyces species (10%). Escherichia coli (26.67%) Pseudomonas species (13.33%), Klebsiella specie (13.33%), Staphylococcus species (26.67%) and Bacillus species (20%). Significant difference was observed in saponification (183.73mgKOH/g and 174.46mgKOH/g) and iodine (40.6I2/100g and 37.94I2/100g) values respectively. Heavy metals present in the branded sample were manganese (Mn), iron (Fe) and zinc (Zn) while iron (Fe) and zinc (Zn) only were present in the unbranded sample. It can also be deduced that shea butter exposed and sold in the local markets and the branded samples which are not properly packaged harbor microbes and this may be harmful to the health of the users mostly newborn and those with injury on their skin. it is recommended that the Shea butter should be properly packaged or covered at sales point in order to reduce microbial re-contamination.
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