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Fat content and fatty acid profiles of shea tree (Vitellaria paradoxa subspecies nilotica) ethno-varieties in Uganda

Gwali S., Nakabonge G., Lamoris Okullo J.B., Eilu G., Forestier-Chiron N., Piombo G., Davrieux F.. 2012. Forests, Trees and Livelihoods, 21 (4) : p. 267-278.

DOI: 10.1080/14728028.2012.755810

Fat content and fatty acid composition are important nutritional properties of shea fruits. Farmers inUganda report the presence of local shea tree ethno-varieties, but it is necessary to investigate their relative fat content and fatty acid composition to evaluate the economic importance of these ethno-varieties. Near infrared spectrophotometry (NIRS) was used to determine the fat content as well as the fatty acid composition of 44 ethno-varieties.Wet chemistry (soxtec petroleum - ether fat extraction and gas chromatography)methodswere used to validate the results fromNIRS. Fat content ranged from43.9%to 58.4%while fatty acid composition was dominated by oleic (47-62%) and stearic acid (25-38%). Other fatty acids present were palmitic, vaccenic, linoleic, linolenic and arachidic acids. There was no significant difference in stearic, palmitic and oleic acid composition between ethno-varieties. However, significant variation of fat content, vaccenic and linoleic acids was observed between some ethno-varieties, perhaps due to locality, climatic and tree-totree differences. These findings can be utilized for the selection of ethno-varieties that are suitable for commercial production of shea oil in Uganda.

Mots-clés : vitellaria paradoxa; acide gras; teneur en lipides; variété indigène; fruit; spectroscopie infrarouge; ouganda

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