A research conducted by a final year student of Chemical Engineering Department, Federal Polytechnic Bida, Reuben Ndubueze has shown that enzymatic extraction of Shea oil from Shea kernel is the most effective means of improving oil yield.
According to Ndubueze, the research was carried out as part of project for his Higher National Diploma (HND) programme.
While laying emphasis on the importance and industrial uses of oil extracted from the product, he stated that “the oil serves as a major source of vegetable oil in the diet of common people”.
He added “the oil extracted from Shea kernel as well as the by-product is also beneficial for food and non-food materials as it can be use to make snacks and cakes. The oil can also be used for production of cosmetics, margarine and even detergents”.
Ndubueze said that enzymatic extraction is needed because new technologies need to be developed to overtake the disadvantage of the existing extraction methods and that the process is advantageous in that oil yield is increased without the use of drastic operation conditions such as high temperature and use of organic solvents.
The supervisor of the research, who is also the assistant examination officer of the department, Engr. Abdullahi Yakatun said that the enzymatic extraction is more faster, economical and can serve as a work force serving as a source of income to many communities engaging in the exercise.
Yakatan explained that enzymatic extraction of oil from Shea kernel is almost the same way of extracting oil from groundnut, adding that “the researcher took a very giant effort by going to Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi, Lagos, to obtain enzymes and carry out the research.”