Influence of Climate on the Tocopherol Content of Shea Butter

Steven Maranz, Zeev Wiesman

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    66 Scopus citations


    The shea tree, Vitellaria paradoxa Gaertner, is the source of a commercial seed fat known as shea butter. High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) analysis of the tocopherol content of shea butters from different regions of Africa showed high variability between provenances and a significant effect of climate on α-tocopherol levels. The total tocopherol content (α,β, γ, and δ) in 102 shea butter samples from 11 countries ranged from 29 to 805 μg/g of shea butter, with a mean of 220 μg/g. α-Tocopherol, the principal form detected, averaged 64% of the total tocopherol content. Shea butters from Vitellaria populations situated in hot, dry climates had the highest levels of α-tocopherol (for example, a mean of 414 μg/g in samples from N'Djamena, Chad). The lowest concentrations of α-tocopherol were found in samples from cool highland areas, especially in northern Uganda (a mean of 29 μg/g).

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2934-2937
    Number of pages4
    JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
    Issue number10
    StatePublished - 19 May 2004


    • Africa
    • Antioxidants
    • Shea butter
    • Temperature effects
    • Tocopherols

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Chemistry
    • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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