Native fruits rich in antioxidants

A recent study by Food Science Australia (FSA) has revealed the high antioxidant levels in twelve native Australian fruits which could benefit the food and functional food industries.

Published in the journal Innovative Food Science & Emerging Technologies, the fruits were shown to be rich sources of antioxidants with stronger radical scavenging activities than blueberries, which are renowned for their high antioxidant properties.

The fruits include:

  • Kakadu plum
  • Illawarra plum
  • Burdekin plum
  • Davidson’s plum
  • Riberry
  • Red and yellow finger limes
  • Tasmanian pepper
  • Brush cherry
  • Cedar Bay cherry
  • Muntries
  • Molucca raspberry

“Compared to blueberries’ TEAC value of 39.45 trolox equivalents per gram, Kakadu plum and Burdekin plum had TEAC values of 204.8 and 192.0 trolox equivalents per gram,” co-author and FSA researcher Dr Michael Netzel said.

According to FSA, using native Australian fruits as a source of phytochemicals for use in foods could have many benefits for the food and functional food industries, and studies to identify additional antioxidant compounds as well as clinical trials for testing the fruits’ bioactivity are in progress.

“Finding unique food ingredients and flavours with health-promoting properties is a key market requirement these days,” FSA’s research team leader Izabela Konczak said.

“And by encouraging growers to cultivate native fruits, we are also contributing to the growing need to ensure agriculture becomes more sustainable.”

The research supports CSIRO efforts to realise the potential of Australia’s fledgling native food industry, currently estimated to be worth $14 million annually.

It is the first scientific study of the fruits as a source of antioxidants, confirming preliminary results published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry in 2006.

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