Aussie Bush Tucker Takes The Fight to Free Radicals


The other month we observed rjust one of the companies benefiting from an awakening of interest in indigenous Australia bush foods. The future looks bright for the fledgling industry, which is estimated to be currently worth about $14 AUD million a year. Part that optimism stems from a research report just published in the international print journal Innovative Food Science & Emerging Technologies, that identified a dozen native Australian fruits that had much higher antioxidant capacity than the control fruit: a blueberry (cultivar Biloxi). The locals included Kakadu plum, Illawarra plum, Burdekin plum, Davidson's plum, riberry, red and yellow finger limes, Tasmanian pepper, brush cherry, Cedar Bay cherry, muntries and Molucca raspberry. Whereas the blueberry, renown for its high antioxidant levels had a TEAC value of 39.45 trolox equivalents per gram, the Kakadu plum, for example, scored a much more robust 204.8. The US National Cancer Institute cautiously notes that "Antioxidants protect cells from damage caused by unstable molecules known as free radicals," while Food Science Australia observed that "Antioxidants are thought to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease, autoimmune and cardiovascular disease, cancer, cataractogenesis, diabetes, macular regeneration, MS, muscular dystrophy and pancreatitis." As one might imagine finding high levels of such good guys in cultivable plants has significant positive implications. As research team leader, Food Science Australia's Izabela Konczak put it: "[...] by encouraging growers to cultivate native fruits, we are also contributing to the growing need to ensure agriculture becomes more sustainable." ::Food Science Australia, via ::CSIRO. Pic of finger limes from Daleys Nursery.

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