Fruits like 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; were compared with blueberries (cultivar Biloxi), were identified for their antioxidant properties.
'Finding unique food ingredients and flavours with health-promoting properties is a key market requirement these days. And, by encouraging growers to cultivate native fruits, we are also contributing to the growing need to ensure agriculture becomes more sustainable,' said research team leader, Food Science Australia's Izabela Konczak.
Co-author Dr Michael Netzel - a post-doctoral researcher at Food Science Australia supported by Germany's Alexander von Humboldt Foundation - says the native fruits were shown to be rich sources of antioxidants, with stronger radical scavenging activities than blueberries.
'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,' Dr Netzel says.
'Using native Australian fruits as a source of phytochemicals for use in foods could offer enormous opportunities for the food and functional food industries studies to identify additional antioxidant compounds as well as clinical trials for testing the fruits' bioactivity in vivo, are in progress.' he said.
The preliminary results are published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry in 2006.