Australian Native Fruits and their Products and Preservation
Australia is home to thousands of species of unique plant life, many of which have long been appreciated by First Nations Australians and used for food, fibre, and medicine. Having evolved in Australia, they are inherently well-adapted to its droughts, floods, and specific climate and soil.
As climate change threatens the ability to grow the crops currently grown at large scale in Australia, native crops may provide an essential tool for ensuring food security and a more sustainable source of nutrients for ever-larger populations.
This project is determining the mechanisms of preservation of Australian native fruits and providing industry with the data needed to upscale the processing of these fruits in a way that optimises shelf-life and quality/nutrient retention.
Fruits and vegetables are something everybody needs plenty of in their diets, and Aussie farms are a major source of them, not only here, but also for exporting overseas.
But climate change is making this sunburnt country even harder to grow food in, and it’s becoming harder to make those nutrients available to everyone, especially given how quickly fruit and veg go bad.
Lucky for us, there are fruit and veg that are native to Australia in the first place that thrive in droughts and floods.
Trouble is, no one really knows the best ways to process and preserve them so that they last a long time, but also keep the qualities they have when they’re fresh.
In our research, we’re freezing, drying, and doing all sorts of processing methods on Australian native fruits to see what sets of conditions find the right balance in helping them last long and get into supermarkets, while costing as little as possible and losing as little as possible of the nutrients, antioxidants, flavours and colours that make them so interesting.
So that when you go to the supermarket, you start to see more of these uniquely Australian, climate-tolerant fruits.
FacultyFaculty of Engineering