New anti-microbial discover from Aussie native plants

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 12th January 2012

Queensland Government scientists and researchers from the University of Queensland have discovered new anti-microbial properties in a combination of natural-plant ingredients, including two common native Australian plums.

A research team led by QAAFI food scientist Dr Yasmina Sultanbawa has discovered that when small amounts of the kakadu and Queensland Davidson plum are combined with organic acids they display new anti-microbial properties.

The researchers are now looking at ways to extend the shelf-life of kangaroo meat by adding native plum anti-microbial agents and using existing processing such as vacuum packaging for best results.

Dr Sultanbawa said that, in particular, the native plants can be used to extend the shelf-life of processed kangaroo meat in pet food, which would help to reduce the industry’s reliance on preservatives such as sulphides.

She said, “The pet food industry has traditionally used sulphites to extend the shelf-life of meat products. However, extended high exposure to sulphites can lead to thiamine deficiencies in small animals including cats and dogs.”

“Consumers are trending towards fresh, natural produce across-the-board – and that includes food choices for their beloved pets.”

The Queensland Government’s Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI) scientist Andrew Cusack said that this research could be applied to other minced meat products such as sausages where sulphite is used as a preservative.

“Additionally plant extracts have other benefits such as antioxidant properties which could contribute to better health,” Mr Cusack said.