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Australian fruits may be next "superfruits"

Tuesday, October 23, 2007 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: superfruits, health news, Natural News

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(NewsTarget) A group of Australian scientists has suggested a dozen native Australian fruits that could be of interest to the natural products industry, particularly as antioxidants, in an article published in Innovative Food Science & Emerging Technologies.

"The search for world unique food ingredients and flavors with enhanced health-beneficial properties is at present one of the key market trends," wrote lead author Michael Netzela of the food research and development organization Food Science Australia -- a joint project of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (Australia's national science agency) and the Victoria government.

"Botanicals from the regions linked to wellness and natural functionality with exotic fruits called 'super fruits,' such as acai from Amazonia, are becoming a popular target of health-conscious consumers and industry managers," Netzela wrote.

Along with researchers from Ohio State University and the contract research organization Pharmaceutical Product Development, Netzela performed laboratory tests on the antioxidant properties of 12 native Australian fruits and compared them with that of blueberries. The fruits tested were brush cherry, Burdekin plum, Cedar Bay cherry, Davidson's plum, finger lime (red and yellow), Kakadu plum, Illawarra plum, Molucca raspberry, muntries, riberries and Tasmanian pepper.

All 12 fruits exhibited stronger radical scavenging effects than blueberries. Burdekin and Kakadu plum, in fact, scored five times as high on measures of radical scavenging per gram of fruit.

"Therefore, utilizing native Australian fruits of sources of bioactive phytochemicals could offer enormous opportunities for the functional food industry," the researchers wrote. "Studies for the identification of further antioxidant compounds as well as clinical trials for testing the fruits' bioactivity in vivo are in progress."

The scientists also hope to perform research on whether the fruits can be used as sources of colors and flavorings.

According to the market research company Mintel, interest in Amazonian fruits is expected to continue growing, due to the increasing popularity of products perceived as natural and exotic. "I think that many of these Australian fruits could become the next hot superfruits in Western supplements and functional foods," said consumer health advocate Mike Adams, author of The 7 Laws of Nutrition. "With most the population eating only twenty different staple food sources, we have a whole world of new superfoods to discover and benefit from."

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