To date, research on propolis produced from Australian flora has demonstrated a clear potential for high antioxidant and diverse phenolic attributes. However, there is still a lack of understanding about the benefits Australian propolis may possess, the ability to commercially produce and process it, and its unique selling proposition to both domestic and international markets.
This project, run in conjunction with the University of the Sunshine Coast’s (USC) Honey Lab, is expanding on existing Australian propolis research and facilitating the start of commercial production and processing trials. The desired outcome is quantification of the beneficial compounds of Australian propolis and progression of a commercial trial to the point where the foundations of an economically viable, world-leading propolis industry are in place.
In the first quarter of 2021, 20 Australian propolis were analysed for recovered yield, total phenolic content and antioxidant activity. Six out of 20 samples (30%) had a yield above 23.6%, which is the average yield of nearly 200 propolis samples in our database. Eight out of 20 samples (40%) contained total phenolic content above 75 mg gallic acid equivalents/g propolis extract, which is considered as a relatively high to high phenolic level. Eleven out of 20 samples (55%) showed antioxidant activity, with IC50 values ranging from 14 to 84.1 μg/mL.
During the reporting period, we also met a key project milestone, with 10 kg of raw Australian propolis processed. The finished goods are to be investigated by USC to ensure quality and potency. The next step will be for 50 kg to be processed and the same quality tests executed. The results of these tests will enable the industry to qualify the economics and establish recommended commercial pricing for Australian beekeepers, thus providing proof of concept for commercial production of Australian propolis for use in retail products.