Changes in quality (bioactivity) of native foods during storage

The University of Queensland

  • Project code: PRJ-005135

  • Project stage: Closed

  • Project start date: Sunday, May 30, 2010

  • Project completion date: Saturday, November 30, 2013

  • National Priority: NEPI-Feasibility studies and industry literature reviews


There is a global demand for food ingredients with unique flavours and health promoting properties. The functional food and nutraceutical industry is valued at Aus $86 billion and is expected to more than double by 2010. Recent studies on native foods have revealed promising antioxidant and antimicrobial activities that would be of value in commercial applications (RIRDC PRJ-002330, RIRDC publication No 07/030). However, the industry is still challenged in delivering native food (whole and processed product) with consistent quality through the entire value chain. Retaining and ensuring the stability of the bioactives (antioxidant, antimicrobial and flavour profiles) during handling, processing, packaging and storage will greatly benefit this industry.
This project will address the loss in bioactivity at critical post harvest steps such as maturity, processing conditions, packaging and storage. The current practices of the industry will be evaluated and alternate methods to retain bioactivity will be recommended for industry adoption. Protocols will be developed for processing, packaging and storage where the bioactivity is maintained through out the post harvest handling stages and storage incorporating current and improved methods. This study will enable the industry to determine shelf-life of products where the maximum bioactivity is retained in comparison to the fresh whole product. This will facilitate labelling of products with specific bioactive components and help to target products for the high value functional ingredient and flavour markets.


New and Emerging Plant Industries

Research Organisation

The University of Queensland

Objective Summary

The major objectives of this study will be to:
1. Evaluate the current handling practices, processing, packaging and storage of whole and processed native foods.
2. Develop and evaluate novel approaches for assuring quality (retention and stability of bioactives) in native foods during value addition.
3. Study storage stability of bioactivity (antioxidant, antimicrobial and flavour profiles) to ensure a product with consistent quality.
4. Develop protocols with optimised conditions for handling, processing, packaging and storage.
The expected outcomes:
1. Protocols available for best post harvest handling practices, processing and storage conditions for adoption by the industry.
2. Improved quality of native food products will create opportunities for market access and growth.
3. Opportunities to develop high value products for niche markets.
4. Development of specifications for native food products to help with promotion and marketing.