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Meal mileage

Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI) researcher Dr Yasmina Sultanbawa.

The Kakadu plum might look humble – small and green, about the size of an olive – but it contains a powerful secret.

Dr Yasmina Sultanbawa at the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI), a UQ institute jointly supported by the Queensland Government, is helping to unlock this secret.

“About six years ago, we were approached by the seafood industry to do a project on shelf-life extension of prawns, and they were interested in using natural plant extracts,” Sultanbawa said.

Sultanbawa, in collaboration with scientists from the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF), found that the Kakadu plum had strong antimicrobial properties, making it an excellent candidate for preventing food spoilage.

The Kakadu plum.

The Kakadu plum.

The team then backed up these findings with lab, pilot plant and farm trials, and the Kakadu plum solution is now used by 15 per cent of the Queensland aquaculture industry.

In 2014, the Palngun Wurnangat Association in the Northern Territory bought the technology for handling and processing Kakadu plums. By 2015, 148 pickers – many of them women – had been registered.

“That is where my heart is,” Sultanbawa said.

“You can get these communities to work and really have an impact in terms of getting a quality product into the market.”

Sultanbawa said she was excited about the opportunities emerging for Indigenous communities.

“We hope to engage more Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory through regional hubs and have other native foods added to the value chain.”

Tour the world’s coral reefs

Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg hopes the XL Catlin Seaview Survey, which lets people take a virtual dive to some of the world’s most pristine reefs, will spur action to save coral reefs from global warming.

To read the full story, visit the Research Impact website.

Painful journey pays off

Professor Maree Smith’s novel drug for treatment of inflammatory and neuropathic pain is expected to be approved in the next few years, after 15 years of research.

To read the full story, visit the Research Impact website.

Using smartphones for diagnosis

Soon patients will be able to cough into a smartphone to identify diseases such as asthma and pneumonia, thanks to an invention by Associate Professor Udantha Abeyratne.

To read the full story, visit the Research Impact website.