The potential of Tasmanian pepper as a natural food preservative
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Tasmannia lanceolata (Tasmanian pepper) has a long history of usage by the first Australians and by later European settlers as a food flavouring agent. Indigenous Australians also used it for the treatment and cure of skin disorders, venereal diseases, colic, stomach ache and as a quinine substitute. Recent studies have reported Tasmanian pepper to be an extremely good source of antioxidants. Antioxidants have been associated with the prevention of cancer, cardiovascular disease and neurological degenerative disorders. They are also linked with anti-diabetic bioactivities and have been associated with the reduction of obesity. Previous studies have also shown many antioxidants to have potent antimicrobial activities. Therefore, T. lanceolata has potential not only in the treatment of a variety of diseases and disorders, but also as a functional food to retard spoilage and prevent food poisoning. The antimicrobial activity of berry, leaf and peppercorn extracts were investigated against a panel of bacteria and fungi involved in food spoilage and food poisoning to assess their potential as natural preservatives. Extracts from all plant parts displayed good broad spectrum antibacterial activity. However, none of the extracts was an effective inhibitor of fungal growth. The inhibitory bioactivity against spoilage and food poisoning microbes indicates the potential of Tasmanian pepper as a natural food preservative.
Qld Bushfoods Association Annual Conference