Kakadu Plum

Kakadu plum as a model in the transformation from indigenous food to agro industrial raw material

Kakadu Plum (Terminalia ferdinandiana) is a tree endemic to northern Australia and the fruit has been consumed for its nutritional and therapeutic value by indigenous Australians for thousands of years. Presence of high levels of ellagic acid and ascorbic acid in the fruit makes it a rich source of antioxidants. These properties make Kakadu Plum very attractive for use as an ingredient in mainstream food and other industries. 

The use of Kakadu plum as a natural food additive has had far reaching economic benefits to northern Australian indigenous communities especially the remote community of Wadeye. This community has developed as a collection hub for Kakadu plum in the past three years and more than 100 indigenous harvesters are engaged in the harvest each year.

To meet the market demand a cooperative type business model is being developed which aims to combine wild harvest from across northern Australian. This emerging business model for Kakadu plum indicates the effective engagement with indigenous communities and successful commercial application of an indigenous food. This presentations looks at the commercialisation of Kakadu plum and the pathway it can create for other native species. 

We sat, the three of us, by a small cooking fire on the edge of a shimmering wet tidal flat at Carnot Bay about a 90km walk north from Broome … or to be more precise, a 90km walk back to Broome.

Thanks to a new collaboration involving researchers from across UQ, Australian bush tucker could soon be found in kitchens around the world.

A food scientist from UQ is working with Indigenous communities to unlock a lucrative industry – using Kakadu plum to extend the storage life of food.


Associate Professor Yasmina Sultanbawa
Director, ARC Training Centre for Uniquely Australian Foods,
Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation,
The University of Queensland.
T: 07 344 32471
M: 0455934640
E: y.sultanbawa@uq.edu.au
View researcher profile

W: uniquelyaustralianfoods.org

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