A New South Wales company partnered with international giant Blackmores is assessing many more uses for native plants, spawning opportunities in Aboriginal communities.

Story By David Hancock

Australia’s native plants pack a powerful punch. They have high concentrations of unusual compounds, possibly because our environmental conditions are often tough and they need to fight hard to survive. A company based in Lismore, north-eastern New South Wales, is pioneering new technology to extract these water-soluble and oil-soluble bioactive compounds from more than 60 plants, in research that could lead to new pharmaceuticals and a better future for farmers and Aboriginal communities.
Ross Macdougald and Lisa Carroll, the principals of Native Extracts, say their unique extraction process takes place at a cellular level without damaging the plant’s cellular structure. The technique is much more effective than traditional extraction methods based on fermentation and the break down of plant ingredients by boiling, percolation or grinding. “Now we can capture exactly what bioactivity is held within the cell walls,” Lisa says. “It’s a true-to-nature extract, not an extract of degrading plant matter.”
So far, they have created profiles for more than 60 native plants, many of which have never been analysed before. The compounds are then independently assessed by the Analytical Research Laboratory (ARL) of Southern Cross Plant Science, one of Australia’s leading biological laboratories, at Southern Cross University in Lismore.

This Story is from Issue #96

Outback Magazine: Aug/Sep 2014