University of Adelaide: New Australian psyllium crop commercialisation opportunity
- Seed suppliers or cropping groups interested in co-funding a breeding program and production expansion or to collaborate on field trials and licensing of a novel Australian crop.
Psyllium is the outer husk of Plantago ovata seeds. The crop is currently almost all grown in India and is beset by problems, including pests and diseases, and because the capsule shatters, releasing much of the seed onto the ground, it must be hand harvested. The quality is variable and the price is steadily rising, making it very difficult to secure a pure, reliable supply for the food industry.
A New Australian Psyllium (NAP) has commercial potential because when compared with P.ovata:
- It is salt tolerant.
- The seed capsules do not shatter, allowing whole seed material to be used.
- It has superior gelling and water holding properties.
- It's yield per plant is excellent.
NAP provides a more versatile natural food thickening agent with enhanced gut health applications, combined with improved nutritional and sensory properties for use in processed food, particularly gluten-free food.
The University of Adelaide is seeking direct investment or collaboration partners to:
- Co-fund a breeding program to further improve upon the existing quality traits of NAP.
- Expand into production quantities of NAP.
- Conduct food production trials of NAP.
- License the technology.
Potential other applications:
Based on early research, we believe NAP to be a superior all-natural gelling agent for use in the processed food, and in particular gluten free, markets and that it will be a next generation dietary fibre. Rapid Visco Analyser (RVA) amylography shows that NAP has superior properties when compared to conventional psyllium during pasting of a rice-based gluten-free system. An early increase in viscosity indicates a greater water-holding capacity, while an increased gelling capacity appears during paste setting.
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