Tasmania is home to a unique range of crops harvested and extracted for food, flavour, fragrance, pharmaceutical and plant protection use. The crops include pyrethrum, poppies, and a range of essential oil crops (lavender, parsley, peppermint, fennel, boronia, blackcurrant bud and Tasmanian native pepper). New research on flavour extraction from raspberry and blackcurrant complements this suite of natural plant extracts.
TIA scientists in the Perennial Horticulture Centre have a long history of association with essential oils and plant extracts. Application of innovative techniques in breeding, propagation, field production, chemical analysis, harvesting, extraction and value adding has led to the successful establishment of essential oil and extract products from these crops. They collaborate with UTAS Central Science Laboratory’s leading chemist in the extraction and analysis of plant organic compounds. Sampling technologies include SPME, thermal desorption, and stir-bar extraction capability with analysis and identification by GC, HPLC and mass spectroscopy backed up by an internationally regarded ‘in-house’ mass spectral database of volatile plant components. The group has extended its capability beyond traditional plant extracts to fruit flavour extraction and aroma analysis.
Recent research and development include: