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An outstanding food source of vitamin C

Brand JC, Cherikoff V, Lee A, Truswell AS,
Lancet 1982; 2:873
SIR,—We have found, in a wild fruit, fifty times as much vitamin C as is present in oranges, and
this may be the richest natural source of this vitamin in the world. In our study of the nutritional
composition of: bushfoods used by Australian Aborigines, samples are collected by Aboriginal
health workers and others and air freighted to Sydney. In three samples of Terminalia ferdinandiana
we found ascorbic acid contents of 3150, 2850, and 2300 mg per 100 g edible fruit. The samples
came from three different areas near Darwin (Northern Territory) in two successive seasons, 1981
and 1982.
We used reverse phase high performance liquid chromatography on two prepacked 25 cm
'Lichrosorb RPB' 10um columns connected in series with a 3cm guard column. The mobile phase is
water with pH adjusted to 2.5 with metaphosphoric acid and detection is by a spectrophotometer at
245nm. Any dehydroascorbic acid is converted to ascorbic acid. We confirmed values for ascorbic
acid in T. ferdinandiana fruit by dinitrophenylhydrazine and dichloroindophenol methods.
Terminalia spp. are tropical trees of the Combretaceae family (to which the almond also belongs).
T. ferdinandiana, Excell ex S.T. Blake is a tall slender tree growing up to 10 m with large green-to-
yellow leaves. It is found along the north-west coast of Australia. The fruit grows along the
branches and matures from March to August; it is about 2 cm long and 1 cm in diameter, light
green to yellow in colour and contains a single large pip. It looks and tastes like an English
gooseberry. Near settlements or camps all the fruit on the trees is eaten, especially by children. It is
not a staple food, nor one for which a special expedition might be made. One Aboriginal name for
the fruit is manmohpan, in the language of people in Western Arnhem Land.
Citrus fruits have around 50 mg vitamin C per 100 g; at 100 mg or above come (uncooked)
broccoli, sprouts, kale, cauliflower, parsley, nettles, green mango, and kiwi fruit; around 200-300
mg are blackcurrants, guavas, peppers, cashew fruit pulp, some tropical vegetables, and a few bush
fruits. At the top of the league table of vitamin C, expressed in mg per 100 g raw food, are sea
buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides, 450), ambia or emblic (Emblica officinalis, 600), rosehips.
(Rosa canina, 1250), dattock fruit (Detarium senegalense, 1290), and acerola or Barbados cherry
(Malpighia pumcifolia, 1000 to 2330).
We thank the Australian Institute for Aboriginal Studies for financial support; Ms Robin Lion and
colleagues and Mr Clyde Dunlop for collecting samples; and Mr G. Hutchison, Mr L. Lawler, Dr
Dermot Smyth, and Captain L. J. Hiddins for advice
Human Nutrition Unit and Commonwealth Institute of Sydney Health
University of Sydney, N.S.W. 2006,
1. Brand JC, Shelley C, McDonnell J, Lee A. The nutritional composition of Aboriginal bushfoods.
Proc Nutrition Soc Aust 1981; 6:170.
2: Brand JC, R«c C, McDonnel J, Lee A, Cherikoff V, Truswell AS. Food Technology in Australia,
1982 (in press).
3. Souci SW, Fachman W, Kraut H. Food composition and nutrition tables 1981/82 Stuttgart:
Wissenschtaftliche Verlagsgesellschaft, 1981.
4. Gopalan C, Rama Sastri BV, Balasubramanian SC. Nutritive value of Indian foods. National
Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, 1981.
5. Leung W.TW, Busson F, Jardin C. Food composition table for use In Africa. Rome: FAO,1968.
6. Chatfield C. Food composition tables: Minerals and vitamins for international use. Rome: FAO,
7. Wenkam NS. Miller CD. Composition of Hawaii fruits. Univ Hawaii Agric.Exp.Stat.Bull 1965,
no 135.
... Presence of porous lesions on the greater wing of the sphenoid bone and the internal aspect of the ascending ramus have both been associated with scurvy, which is a result of malnutrition (Pitre et al., 2016). Scurvy is caused by an inadequate amount of vitamin C in the diet; vitamin C is found in foods such as citrus fruit, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, etc. (Brand et al., 1982). In a modern American sample, all children with vitamin C deficiency had underlying medical conditions such as thalassemia, sickle cell anemia, neurologic disorders, and bone marrow transplants/chemotherapy; no children had scurvy from dietary deficiency alone (Golriz, 2017). ...
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The purpose of this study is to identify how socioeconomic status (SES) and, separately, length of military service, may affect the human skeleton. Specifically, this study considers non-specific indicators of skeletal stress such as periosteal reactions, enamel defects, and skeletal porosity in a sample of World War II decedents. The Exact Logistic Regression test was used to examine the possible association between military service length and the presence of skeletal porosity and periosteal reaction, and Fisher’s Exact Test of Independence was used to evaluate the relationship between SES and presence of enamel defects, skeletal porosity, and periosteal reaction. In total, this research examined five hypotheses. The study showed evidence that greater length of military service was associated with lower presence of periosteal reaction and that lower SES was associated with greater presence of periosteal reaction in this sample. This could be due to the economic security provided by the military and it could also be due to potential nutritional deficiency associated with low SES, respectively. Conversely, the Osteological Paradox is a phenomenon that may have affected this study sample. Finally, there are several avenues for future research with regards to non-specific indicators of skeletal stress, SES, and military service length. Advisor: William R. Belcher
... minerals, vitamins, sugars) as well as several bioactive secondary metabolites (Konczak et al., 2014;Williams et al., 2014) have also been reported in this fruit. Kakadu Plum particularly represents an exceptional source of vitamin C (Brand et al., 1982), a unique edible source of ellagic acid and ETs (Konczak et al., 2014;Williams et al., 2016Williams et al., , 2014. These exceptional properties have increased the commercial value of wild harvested KP. ...
This study identified and quantified hydrolysable tannins (HTs) in Terminalia ferdinandiana Exell (Kakadu plum) fruit, freeze dried powder extracted with 80% aqueous acetone (AA) and 80% aqueous acidified ethanol (AAE), using UHPLC–Q/Orbitrap/MS/MS. The vitamin C and ellagic acid were quantified by UHPLC-PDA. A total of seven HTs were identified: corilagin, 3,4,6-tri-O-galloyl-β-D-glucose, elaeocarpusin, chebulinic acid, chebulagic acid, helioscopin B, and punicalagin, with five classified as ellagitannins. The two extracts AA and AAE, comprised of gallic acid (2.5 and 2.2 mg/g DW), punicalagins α and β (2.8 and 1.3 mg/g DW), respectively, and both contained ellagic acid (∼ 4 g/100 g DW). These extracts showed high antioxidant properties and strong antimicrobial effects against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus clinical isolate, Staphylococcus aureus, and Shewanella putrefaciens. These results suggest that Kakadu plum fruit is a rich, edible source of ellagitannins, ellagic acid and vitamin C with potential applications in food, cosmetic and nutraceutical industries.
... Vitamin C is a powerful reducing agent found in many foods in variable contents. For instance, a fifty fold vitamin C is found in wild fruit when compared to ordinary oranges [18]. The antioxidant properties of vitamin C are believed to improve immunity as well as prevent other ailments such as cardiovascular diseases and aging. ...
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Introduction: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is declared as pandemic by the World Health Orgnazation (WHO) on March 2020. One of the heavily utilized measures during this pandemic is vitamin C (aka ascorbic acid). Unfortunately, vitamin C has been associated with glucose measurement interference and thus this study highlights the elevated levels of blood glucose correlated with the presence of vitamin C interference. Methodology: Thirty samples were selected randomly and the blood glucose were measured prior and post the addition of spiked standard concentrations of vitamin C. The interference of vitamin C with glucose readings in COVID-19 pandemic were evaluated and observed employing the Auto Chemistry Analyzer machine. Results: The addition of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) standards (spikes) into the isolated samples shows a correlated increment in the reading measures. Thereafter, the increments of Random Blood Sugar (RBS) readings after being spiked with the vitamin C standards shows a logarithmic correlation with good interesting R-squared (R2 = 0.9921). Conclusions: The authors find that the presence of vitamin C in blood actively and significantly alters the glucose level readings especially with the highly consumption of vitamin C during the COVID-19 pandemic.
... The fruit has exceptional phytochemical properties, including the highest vitamin C content of any fruit in the world, plus high levels of important antioxidants such as flavonoids and polyphenolics (including gallic and ellagic acid) (Netzel et al. 2007;Cunningham et al. 2009;Williams et al. 2014). The high vitamin C content of the fruit was identified in 1982 during an analysis of food eaten by Aboriginal people (Brand et al. 1982;Miller et al. 1993). This high level of vitamin C and flavour of the fruit created demand initially from the food and beverages industry, and as other properties have been identified so other market sectors have expressed demand. ...
Across the world’s rangelands, livelihoods of millions of people are dependent on customary and commercial use of wildlife. Many Australian Aboriginal communities also aspire towards developing natural resource-based enterprises but there is a unique combination of historical, legislative and cultural factors that make this process complex. Typically, government support for Indigenous enterprise development has focussed largely on development of ‘social enterprise’, with subsidies coming from various government community development programs. This has resulted in some increase in participation and employment, but often inadequate attention to economic aspects of enterprise development leading to low levels of business success. This paper will examine historical, legislative and institutional dimensions in business development in Aboriginal communities. It does this through a case study of business enterprise development of the Kakadu Plum products by the Indigenous people of the Thamarrurr Region of the Northern Territory, Australia, using a participant observation research method. We found that attention on important economic criteria was subsumed by a focus on social enterprise priorities during the development of this natural resource-based enterprise. This resulted in a very slow transition of the ‘social enterprise’ to the ‘financial enterprise’, due largely to fragmented business decisions and inefficient value chains. We call for a refocus of natural resource-based enterprise development programs in remote Australian Aboriginal townships to incorporate greater emphasis on business acumen within the complex social, cultural and political fabric.
... It has the highest vitamin C (ascorbic acid) of any fruit in world [72]. These exceptionally high levels of vitamin C were first detected in 1982 through a study of the nutritional composition of bushfood used by Australian Aboriginal people [73,74]. The fruit and leaves also have very high levels of ellagic and gallic acid and other polyphenolic compounds. ...
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Globally, the agricultural sector is facing many challenges in response to climate change, unsustainable farming practices and human population growth. Despite advances in technology and innovation in agriculture, governments around the world are recognizing a need for transformative agricultural systems that offer solutions to the interrelated issues of food security, climate change, and conservation of environmental and cultural values. Approaches to production are needed that are holistic and multisectoral. In planning for future agricultural models, it is worth exploring indigenous agricultural heritage systems that have demonstrated success in community food security without major environmental impacts. We demonstrate how indigenous practices of customary harvest, operating in multifunctional landscapes, can be scaled up to service new markets while still maintaining natural and cultural values. We do this through a case analysis of the wild harvest of Kakadu plum fruit by Aboriginal people across the tropical savannas of northern Australia. We conclude that this system would ideally operate at a landscape scale to ensure sustainability of harvest, maintenance of important patterns and processes for landscape health, and incorporate cultural and livelihood objectives. Applied to a variety of similar native products, such a production system has potential to make a substantial contribution to niche areas of global food and livelihood security.
... Traditional knowledge of plants and animals used as 'bush tucker' or 'bush medicine' by Australian Aboriginal people has become of general interest only in the last few decades (Netzel et al. 2007;Clarke 2011). T. ferdinandiana has a history of traditional use, with the fruit being used as a source of quick energy, a refreshment, eaten on hunting trips to quench thirst (Brand et al. 1982;Isaacs 1987). The bark is used in infusions as traditional bush medicine to treat rheumatism and sores (Smith and Kalotas 1985). ...
Terminalia ferdinandiana Exell., also known as the Kakadu plum, is an important food plant endemic to northern Australia. The fruit has substantial commercial demand as it contains sought-after antioxidants and the greatest concentration of ascorbic acid of any fruit known worldwide. Better knowledge of its reproductive biology is required to increase fruit production from wild stands and sustain commercial demand. Experiments demonstrate that T. ferdinandiana is andromonoecious and self-incompatible, relying on cross-pollination for successful fruit production. Wild stocks of this species are pollen limited, likely caused by pollinator satiation in dense, synchronously flowering stands. These findings indicate that enhanced fruit production requires supplementation of suitable pollinators in wild stands.
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The effect of two drying methods (oven and freeze drying) and the addition of maltodextrin to Kakadu plum puree samples (KP) (Terminalia ferdianandiana) were evaluated using mid (MIR) and near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy. Dry powder samples were obtained using the oven and freeze-drying methods and seven levels of maltodextrin. Training (n = 32) and validation (n = 28) sets were developed for the prediction of moisture (M %), water activity (aw %), hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) and vitamin C (VITC mg/100 g DM) based on NIR and MIR spectroscopy. Results from this study demonstrated the ability of spectroscopy combined with partial least squares (PLS) regression to monitor these parameters during drying. The standard error in cross validation (SECV) and the residual predictive deviation (RPD) values obtained were of 0.71% (RPD = 4.1) and 0.47% (RPD = 6.1) for M, 0.06% (RPD = 4.4) and 0.02% (RPD = 8.2) for aw, 0.73 (RPD = 3.3) and 0.72 (RPD = 3.3) for HMF, 465.7 mg 100 g DM (RPD = 3.0) and 289.3 mg 100 g DM (RPD = 4.8) for VITC, using MIR and NIR, respectively. The results from this study showed that MIR and NIR spectroscopies are capable of both measuring and monitoring the effect of drying and the addition of maltodextrin as a carrier to KP puree samples.
Ascorbate is a major antioxidant buffer in plants, so several approaches have been developed to increase the ascorbate contents of fruits and vegetables. In this study, we combined forward genetics with mapping-by-sequencing approaches using an EMSMicro-Tom population to identify putative regulators underlying a high ascorbate phenotype in fruits. Among the ascorbate-enriched mutants, the family with the highest fruit ascorbate level (P17C5 line, up to 5 times the WT) strongly impaired flower development and produced seedless fruit. Without progeny, genetic characterization was performed by outcrossing the P17C5 line with S. Lycopersicum cv. M82. We successfully identified the mutation responsible for the high ascorbate trait in a cis-acting upstream open reading frame (uORF) that is involved in the downstream regulation of GDP-L-galactose phosphorylase (GGP). Using a specific CRISPR strategy, we generated uORF-GGP1 mutants and confirmed the ascorbate-enriched phenotype. We further investigated the impact of the ascorbate-enrichment trait in tomato plants by phenotyping the original P17C5 EMS mutant, the population of outcrossed P17C5xM82 plants, and the CRISPR-mutated line. These studies revealed that a high ascorbate content is linked to impaired floral organ architecture, particularly anthers and pollen development, thus leading to male sterility. RNAseq analysis suggests that uORF-GGP1 acts as a regulator of ascorbate synthesis that maintains redox homeostasis to allow appropriate plant development.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are greatly disadvantaged, with low life expectancy and greater risk of chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes and renal disease. In the Wik, Wik-Way and Kugu community of Aurukun, Cape York Peninsula, local people utilise primary health care facilities provided by Queensland Health, and traditional 'bush medicine' or opar', based on oral pharmacopoeias of local plants and animals developed over thousands of years. However much of this traditional knowledge is rapidly lost through cultural erosion, typified by the fact that a number of local languages have become extinct or are endangered. By collaborating with Wik, Wik-Way and Kugu people, this ethnobotanical work focuses on local priorities, and how ethnobotany can be applied in these areas. These are specifically to help 'keep culture strong' by developing new methods to complement oral inter-generational transmission of ethnobiological knowledge; and with a focus on plant-based phytotherapies, including bush foods, to improve health. The main outcome is a database for local community use, which includes 206 Wik/Kugu taxon records and over a 1,000 scientific taxon records with associated data. Understanding Wik categorisation of biodiversity was necessary to link the two taxonomic systems in the database and facilitate querying across the ontological domains. Cross-cultural issues in provision of local primary health care were also investigated, which highlighted some of the challenges faced by health practitioners in Aurukun. Of course, an important prerequisite of this study was the recognition and respect of Wik, Wik-Way and Kugu intellectual property rights.
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Kakadu Plum(Terminalia ferdinandiana) as a Sustainable Indigenous Agribusiness. In northern Australia, commercial use of plant products can provide Aboriginal people with important livelihood opportunities. Kakadu Plum (Terminalia ferdinandiana Exell.) is a species endemic to northern Australia with exceptional phytochemical properties and industry applications. Aboriginal people have a long history of customary use of many parts of this plant, and as scientific research provides evidence for commercial applications, it is under increasing demand. It has the highest level of ascorbic acid of any fruit in the world and also commercially important antioxidants. This paper reviews the unique characteristics of T. ferdinandiana fruit as a commercial plant product, the people and landscapes in which it grows, and the current state of knowledge for building a successful agribusiness based on these factors. It demonstrates the great potential T. ferdinandiana has as a sustainable Indigenous business and identifies the important research and development gaps that need to be addressed. These include improved understanding of taxonomy, floral biology, and drivers of variability in the properties in T. ferdinandiana leaves and fruit; better understanding of aspirations of Aboriginal suppliers for participation in the agribusiness supply chain; and specific supply chain models that suit Aboriginal suppliers of T. ferdinandiana to service a range of potential national and international markets.
Analysis of nutrient content of fruits was presented, with emphasis on ascorbic acid content. Data on content per 100 g edible portion, the percentage of edible portion, and changes in ascorbic acid levels over fruit ripening were given.
The nutritional composition of Aboriginal bushfoods
  • Jc Brand
  • C Shelley
  • J Mcdonnell
  • A Lee
Brand JC, Shelley C, McDonnell J, Lee A. The nutritional composition of Aboriginal bushfoods. Proc Nutrition Soc Aust 1981; 6:170.