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Macadamia shells could save lives

Scientists have discovered that macadamia nut shells could be a powerful tool for Australian hospitals to use in the treatment of poisonings.
Funded by Hort Innovation, and conducted by Murdoch University, the new research shows that crushed macadamia shells could be more efficient than traditional charcoal in treating certain kinds of poisoning, such as paracetamol overdoses.

Currently, Australian medical facilities treat patients by getting them to ingest a charcoal made from coconut shells which expands in the stomach to soak up toxins. This latest research has found the absorption rate of crushed macadamia shells is similar to the traditional coconut shell treatment but can be specially engineered to be more effective at mopping up toxins, and drug specific.

Hort Innovation chief executive John Lloyd said the new finding paves the way for growers and processors to tap into an additional income stream. “Limiting food waste is an increasing area of research investment for horticulture industries. Growers are always looking for novel ways to repurpose their produce off-cuts,” he said. “When it comes to macadamias, 65 per cent of the weight of the nut is in the shell so there is a huge volume of shell generated. “These findings are exciting because they present a great opportunity to add value, providing another revenue stream in macadamia production.”

Head researcher, Dr Gerrard Eddy Jai Poinern, said the study uncovered surprising results. “At the Nanotechnology Research Labs, we’ve engineered a super absorbent solution with the unique inner matrix of the macadamia shells to mop up molecules of paracetamol at remarkable rates,” he said. “By grinding and engineering the macadamia shells into micro particles we can create a new form of activated charcoal solution that helps trap the drug molecules that are poisoning the body.”

The same study, which was conducted with funding from macadamia industry levies and funds from the Australian Government through Hort Innovation, also found some interesting potential uses for macadamia shells in the gold mining industry. Research showed that the high-quality activated carbons in macadamia shells could be used during the carbon-in-pulp process companies use to extract gold. “The gold industry in Australia relies heavily on imported coconut-based activated carbons, with demand here and worldwide very high, presenting an ideal opportunity to better utilise macadamia shells,” Dr Poinern said.

He said next, researchers need to refine the process of macadamia nut shell conversion to improve properties such as strength, toughness and absorption performance to bring the products up to medical grade and gold industry standard.

MEDIA CONTACT: Kelly Vorst-Parkes on 0447 304 255 or Kelly.vorst.parkes@horticulture.com.au

See your levy at work in the new HORTLINK!

Don’t miss the latest edition of Hort Innovation’s Hortlink, which provides an update on all new, current and recently completed levy-funded activity in each levy industry. Check out the macadamia section at www.horticulture.com.au/hortlink-2017-edition-3/macadamia.

Hortlink includes easy-to-read project updates, results and resources you can use in your business, plus case studies, industry contacts and more. You can choose to browse the whole macadamia snapshot or use the interactive project list to jump straight to the information you want. Also look out for new the 'ACT NOW' tags to easily identify project resources and information you can make use of straight away.

Stay in the loop with your levy by becoming a member of Hort Innovation, the grower-owned, not-for-profit research and development corporation for Australian horticulture. Paying a levy doesn’t automatically make you a member, but signing up is free at www.horticulture.com.au/membership.

 

 

Benchmarking now open for 2017 season

The macadamia industry’s benchmarking team is now collecting data for the 2017 season. Participation in the benchmarking project is quick, easy and free. All growers, including current benchmark participants, are encouraged to participate for the 2017 season. To do so simply click here to download the data entry form. This form takes minimal time to complete and can be either printed or filled in electronically, then sent back to the team via e-mail, fax or post. You can either provide your yield and quality data yourself or simply provide consent for the team to source your consignment data from your processor(s).
 
More than 269 farms or 56% of the industry participated in benchmarking last season. Farm benchmark reports allow you to confidentially compare your farm’s yield and quality with the average of similar farms based on region, farm size and tree age. The service is completely confidential so no individual farm results are ever published. For those who have not participated before, click here to see a sample of what a farm benchmark report looks like. An annual industry benchmark report is also produced providing valuable information about yield, quality and cost trends across industry. Click here to download the latest industry report from the Queensland Government’s publications portal. 
 
Data collection will continue until early 2018. Growers who submit their data by early December will also receive an interim farm benchmark report, which provides the earliest opportunity to confidentially see how their farm compared with others for the 2017 season.
 
For more information about the benchmarking project please contact Grant Bignell (DAF Queensland) on 07 5381 1334, or Jeremy Bright (NSW DPI) on 02 6626 1346, or email macman@daf.qld.gov.au.
 

The Benchmarking the macadamia industry 2015-2018 project (MC15005) is a joint initiative of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, the University of Southern Queensland and NSW Department of Primary Industries, with support from the Australian Macadamia Society.

The project has been funded by Hort Innovation, using the macadamia research and development levy and contributions from the Australian Government. Hort Innovation is the grower-owned, not-for-profit research and development corporation for Australian horticulture. The Queensland Government has also co-funded the project through the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.

 
 
 
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Hort Innovation’s new Macadamia Strategic Investment Plan is here!

The Macadamia Strategic Investment Plan (SIP) will help guide Hort Innovation’s management of investment programs for the macadamia industry for the next five years. It lays the foundation for decision making in strategic levy investments and represents the balanced interest of the industry. The very important function of the SIP is to ensure levy investment decisions align with industry priorities.

The SIP has been developed in close partnership with growers and other industry stakeholders, and Hort Innovation thanks all those who have contributed their valuable time and ideas.

Have a quick look at the handy 'at a glance' version here, or download the full document here.

 

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