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Wattleseeds as nutritional foods – HDR Seminar
23 July 2021 @ 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
Wattleseeds as nutritional foods
Friday 23 July 2021, 10am – 12pm, Room Number, 10.G.615 and 10.G.616, Health and Food Sciences Precinct, Block 10, 39 Kessels Rd, Coopers Plains, QLD
Zoom link: https://uqz.zoom.us/j/88592200292
Presented by: Sera Susan Jacob, Centre for Nutrition and Food Sciences & ARC Training Centre for Uniquely Australian Foods
Advisory team: Prof Mike Gidley, A/Prof Heather Smyth, Dr. Bernadine Flanagan, Dr. Barbara A. Williams
About this seminar
There is now archaeological evidence that over 200 plant seeds from different species have been utilised by Australian aboriginal communities. These seeds heavily supplemented the meat-based diet of aboriginal communities, especially in central desert regions. Acacia seeds, with over forty edible varieties commonly referred to as wattleseeds in Australia, constitute the largest group. Found in a range of different terrains across the country, seeds were often eaten raw, steamed, or roasted. When roasted, they were often ground into a coarse meal, then either stirred into a paste using water and consumed as is or baked on coal into a simple damper. Dietary patterns have however changed, and the usage of wattleseeds has plummeted over the past decades despite documented nutritional qualities. In order to better understand and utilize them in mainstream cuisine, it is worth exploring how food and nutrition have been understood by aboriginal communities. Combining the traditional knowledge and cultural heritage surrounding these seeds with analytical data and food product development could reinvigorate wattleseed use while fostering a shared experience of health and wellbeing.
This project explores selected pathways to understand the characteristics and potential uses of wattleseeds from the Northern Territory. Visual differences on both macro and microstructural levels point towards the large variability between the species of wattleseeds chosen. These differences are further illustrated by their distinct nutritional compositions. Preliminary studies provides guidance for unique processing mechanisms to create potential food prototypes with real nutritional benefits. Some anticipated outcomes of this research are to (A) provide products suitable for commercial applications (B) create potential pathways capable of supporting economic and social advantages for aboriginal communities