Analysing the potential health benefits of wasabi
Shima Wasabi, owned by the Tasmanian Food Co, is Australia's largest commercial wasabi farm located in northwest Tasmania. It produces one of the few 100 per cent wasabi powders available, and supplies a range of wasabi products to restaurants, food manufacturers and homes including fresh stems and leaves and freeze-dried pure wasabi leaf powders.
Shima Wasabi wanted to provide additional dietary information to their growing and increasingly health-conscious customer market, as well as promote the health benefits of consuming wasabi.
To gain a better understanding of wasabi's nutritional value, Shima Wasabi engaged the CSIRO's nutrition and health research team for their expertise in nutritional composition analysis.
Comprehensive compositional analysis of the wasabi plant
Our research team carried out in-depth nutrient analyses, focussing on three different forms of the plant: fresh wasabi stem, freeze-dried wasabi leaf powder, and freeze-dried wasabi leaf and stalk powder.
The project was part-funded by the Australian Government through the Innovation Connections element of the Entrepreneurs' Programme.
Wasabi contains certain micro-nutrients which may play a role in preventing disease
Our analyses found that wasabi contains phenolic compounds and antioxidants, as well as the bioactive compound allyl iso-thiocyanate (AITC).
Pre-clinical studies have shown that AITC could potentially play a role in the treatment and prevention of several forms of cancer, bowel disorders, obesity and related metabolic conditions such as diabetes, osteoporosis, neurological conditions and dermatitis.
The analytical report provided to Shima Wasabi has provided the company with valuable information about the unique nutritional attributes of wasabi and is supporting their exploration of new health and wellbeing markets.