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University of Queensland collaboration

Say goodbye to garlic breath with odour-free black garlic

Garlic breath could be a thing of the past, thanks to a University of Queensland collaboration helping promote odorless black garlic in mainstream Australia.

Originally developed in regions of eastern Asia, black garlic – garlic aged in controlled humidity – doesn't cause garlic breath and has health and environmental benefits. Professor Susanne Schmidt, collaborating with Empathy Herbal through UQ's Agri-Food Innovation Alliance Kickstarter Grant program, is thrilled about the product's potential.

"Everyone already knows how healthy garlic is, but white garlic's pungent taste and strong smell can be off-putting for many," she said. "And white garlic isn't particularly suitable for eating raw, which is critical from a health perspective, as its health benefits quickly diminish when crushed and heated. Black garlic is raw, white garlic bulbs that've been slowly roasted at a low temperature and high humidity for weeks. This process causes what's called a Maillard reaction, where the taste profile is transformed from that typical garlic flavor to something sweeter and more snackable – while preserving positive health benefits."

"Previous studies suggest that black garlic can have numerous health benefits – it improves gut microbiome and immune system function, has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits, and assists managing cholesterol, vascular health, blood sugar and even weight. And, through this collaboration, we're aiming to quantify the beneficial bioactive phytochemicals that underpin these observations. We're analyzing black garlic that has undergone various modes of processing to identify the ones with maximal beneficial bioactives. We hope that, by itemizing these bioactives and then promoting them, we'll help put black garlic on more Australian dinner plates."

Director of Empathy Herbal, Jim Hancock, said that he first came across black garlic while living in Indonesia, studying traditional medicines, and hopes it will soon be just as popular in Australia. "Peeled black garlic cloves are soft, sweet, sticky, and utterly delicious – it's basically a healthy lolly, when crafted correctly." he said. "It can be enjoyed as a snack in school lunches or nursing homes, providing health advantages to people of all ages. Working with UQ on this pioneering project has been an honor – the facilities are outstanding, and the researchers are approachable, knowledgeable and sincerely invested in the project."

Professor Schmidt said that consumers transitioning to include black garlic in their diet could also help minimize food waste. "We all know that too much food is wasted - including at the farm gate when produce doesn't meet the tight standards set by our big grocers," she said. "Every year, too many tonnes of garlic are rejected and thrown out. By transforming it into black garlic, we can develop a high value revenue stream for farmers and stop this rejected garlic going to waste. Black garlic is a win-win for foodies, health enthusiasts, farmers and the environment."

The University of Queensland acknowledges the $2.5 million contribution made by the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment under the Strategic University Reform Fund (SURF) to support the activities conducted by the UQ Agri-Food Innovation Alliance.

For more information:
Susanne Schmidt
University of Queensland
Tel.: +61 (0)408 707 984
Email: [email protected]

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