Damson Plums

Public Summary

Principal Investigator: Dr Ali Rashidinejad, The Riddet Institute, Massey University
Industry partner: Foot Steps Ltd
High-Value Nutrition funding: $50,000

Exploring bioactives of damson plums

Purple fruits such as plums are a rich source of bioactive compounds. These bioactive compounds, or phytochemicals, (such as vitamins A, C, and E, anthocyanins, and carotenoids), endow plums with a substantial antioxidant capacity. Certain bioactives are well-known for their anticarcinogenic, antimicrobial, antiallergic, antimutagenic, and anti-inflammatory properties. Consumption of these bioactives has been linked to health-promoting effects in humans. Consumer knowledge of validated health benefits may help increase consumer demand and product value.

Although information about some varieties of plums is available, the nutrient content and functionality of damson plums in New Zealand have yet to be quantified. The opportunity to investigate the range of bioactives in damson plums could inform further research opportunities towards commercialisation and export of damson plums, as well as the development of functional food products  containing this fruit.

As a collaboration between Foot Steps Ltd and the Riddet Institute, this project aims to explore the nutritional and bioactive quality of damson plums towards understanding their functionality and potential use in functional food products.

The opportunity to create a value-add product through this project will in turn enhance land productivity by providing the opportunity to plant more damson orchards.

As a Māori business, Foot Steps Ltd aims to grow Māori knowledge, Māori scientists, and provide jobs for Māori in the future.

High-Value Nutrition is one of the eleven National Science Challenges.

Research team

Dr Rachael Walker

Dr Rachael Walker

Dr Rachael Walker, born and bred in Wairoa, is a Nurse Practitioner and Associate Professor.

Rachael is a well-recognised international researcher in the field of kidney disease with a particular focus on inequity.

Rachael has a PhD in medicine and health economics and has completed multiple marathons and three Ironman events.

Shayne Walker

Shayne Walker

Shayne Walker is of Ngati Kahungunu descent, has an MBA from Massey University, and holds various Māori leadership roles.

Health leadership includes being the Chairman of the Hawkes Bay District Health Board. He has also completed multiple marathons and two ironman events.

Dr Ali Rashidinejad

Dr Ali Rashidinejad

Dr Rashidinejad’s research focuses on the oral delivery of bioactive compounds (in particular, polyphenols) via functional foods.

While this generally lies in the development of methods/technologies that protect/encapsulate bioactives, Ali is specifically interested in the behaviour of bioactive compounds in the food matrix and gastrointestinal tract, with a focus on polyphenol-enriched functional food products.