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Historical document

Determination of health-promoting bioactives in Australian avocados (AV07003)

Key research provider: Food Science Australia
Publication date: January, 2009

This is a final research report from Hort Innovation’s historical archives. Please note that as these reports may date back as far as the 1990s, the content and recommendations within them may be superseded by more recent research.

What was it all about?

Avocados are known to contain high amounts of health-benefiting phytonutrients including monounsaturated fatty acids, carotenoids, and vitamins B, C and E. Studies carried out prior to this report using Californian-grown ‘Hass’ avocados reported that extracts from the fruit also possessed in–vitro (i.e. in test-tube) anti-cancer properties against prostate cancer cells.

The aim of this work was to obtain scientifically creditable information relating to the health-promoting benefits of substances found in Australian avocados (Hass variety). This was achieved by quantifying the major lipid-soluble phytonutrients found in avocados and assessing their antioxidant and in-vitro cancer-inhibiting properties.

Lipid-soluble extracts from Australian-grown ‘Hass’ avocados were found to contain Vitamin E (α, γ and δ forms) (1398-2643 µg/100 g fresh weight), chlorophylls (a and b forms) (2304-3680 µg/100 g fresh weight) and lutein (160-273 µg/100 g fresh weight) as their major components.

The same extracts (rich in Vitamin E, chlorophylls, and carotenoids) were found to have high in-vitro antioxidant activity. A sub-fraction of these extracts, containing several unidentified components, were found to significantly inhibit the growth of colon and gastric cancer cells in test-tube assays, but were less effective against leukaemia cells.

This information was used to further promote the use of Australian avocados as part of an everyday diet and strengthen their position in the mind of the national and international public as a natural, health-benefiting fruit.

Related levy funds

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Funding statement:
This project was funded by Hort Innovation (then Horticulture Australia Limited) with the voluntary financial support of the avocado industry.

Copyright © Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited 2009. The Final Research Report (in part or as whole) cannot be reproduced, published, communicated or adapted without the prior written consent of Hort Innovation (except as may be permitted under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth)).