The Biochemical Characterisation of the Northern Australian-Grown Black Sesame Seed as a Source of Bioactive Compounds

October 13, 2022

The Crawford Fund’s Queensland Committee has again partnered with the TropAg International Agriculture Conference to assist 10 young researchers from developing countries attend and present their science at this international conference which will be held in Brisbane from 31 October to 02 November 2022.

Successful candidates were chosen by a selection panel made up of representatives of The Crawford Fund and the TropAg conference organisers, based on submitted abstracts of their research.

In the lead-up to the conference we will be publishing short blog posts written by the young researchers about their work. Here is the second blog.

By Elena Hoyos, Central Queensland University

I am highly grateful for opportunities like being one of the recipients of the Crawford Fund Scholarship at the 2022 TropAg Conference, by sharing my experience and interacting with students and other higher degree delegates from diverse professional and cultural backgrounds in this challenging but very rewarding academic environment. 

I hold a bachelor’s degree in Science of Bioengineering from Antioquia University, the third highest-ranking university in Colombia. My major research project was developing chitosan-based edible films for application as a preservative agent in bananas for international trading. This research study linked to the basic sciences such as applied chemistry, biomechanical and biomaterial concepts were the main contribution to real problems in agriculture.

I am currently enrolled as a master’s candidate Student by Research at the Central Queensland University on the North Rockhampton campus. My major research project is about the biochemical characterisation of the northern Australian-grown black sesame seed as a source of bioactive compounds. Although my current research project represents the baseline for selecting the most optimum black sesame lines, this crop will be cultivated as a significant economic boost to Australian farmers and the Australian economy.

My interests focus more on natural sources with high nutritional value. Additionally, I am passionate about expanding research on potential uses from by-products and residue, and how they may contribute to improving human health. My research team is constituted of crop expertise, and we are highly involved in investigating nutritional compounds which possess biological activity across various types of crops that display medicinal and pharmaceutical properties.

Our research goals commonly target polyphenolic contents in diverse cultivates that can be used as a source of health-benefiting compounds and help in multiple diseases. As an illustration of this, a by-product such as mill mud, which possesses great nutritional value, hence, may be used as natural restoration or as a fertiliser in several types of soils.

Cultivate wastage has demonstrated to be a source of great nutrient content which is currently used in animal consumption; nevertheless, there are huge unexplored bioactive compounds that maybe used potentially in value-added products and as a source of health-benefits.

Finally, our team works including sustainable analytical techniques, rapid and cost-effective equipment such spectrophotometry, gas-chromatography and near infrared and mid-infrared spectroscopy to identify those targeted bioactive compounds across a large scale of plants. This non-invasive expertise has allowed us to profile and screen elevated levels of bioactive, which display numerous health benefits.