Shima Wasabi, owned by the Tasmanian Food Company, is Australia's largest commercial wasabi farm located in northwest Tasmania. The company 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 Powder is one of the few 100 per cent wasabi powders available on the market and offers a superior taste to the horseradish-based pastes that are often sold in sachets or tubes.
Shima Wasabi wanted to provide additional dietary information to their growing and increasingly health-conscious customer market, as well as exploring the reputed health benefits of consuming wasabi.
Following a referral through CSIRO's SME Connect team, Shima Wasabi engaged CSIRO Senior Research Scientist Dr Michael Conlon to better understand the potential health benefits of consuming wasabi. Analysis of the nutritional composition specifically focused on the four different forms of the wasabi plant - fresh wasabi stem, freeze-dried wasabi leaf powder, and freeze-dried wasabi leaf and stalk powder.
The project with CSIRO was partly funded by the Australian Government through the Innovation Connections element of the Entrepreneurs' Programme.
CSIRO assisted Shima Wasabi with their expertise in nutritional compositional analysis. The analysis found that wasabi provides an important source of dietary fibre, phenolic compounds and anti-oxidants, as well as the bioactive compound allyl isothiocyanate (AITC). AITC could potentially play a role in the treatment and prevention of several illnesses and health conditions.
The analytical report provided to Shima Wasabi has allowed the company to explore the nutritional benefits of consuming wasabi and is supporting their push into emerging health and wellbeing markets.