Together with our Māori partner, Wakatū Incorporation, we are selecting and characterising native indigenous microbes to develop their potential as catalysts for new foods that embody Māori cultural heritage and values.

Learning from Te Tauihu microbes

Te Tauihu, the top of the South Island Te Waipounamu of Aotearoa New Zealand, is home to many treasured indigenous species. While some are found throughout Aotearoa many are unique to Te Tauihu and are of interest as traditional or new food sources. Many Māori fermented foods are created by spontaneous fermentations, a process involving a synergy between indigenous plant and animal food sources and microbes with exciting properties.

A unique culture collection

Under guidance from Wakatū Incorporation, and utilising a tikanga-led process, plant and food samples are collected and their associated microbes isolated, characterised and stored in our facilities where they can be further explored for the development of fermented foods that embody Māori cultural heritage and values.

This enables us opportunities to create new foods that feature a distinct New Zealand taste and texture profile, recognised around the world.

The process of indigenous micro-organism collection

Kawakawa leaf from the collection in March 2021 Microbial isolation
Robotics - growth on plates supplemented with specific nutrient source Novel New Zealand strain library - phenotype characterisation genome sequencing

Harnessing unique flavour and textural properties

Fermentation of kawakawa has been successfully trialed to modify texture and flavour for new foods and beverages and a proof-of-concept plant-based prototype has been produced.  

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