Abstract: Davidson's plum (Davidsonia pruriens, F. Muell.), a native to Australian rainforests, large, crimson-red fruit, which superficially resembles plum, has been commercially cultivated in Australia since 1990s. The current production volume exceeds market demands therefore this study was designed to evaluate the suitability of Davidson's plum extract as a source of anthocyanin-based food colorant. The stability of the Davidson's plum extract towards heat treatment at 95 °C was higher than that of commercial mulberry colorant, but inferior to colorants derived from red cabbage and purple sweetpotato. An addition of a variety of phenolic acids significantly increased color intensity indicating the formation of copigmentation complexes. Commercial chlorogenic acid as well as extract from a native Australian herb rich in chlorogenic acid, Tasmannia pepper leaf (Tasmannia lanceolata, R. Br.), were both tested in model soft drink solutions subjected to light irradiation and heat treatment. In both cases, the addition of the copigment resulted in a lasting increase in color intensity. In conclusion, Davidson's plum extract can successfully be utilized as a source of natural food color. Extract from Tasmania pepper leaf can be used as a co-pigment for Davidson's plum anthocyanins.
Practical Application: The color properties of an anthocyanin colorant derived from the native Australian fruit Davidson's plum are comparable to those of mulberry, which is currently applied as a food colorant in Australian food products. Utilization of Davidson's plum fruit as a source of natural color will allow the industry to increase the range of natural pigments and will create new opportunities for the emerging native food industry.