Lab Projects 2009 – 2013

  • Product development – “Taki Mai”:  For more than a decade the Food Unit of IAS has been working with potential partners to develop commercial products based on the relaxing properties of chemicals found in kava.  Obstacles have been finding a low-cost method to obtain these kava lactones and countering European claims that some extraction methods gave unsafe products.  IAS staff solved the former problem and an Australian scientist has shown this product to be safe and effective.  Working with the team that marketed Fiji Water in the United States a relaxation drink called “Taki Mai” has been developed to be launched in early 2013.
  • Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) Analysis, funded by Global Environment Facility (GEF) – IAS is also a United Nations regional center of excellence for the analysis of persistent organic pollutants (POPs).  A regional United National Environment Program project funded by the Global Environment Facility to determine baseline levels of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in human milk and the atmosphere in six Pacific countries.  An inception meeting was held in Suva and training workshops in each of the countries involved.  POPs are harmful chemicals that are airborne, persist in the environment and accumulate in fatty tissues.  A global (Stockholm) Convention regulates the production of these chemicals.  In 2011 IAS completed a three-year project to determine baseline levels of POPs in humans (via breast milk) and the environment (passive sampling of air).  In general POPs concentration are low in the Pacific relative to other countries except for DDT, which has been widely used in the region for mosquito control.
  • A study to assess factors that affect the cyanide content in cassava during growth and processing conducted for the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).  New Zealand and Australia had proposed stringent regulations on the trade in cassava and cassava products that were to be scrutinized by the FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius.
  • United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) project on food analysis in Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Samoa and Tonga where IAS assists a number of laboratories in providing advice on analysis and quality assurance.  Vitamin A activity of traditional foods from Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands have been analyzed to encourage consumption of healthier cultivars
  • Through collaboration with SOPAC and WHO, IAS assisted several regional countries to improve their water quality laboratories.  Visits were made to assist the microbiology work and proficiency samples were also sent to the laboratories.
  •  Low-technology solar fruit drying
  • A coconut oil marketing feasibility study
  •  A shelf-life study on a kava/noni fruit drink and a microbiological risk assessment study on tuna.