Physico-chemical characterisation and functionality of the polysaccharide extracted from the New Zealand black tree fern, Cyathea medullaris (Mamaku) : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Food Technology at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand. EMBARGOED until 16 March 2017
The aim of this thesis was to characterise the polysaccharide extracted from the New Zealand black tree fern, Cyathea medullaris, or mamaku in Maori using a combination of rheological, structural and in vivo research techniques. Polysaccharides are biopolymers with diverse functionalities that have found their way into many applications in the food, cosmetic or pharmaceutical industries. Novel sources of polysaccharides may have promising functional properties for new or existing applications, therefore it is essential to have fundamental knowledge of their properties. The native and endemic New Zealand black tree fern produces mucilage (containing the polysaccharide) which is extracted from the thick fleshy stem pith of the frond.