New research coming out of Victoria University in Wellington has shown there is more to the humble feijoa than just a great tasting snack, with it being found to harbour anti-fungal properties.
Kiwi shaped feijoa.
Researchers have been looking into the feijoa's antibacterial and anti-cancer potential for some time now, but Victoria University's study is one of only a few looking into the anti-fungal side of things.
"Fungal infections cause one million deaths per year worldwide—more than breast cancer or tuberculosis—and that's even with the availability of anti-fungal drugs,” researcher Mona Mokhtari says.
Ms Mokhtari, who will graduate with a PhD in Biomedical Science at a Victoria graduation ceremony next week, has been conducting the research and is looking to turn the research into a drug that can be used on humans.
"I found that feijoa's are about 50 times more effective as an anti-fungal than as an antibacterial.
"That makes the compound very promising as the basis for a drug that kills fungal cells without hurting human cells or the beneficial bacteria in the guts of humans," she said.
She says that a drug is still a long way off though as a lot more work still needs to be done.
"Now that the compound has been identified and once the research has been published, other researchers have a head start on turning this compound into something you might see in pharmacies in years ahead," Ms Mokhtari says.