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WARNING: The information on this page has been gathered from both published and unpublished material, and contains comments and opinions from people working in the field. CQUniversity cannot guarantee all the information, and we stress that it is necessary to CHECK WITH THE SOURCE of the information, before using it to make a business decision. Please read our disclaimer.
Useful publications: Cusack and Stewart (1996).
There are about 1200 bamboo species worldwide, in environments ranging from cold temperate to tropical. Only about 100 of these are considered significantly useful (Earthcare Enterprises 1998).
Jeff Barnes is propagating Dendrocalamus giganteus, D. latiflorus, D. asper, D. brandisii, Bambusa oldhamii and Gigantochloa atter, chosen for their edibility, and will collect data on growth rates and crop yield by 2000 (Barnes 1997). Of these, the two most preferred species for tropical production were D. latiflorus and D. asper, but propagation material was expensive (Kevin Blackburn 1998, pers. comm.). D. asper is the most important species for shoot production in Thailand (Fu et al. 1987), while D. latiflorus and Bambusa oldhamii are the most important in Taiwan (Tai 1985).
Propagation material is available from a range of Australian sources, including Bamboo Australia, Bamboo World, Earthcare Enterprises and others. Tissue culture is being trialled by Bamboo World to reduce the cost of propagation material (David Midmore 1998, pers. comm.).
Forty varieties, some from Borneo, were planted in 1994 by Jeff and Anna Goldsby.
The Bamboo Society of Australia (BSA; contact Shane Nicholls) and the Australian Commercial Bamboo Corporation (ACBC, contact Victor Cusack) were set up in August 1998 by 85 people at a workshop in Brisbane. The BSA caters for amateur enthusiasts, promoting all aspects of bamboo interests in Australia, while the ACBC caters for commercial producers of bamboo shoots and timber, supporting research, development and marketing (David Midmore 1998, pers. comm.).
There is not yet a significant industry in Australia (Barnes 1997). A number of plantations have been made in recent years, but the crop takes from 3 to 7 years from establishment to first harvest (Midmore 1998). There are commercial growers in Qld and NT (Lee 1995). Bamboo Australia has been producing shoots commercially since 1996, and Earthcare Enterprises for four years (David Midmore 1998, pers. comm.).
Propagation: A method for rapid propagation of Dendrocalamus asper is described in Arya et al. (1999).
Nutrition: NT DPIF have an irrigation/fertiliser trial of 162 Bambusa oldhamii plants. 3 irrigation levels (30, 60 and 90% evaporation replacement). 3 fertiliser treatments (125N, 31P, 93K; 250N, 63P, 189K; 375N, 94P, 282K). 3 replications. (Kevin Blackburn 1998, pers. comm.).
Harvest: Shoots must be harvested before they emerge from the ground (JETRO 1991).
Yield: Taiwanese yields varied from 7.4 to 20.3 kg/clump in
Handling: Shoots easily absorb oil, so care should be taken around machinery/transport to prevent an oily smell in the product (JETRO 1991). Shoots are washed in the husks, then 2-3 husk layers and the hardened base are removed. Shoots are boiled to remove hydrocyanic acid (Vinning 1995).
Temperature: Preliminary work at NT DPIF measured respiration rates at 2 and 20°C storage in uncovered and glad-wrapped treatments. Temperature had the greater influence on quality. Shoots stored at 2°C under wrap could be stored for 6-10 days before quality was affected (Melinda Gosbee 1998, pers. comm.).
Shelf life: Fresh bamboo must be consumed soon after harvest to prevent a bitter taste developing. It is most preferable to dig in the morning and sell the same day (Vinning 1995). Bitterness is also reduced by minimising exposure to sunlight (David Midmore 1998, pers. comm.). Browning during storage was investigated by Kozukue et al. (1999).
Packaging: Bermah Pty Ltd trades bamboo shoots in 5 kg cartons.
Canning: Shoots should be canned within 18 hours after harvest to maintain freshness (JETRO 1991). Canned bamboo loses its aroma and crunchiness, but is convenient (Vinning 1995).
Cooking: Optimal cooking conditions for minimising hydroxycinnamate (HCN) levels and irritant sensation in shoots of Dendrocalamas giganteus were 134-180 minutes at 98-106°C and pH 5.65-5.70 (Ferreira et al. 1995). Hydroxycinnamates have recently been reviewed (Kroon and Williamson 1999).
Spring shoots have a base diameter of about 10-15 cm and are up to 30 cm long. Winter shoots are about half this size. Larger shoots are generally tougher (Vinning 1995).
Figure 1: High and low prices of bamboo shoots at Flemington Markets during 1996 (green), 1997 (blue) and the first half of 1998 (red), recorded on a half monthly basis (Flemington Market Reporting Service, NSW Agriculture).
A review of bamboo-shoot fruit flies of Asia has recently been completed (Hancock and Drew 1999). Potential viruses are listed at plant viruses online (Brunt et al. 1996).
Development potential was rated as high for the fresh domestic market (Vinning 1995). Estimates of Australian imports vary considerably, but could be as high as 8000 t/year (Cahill 1999) with domestic consumption increasing at 20% (Barnes 1999). Shoots can be supplied domestically for half the year from September to April (Midmore 1998).
(click here for exchange rates).
Australia is unlikely to be internationally competitive in basic processed shoots since production is labour intensive. However, we may be able to compete for higher quality near-fresh shoots. The major producers are all in the Northern Hemisphere, hence there are opportunities for providing fresh shoots during their off season.
Bamboo is most valued in the fresh and dried forms, with canned bamboo prices lower. Imports of processed shoots are expanding in Japan and Taiwan, but prices are low and determined by China. Northern Chinese consider it a delicacy and use with wheat-based and vegetarian dishes (Vinning 1995).
Taiwan had 30 000 ha of shoot producing bamboo under intensive cultivation, producing about 380 000 t/year (Tai 1985). Taiwan imported about 3700 t of canned bamboo in 1992 at just below US$0.60/kg. The main sources were Thailand, the Philippines and China. Fresh bamboo is available most of the year, though is harder to get from December to February. Prices peak toward the end of February for Chinese New Year (Vinning 1995).
Hong Kong imports and re-exports fresh and canned bamboo shoots from China, to Singapore, Taiwan and USA.
Singapore consumption is mainly of canned shoots, but frozen cooked shoots are also used (Pan 1995).
Japan produced 90 000 t of bamboo shoots in 1993, but production is declining. The Japanese production season runs from March to July and most imports are during November to March (Pan 1995), in frozen (without sugar), canned and dried forms (Vinning 1995). Therefore, there may be a gap in supply from July to November (Pan 1995). Imports from China used to be mostly in 18 litre cans, but a much greater variety is now available, including retail size vacuum packs (JETRO 1996). Nevertheless, China is still largely a low price provider (JETRO 1995). The decrease in the total import volume of dried bamboo was caused by a shortage of labour and unstable weather in Taiwan (JETRO 1996). There is a 16% tariff for frozen and canned forms (Vinning 1995).
Figure 2: Japanese sourcing of bamboo shoots by (A) volume and (B) price (General Statistical Survey of the Food Manufacturing Industry, Food Marketing Research and Information Center via JETRO 1995, Ministry of Finance and Japan Research Institution via JETRO 1996, Nguyen 1998, Vinning 1995).
Bamboo shoots are a minor ingredient for tsukemono (pickled vegetables) with 8 570 t used for this purpose in 1991 (Pan 1995). Japanese use dried bamboo shoots mainly for Chinese style cooking (JETRO 1996). Two kinds of bamboo shoots exist in Japan (JETRO 1992):
Machiku shoots (large type). Suitable for freezing because they suffer only minimal loss of texture and flavour. Supplied by Taiwan and Thailand, but Taiwanese supply has been decreasing (JETRO 1992).
Moso shoots (thick stemmed). Less appropriate for freezing due to many small hollow areas within the plants. Imports are limited pending new technology, and China supplies most. If diced, they can be used for Chinese dishes such as spring rolls (harumaki) and steamed meat buns (nikuman). Currently it is limited to restaurants and processors (JETRO 1992).
USA imports most of its bamboo shoots from Thailand, but the proportion from China is increasing while the overall volume remains static (Figure 3). Bamboo shoots from Japan receive a much higher price than from other countries. Imports for the year Oct 1997 - Sept 1998 reached 30 171 t but the average price dropped to US$0.77/kg (USDA 1999).
David Midmore (1 July 1994 - 30 June 1997). Culinary bamboo shoots in Australia: a fresh market emphasis. RIRDC Project Number UCQ-4A.
David Midmore (1 June 1997 - 30 June 2000). Improved management practices for culinary bamboo shoots - local and export markets. RIRDC Project Number UCQ-9A (Extension of UCQ-4A).
Jeff Barnes (1 July 1994 - 30 June 1997). Bamboo development to meet the requirements of the Asian stir fry export markets. RIRDC Project Number DAQ-176.
Figure 3: US import volumes of (A) canned bamboo shoots and (B) boiled or frozen bamboo shoots/water chestnuts, and the price paid at customs for (C) canned bamboo shoots and (D) boiled or frozen bamboo shoots/waterchestnuts (US Census Bureau, via the Government Information Sharing Project, Oregon State University).
Figure 4: Indonesian imports of bamboo shoots from Taiwan (Taiwanese official trade statistics)
Arya, S., Sharma, S., Kaur, R. and Arya, I. D. (1999). Micropropagation of Dendrocalamus asper by shoot proliferation using seeds. Plant Cell Reports 18(10): 879-882.
Barnes, J. (1997). Evaluation of clumping bamboo species for fresh market and processing. Access to Asian Foods 1: 3.
Barnes, J. (1999). Evaluation of clumping bamboo species grown at Bundaberg Research Station for edible shoot production (Project DAQ-176A). Access to Asian Foods 4: 4.
Brunt, A.A., Crabtree, K., Dallwitz, M.J., Gibbs, A.J., Watson, L. and Zurcher, E.J. (eds.) (1996 onwards). `Plant Viruses Online: Descriptions and Lists from the VIDE Database. Version: 16th January 1997.'.
Cahill, A. (1999). Field day to explore edible bamboo shoot market. News Release, Department of Primary Industries Queensland.
Cusack, V. and D. Stewart (1996). Bamboo - practical growing and uses. NSW, Australia, Bamboo World.
Ferreira, V. L. P., Yotsuyanagi, K. and Carvalho, C. R. L. (1995). Elimination of cyanogenic compounds from bamboo shoots Dendrocalamus giganteus Munro. Tropical Science 35(4): 342-346.
Fu, M. Y., Ma, N. X. and Qiu, F. G. (1987). Bamboo production and scientific research in Thailand. [Chinese]. Journal of Bamboo Research 6(1): 54-61.
Hancock, D. L. and Drew, R. A. I. (1999). Bamboo-shoot fruit flies of Asia (Diptera : Tephritidae : Ceratitidinae). Journal of Natural History 33(5): 633-775.
JETRO (1991). Canned vegetables. Japan External Trade Organisation, Market Report.
JETRO (1992). Frozen vegetable. Japan External Trade Organisation, Market Report.
JETRO (1995). Processed Food: Your Market in Japan 95 March. Japan External Trade Organisation, Market Report.
JETRO (1996). Process Vegetables: Your Market in Japan-1996. Japan External Trade Organisation, Market Report.
Kozukue, E., Kozukue, N. and Tsuchida, H. (1999). Changes in several enzyme activities accompanying the pulp browning of bamboo shoots during storage [Japanese]. Journal of the Japanese Society for Horticultural Science 68(3): 689-693.
Kroon, P. A. and Williamson, G. (1999). Hydroxycinnamates in plants and food: current and future perspectives. Journal of the Science of Food & Agriculture 79(3): 355-361.
Lee, B. (1995). Audit of the Australian Asian vegetables industry. RIRDC Research Paper No. 95/13. Canberra, Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation 97 pp.
Midmore, D. (1998). Culinary bamboo shoots. The New Rural Industries. Ed.: K. W. Hyde. Canberra, Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation: 188-196.
Nguyen, V. Q. (1998). Report on the study tour to Japan on pickling of Asian vegetables and attendance at an international symposium on vegetable quality in Seoul, Korea 1997. Gosford, Horticultural Research and Advisory Station. 96 pp.
Pan, C. (1995). Market opportunities for fresh and processed Asian vegetables. RIRDC Research Paper No. 95/14. Canberra, Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation 117 pp.
Tai, K. Y. (1985). The management and utilization of shoot-producing bamboos in Taiwan. [Chinese]. Quarterly Journal of Chinese Forestry 18(2): 1-46.
USDA (1998). World horticultural trade and US export opportunities. USDA Trade Report.
USDA (1999). World horticultural trade and US export opportunities. USDA Trade Report.
Vinning, G. (1995). Market Compendium of Asian Vegetables. RIRDC Research Paper No. 95/12. Canberra, Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation 386 pp.