ChemCentre is undertaking research in collaboration with the Australian Sandalwood Network and Curtin University for the benefit of the Australian Sandalwood (Santalum spicatum) plantation industry by using under-utilised’ nuts in high value premium products.

Australian Sandalwood is a unique native tree crop which is cultivated in the WA Wheatbelt Region for its high value oil derived from heartwood which is used in highly sought after premium fragrance and perfume products.

While heartwood oil has a ready market and can command prices upwards of $1500/kg it takes 20-25 years for a plantation to mature and produce income. However, Australian sandalwood (unlike its Indian counterpart Santalum alba) can produce annual crops of large nuts which are filled with oils, proteins and oligosaccharides that can be used in food and cosmetic manufacture. They also contain essential fatty acids that have been shown to be anti-inflammatory and therefore potentially useful medicinal products.

ChemCentre by leading this project aims to fully establish the chemical and physical characteristics of Australian sandalwood products from raw material to finished products for the first time. Once created, these profiles will be used to develop independent, quality, analytical testing and certification procedures that authenticates high value products and supports downstream commerce. The outcome of the project will also generate the data to meet Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) requirements for any Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) approved medicinal product development from ingredients derived from sandalwood.

Specific attributes of plantation grown Australian Sandalwood essential oils, nut oils and other plantation products will be certified, ensuring perfumed and medicinal products created by local companies can maintain consistency and the industry can continue to build its reputation in perfumery and personal care industries worldwide.

ChemCentre’s research supports a structured and certified development pathway to maximise total product utilisation for plantation grown Australian Sandalwood while reinforcing the grower-distributor-buyer relationship. The project focuses on four key areas:

  • Product certification
  • Improved production efficiency
  • New products and their registration
  • Investment attraction


By delivering certified analytical chemistry to support primary production improvement and downstream product development and manufacturing, ChemCentre’s research work aims to assist the industry to accelerate the delivery of a wide variety of high value sandalwood products to local and international markets.

This multi-year collaborative research has been supported for heartwood research by the Western Australian sandalwood industry and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development through their Export Competitiveness Grant scheme and more recently for research on nut utilisation through ChemCentre’s collaboration with the Fight Food Waste CRC.


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t: (08) 9422 9800
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Bentley WA 6102

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