Spin out company translating Indigenous knowledge

Spinifex from the Queensland outback has been used to develop innovative injectable medical gels to treat arthritis and osteoarthritis, help deliver drugs more efficiently to the body, and for use in cosmetic procedures. 

Following an agreement between Indigenous group Bulugudu Ltd and UniQuest, a spin out company called Trioda Wilingi Pty Ltd was created to develop the gels from cellulose nanofibres extracted from spinifex.

Spinifex survives in temperatures up to 60°C, puts down roots up to 30 metres below ground to find water and produces a resin which can be melted and solidified to form a polymer that is a foundational ingredient in creating these gels. 

Trioda Wilingi Pty Ltd is the result of a long term partnership between the AIBN and Bulugudu Ltd (formerly known as Dugalungi Aboriginal Corporation DAC), based in Camooweal about 200km west of Mt Isa; as well as investment 
from Uniseed.

Trioda Wilingi is a success story about what happens when scientists and Indigenous communities work cooperatively to translate traditional Indigenous knowledge into modern products. The word ‘Trioda’ comes from the scientific name for the Triodia species of spinifex grasses. ‘Wilingi’ is a Indjalandji word which means special grass.

This is a tangible demonstration of how spinifex, a plant that has been a building block for some Aboriginal societies in the desert, will continue to play a role in advancing local communities through business and employment opportunities.

Under the deal a percentage of all royalties will go into an Indigenous education fund at UQ, to enhance training and education opportunities for Indigenous Australians.

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