Australia could soon become a producer of royal jelly, should a potential trial using Chinese technology be successful.

Labour-saving techniques using low-cost production systems by Chinese company Bao Chun Bee Products could make royal jelly production commercially viable in Australia, according to a study by Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC).

Bao Chun Bee Products Company has developed a way in which to shorten the two most labour-intensive parts of the royal jelly production, which are manually grafting day-old worker bee larvae and harvesting the product.

Due to this, the RIRDC has recommended the development committee agree to a short trial of the technology in order to assess the cost implications and viability of production of royal jelly, which is used as an ingredient in cosmetic products as well as a health supplement.

The study says, “Royal jelly is only collected by humans from queen cells where it is deposited in larger volumes and in advance of larvae consumption. Well-managed hives are able to produce up to 500 grams of royal jelly per annum … over a 5-6 month spring and summer period.
“World production of royal jelly is estimated at 4000 tonnes per annum with a wholesale value of $US135 million. China produces an estimated 3500 tonnes of royal jelly and other large producers include Vietnam, Taiwan, Japan and Korea.”