Macadamia shells could help treat victims of poisoning according to new research funded by Hort Innovation and conducted by Murdoch University.

The research shows that crushed macadamia shells could be more efficient than traditional charcoal in treating certain kinds of poisoning such as paracetamol overdoses.

Currently, Australian medical facilities treat patients by getting them to ingest a charcoal made from coconut shells which expands in the stomach to soak up toxins.

This latest research has found the absorption rate of crushed macadamia shells is similar to the traditional coconut shell treatment, but can be specially engineered to be more effective at mopping up toxins, and is drug-specific.

Hort Innovation chief executive John Lloyd said the new finding paves the way for growers and processors to tap into an additional income stream.

“Limiting food waste is an increasing area of research investment for horticulture industries, and growers are always looking for novel ways to repurpose their produce off-cuts,” he said.

“When it comes to macadamias, 65 per cent of the weight of the nut is in the shell so there is a huge volume of shell generated."