Non-fish origin long-chain omega-3

Monday, 02 May, 2011

Three Australian organisations have announced a $50 million dollar research collaboration which will use leading-edge gene technology to develop and commercialise vegetable oil which will contain the same high-quality, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) rich, long-chain omega-3 that traditionally comes from fish.

The Omega-3 Oil Research Collaboration brings together three of Australia’s leading organisations in grain research. The CSIRO through its Food Futures National Research Flagship providing investment, the research science behind omega-3s and developing transgenic omega-3 canola; Grains Research and Development Corporation (GDRC) providing investment; and Nuseed providing investment and development, including regulatory and breeding expertise to the collaboration.

Already, as part of the project, CSIRO scientists have made a significant breakthrough by enabling canola plants to generate long-chain omega-3 oils that contain DHA, something that, up until now, has only been found in beneficial quantities in ocean-based algae and the fish that eat it. Some land-based plants, like flaxseed, can produce short-chain omega-3 oils, but are unable to produce the more beneficial long-chain omega-3 oils containing DHA.

The three parties have signed two major agreements to develop and market plant-made ‘DHA-rich’ long-chain omega-3 oils, utilising world-leading gene technology. The first agreement is a multi-year collaborative research project to achieve a series of development milestones and complete a broad range of studies. The second agreement is a global exclusive commercial license to Nuseed for existing and co-developed long-chain omega-3 intellectual property.

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