Thursday, February 5, 2015

05/02/2015: Towards eggy fish oils

by Ioannis Zabetakis, assistant professor of food chemistry, university of Athens, Greece

Given the increasing need for fish oil in the aquafeed industry, scientists and formulators around the globe are in a constant quest for alternative sources of fish lipids. Wild fish stocks are decreasing fast and sardine oil may soon be too dear. Therefore many believe that krill oil is the next big thing. But is it?

Because krill oil delivers omega-3 fatty acids in phospholipid form, krill experts maintain that krill oil is a more effective, better-absorbed delivery system for omega-3 fatty acids than fish oils, which contain these fatty acids mostly in a triglyceride form.

But Nordic Naturals just released ‘Omega-3 Phospholipids’, a fish oil product combining standard fish oil with phospholipid-bound omega-3 fatty acids from herring roe (fish eggs). The result is, according to the company, the highest omega-3 DHA and EPA content (thanks to the fish oil) as well as the highest phospholipid content and a broader range of phospholipids compared to krill oil. (It is especially high in phospholipid-bound DHA.)

The product features 520mg of EPA and DHA, 143mg of which are phospholipid-bound. Company CEO and founder Joar Opheim calls these levels “more meaningful amounts of EPA and DHA” that meet the minimum 500-mg EPA/DHA dose per serving that experts recommend.

Nordic Naturals is marketing Omega-3 Phospholipids as “the potent alternative to krill,” contending that it offers more than twice the level of omega-3s compared to all leading krill products on the market.

“All leading krill oil products provide significantly less than 500mg EPA+DHA per day,” says Scott Minton PhD, Nordic Naturals’ scientific advisor.

“Because Omega-3 Phospholipids provides more omega-3 EPA and DHA in both triglyceride and phospholipid-bound forms compared to any krill product, the opportunities for absorption are increased.”

The choice of herring roe (from wild, sustainable Norwegian herring) was due to roe’s high content of phospholipid-bound EPA and DHA, the company says.

“Gram for gram, krill oil and herring roe oil have a similar amount of phospholipid content,” says Minton. 

“However, the herring roe oil has a broader spectrum of phospholipids and a higher amount of phospholipid-bound omega-3 DHA.”

Not all fish eggs are high-phospholipid candidates, though. 

“In general, the percentage of phospholipids present in a fish egg will vary with many factors, including the fish species, the developmental stage of the egg, water temperature and life-history features of the adult fish,” Minton says.

“Using special laboratory equipment, the amount of phospholipids in different fish roe can be measured.”

Taking this story a step further, at the University in Athens we are carrying out research (for an example, click HERE) on the cardioprotective properties of hen’s egg polar lipids. The future could be eggy indeed by valorising egg lipids into aquafeeds.

Read the magazine HERE.

The Aquaculturists
This blog is maintained by The Aquaculturists staff and is supported by the
magazine International Aquafeed which is published by
Perendale Publishers Ltd

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