January 30, 2015


UK scientists develop GM-based Omega-3 fish oil for farmed fishes



Consumers may soon welcome a healthier form of farmed fishes into the market. The works of British scientists are bringing that possibility to its realisation after the recent development of genetically-modified (GM) plants containing Omega-3 fatty acids which could be fed to fishes, such as salmons.


Those had also been declared to be a safe alternative to fish oil. 


The GMOs are part of a new generation of 'nutraceuticals' which possess genetic structures fabricated to provide health-benefitting properties. In this case, a crop of camelina is joined with genes from algae agents of Omega-3, in order to generate oil rich with fatty acid. This process was executed by scientist based in Rothamsted Research, Hertfordshire, UK.


Experiments had been conducted to determine the effects of various diet treatments on fishes.


"(We) found that the oil derived from the GM plants can effectively substitute for fish oil in salmon feeds," said Dr Monica Betancor, who carried out the experiments at the University of Stirling. Dr Betancor explained that the results will be a crucial step for GM-based oil to replace traditional fish oil which is said to be "limited" and "very expensive."


Professor Douglas Tocher, who's in charge of the salmon feeding study at the University of Stirling, also voiced his support for the future role of Omega-3 derived from GMOs.


"There is a fundamental lack of Omega-3 LC-PUFA to satisfy the recommended dietary requirements for humans, and fish are our main dietary source. The development of these novel plant oils, tailored to human requirements, represent a sustainable way to farm fish with high levels of Omega-3 fish oils that maintain their high nutritional value to the human consumer while preserving wild fish stocks," Tocher explained.


Unfortunately, his sentiments is not shared with opponents who disputed the safety of GM fish oils, going as far to claim that Omega-3 substances may promote prostate cancer.


On the other hand, it has been commonly accepted that Omega-3 helps tackle heart disease, cancers and neuro-degenerative diseases.