Martek aims to lower price of omega-3 products

By Jess Halliday

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Fatty acids Docosahexaenoic acid Omega-3 fatty acid

Martek Biosciences has refined its manufacturing process to produce
microalgae-derived DHA at 20 percent less cost and expects this to
have a knock-on effect on the cost of consumer products containing

Angela Tsetsis, VP of corporate development at the Columbia, MD-based company told "As we have become more experienced, we have been able to streamline some of the steps, eliminate losses and increase efficiency."

She explained that this has also led to some improvement in stability, as some of the components in the oil are not removed and these seem to have a stabilizing effect. Long chain fatty acids are very sensitive to oxidization. The less processing that occurs, the less oxidation occurs, resulting in an oil that is less 'stressed'.

The fishy taste and smell that is often associated with omega-3 fatty acids, those derived from microalgae and flax as well as from fish oil, is a result of oxidizing long chain fats. Fish sources are usually subjected to more stress in processing, according to Tsetsis, meaning that the off-note is more pronounced. This means that a lot of fish oil products must be microencapsulated.

She said that the company is still in the early stages insofar as the kinds of product formulations that will benefit from the new version, but that it has seen it to be very effective in dairy, one of the main areas of research. It may also prove beneficial in other products, such as bars.

Martek has only recently taken its DHA ingredient into food products. Its main area of business is in infant formulas, where products fortified with DHA have a 15 to 20 percent premium at retail. Tsetsis was unable to comment on the premium for food products as the market is only just being created.

However she did say: "As time goes on and awareness of DHA increases, the cost factor will become more important. We are trying to stay ahead of the market."

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