Omega-3 webinar to delve into sustainability, sourcing, science

By Hank Schultz contact

- Last updated on GMT

Omega-3 webinar to delve into sustainability, sourcing, science
With the marine sources of omega-3s a continuing question in minds of consumers and influencers, alternatives are likely to come to the fore in the future. This issue, along with others, will be examined in a forum discussion taking place tomorrow.

The free NutraIngredients-USA Omega-3 Webinar will feature as speakers Ellen Schutt, executive director of the Global Organization of EPA and DHA Omega-3s (GOED). Also speaking will be noted omega-3s expert William S. Harris, PhD, of the University of South Dakota. Rounding out the panel will be Johnathan Napier, PhD, of Rothampsted Research, which is funded by the UK government.

More market support needed?

Schutt will lay out for the audience the latest developments in the raw material markets and what the overall market looks like. The omega-3s market grew strongly for many years and then hit a soft patch starting several years ago that brought global growth to a standstill and even saw contraction on some select markets such as North America.  

The market has since returned to low to mid single digit growth, thanks in part to a national ad campaign spearheaded by GOED staff with the support of members. Are similar such efforts still needed? Is another ad campaign in store? Tune in tomorrow to find out.

As to the sources of omega-3s, it has long been recognized that fish, krill and other marine organism used as the source of oils rich in omega-3s are the accumulators of these molecules, but they don’t synthesize them themselves.  So what about going directly to the source, the algal cells that create these beneficial fatty acids in the first place? Algal ingredients form an important and growing part of the supply picture. Can the producers of these ingredients finally get costs in line?

Novel plant source

Prof. Napier will give a look in the research his group is doing into a novel plant based source of omega-3s. His group has been developing a genetically modified oil seed strain that will synthesize significant amounts of EPA and DHA directly. The issue with the long chain fatty acids that come from plants is that up to now these have consisted almost entirely of ALA. While that molecule can have health benefits of its own, its conversion into DHA is very inefficient.

And Prof. Harris will look at which benefits of omega-3s are best supported. He will also lead a discussion about why data from some large scale population studies was interpreted as being equivocal, which was one of the things that sent the market into its tailspin in the first place. Finally, Prof. Harris will look at some of the new avenues of omega-3s .

Registration here for the FREE webinar tomorrow

To register for this FREE webinar, which is slated for 11:30 AM Eastern time on Tuesday, July 26, CLICK HERE​.

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