NIU’s Global Round-up: Probiotics research booming in Asia, efficient & sustainable calanus harvesting, and more

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

 © Getty Images / scanrail
© Getty Images / scanrail

Related tags omega-3 Zinc Probiotic

What's happened this week around the Nutra-Verse? Stay on top of things with our weekly round-up of key news from across the globe.


New tech to advance Calanus harvesting for omega-3

Expected increases in demand for calanus oil are driving expansion plans by Norway’s Calanus AS, which is developing a new generation of zooplankton trawls with on-board devices which allow them to increase efficacy and reduce bycatch in the 'challenging' area of oceanic harvesting.

The new technology will bring the company closer to a more efficient, sustainable and eco-friendly oceanic harvesting of the omega-3 source Calanus finmarchicus​, said the company.

Calanus oil is extracted from the copepods of the same name Calanus finmarchicus. ​It contains the omega-3s EPA and DHA predominantly in the wax ester form (the oil is slightly viscous). The oil also contains astaxanthin, which gives its ruby color.

Wax esters are historically associated with penguin, seal, and whale oil, but are being produced by Norwegian company Calanus AS from C. finmarchicus. ​A

According to Salma et al. (Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids​, 2016, Vol. 108, pp. 13-21), Calanus finmarchicus​ is “the most abundant crustacean in the North Atlantic Ocean with annual production of several hundred million tonnes.”

Despite such predictions, the Norwegian government does have a precautionary quota, which is set at 254 000 tons per year - significantly lower than the potential sustainable yield according to Calanus.

For more on this story, please click HERE​.


‘Highly prevalent’ zinc deficiency Colombia

A new study from Colombia has highlighted a “major public health problem” in the country, with almost 50% of under five years-olds suffering from zinc deficiency.

Data published in BMC Nutrition​ indicated the country’s prevalence of zinc deficiency in children more than doubled from 20% in 2005 to 43.3% in 2010. This has now increased to 49% for children under five.

Throughout the region, there are also nutritional programs aimed at children living in low socioeconomic backgrounds. Bienestarina, a nutritional supplement, is an element of the national and regional program, which provides 50% of the zinc daily recommended intake of 1.5 mgs for children under five.

“Considering the evidence that has been provided, it is unsettling that such a large gap exists between the children who can access nutritional programs (22%) and those who are food insecure (71%),”​ the study reveals.

In total, the study revealed that 61.6% of the poorest population in Colombia have access to subsidy programs, suggesting that “efforts should be made to strengthen and expand the existing policies and to implement new ones that focus on these three areas to effectively reduce the zinc deficiency”​.

For more on this story, please click HERE​.


Probiotic research studies growing ‘exponentially’ in Asia

Probiotics © Getty Images chombosan
© Getty Images / chombosan

China is leading the way within APAC for studies into probiotics, according to review backed by the International Probiotics Association.

Speaking at the recent Probiota Asia summit in Singapore, Professor Ger Rijkers, from University College Roosevelt in the Netherlands explained that China was conducting 2,133 studies on probiotics, followed by India at 1,005, Japan at 970, and Iran at 630.

In addition, data from the World Health Organisation’s International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP) indicates that China has 311 studies registered, while Iran has 248 studies registered for this year. 

Prof Rijkers also highlighted the emerging, and rising, focus on the benefits of probiotics beyond gut health, such as the link between probiotics and depression, irritable bowel, obesity, and cancer.

“What certainly needed more research is in the field of the gut-brain axis. I think it is important because neurodegenerative diseases are associated with increased lifespan, and there's Alzheimer's and dementia,” ​he said.

For more on this, please click HERE​.

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