Omega-3 oils and phospholipids

Jarle Wang-Andersen

This article was last updated more than two years ago.



In line with market and research requirements over a period of many years, we have acquired considerable competence about the analysis of lipids and oils.

The basis for all lipids characterisation (description) is fatty acids.

Fatty acids have many important biological functions and the analysis of fatty acids is important in order to determine the nutritional quality of food and feed ingredients. Fatty acid analyses are also important in order to understand many biological connections.


Marine organisms are a source for an extremely large spectrum of different fatty acids, and as a result the analysis of marine lipids is more demanding that the analysis of lipids from other sources.

As such, as experts in the analysis of marine oils, we can easily assess lipid sources other than marine, but this is not the case for typical "agricultural laboratories".

At Nofima, we are developing methods to determine the structure of different fatty acids.

Fatty acid

This includes the development of a unique method for fatty acid identification based on gas chromatography with mass spectrometric detection (GC-MS) and chemometric analysis of data.

The focus has been particularly on developing methodology for reliable determination of trans fatty acids in marine fat, including trans-fatty acids created from the important omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA.

BioLab Analysis offers accredited analyses of fatty acid composition. This analysis is based on absolute quantities, or in other words that the client finds out the actual content of the different fatty acids in the sample and not just a percentage distribution.

Analysis of marine trans fatty acids demands extra competence over and above knowledge about standard models. For marine trans fatty acids, we have several publications in recent years which deal with unique methodology for trans fatty acid identification.

Charged Aerosol Detector

The majority of oil and lipid extracts comprise of a mixture, unknown at the point of departure, of saturated and unsaturated molecules.

Consequently, we have developed a modern analysis method for the analysis of lipid classes which uses a Charged Aerosol Detector.

Using this method, we can specify in absolute quantities the different polar and non polar lipid classes or in other words the actual quantity in your sample and not just a percentage distribution. With our modern analyses of lipid classes, we can serve clients with a focus on marine phospholipids.


The oil quality is inseparably attached to oxidation. This is the reason why, in addition to a high research activity attached to oxidation, we are also selling accredited analysis methods.

We assist the relevant industry to produce food products of a high quality with respect to sensory characteristics and storage stability.

Accredited analyses are implemented at Nofima Ingrediens to determine the content of primary and secondary oxidation products.

The methods are utilised for oxidation analyses of oils, food products, feed and other biological materials.

Some important analyses we carry out are peroxide value and anisidine value, free fatty acids (FFA) and analysis of early oxidation by using head-space chromatography and chemiluminescene.

We have also developed special methods to analyse potential oxidation stability. In addition, we have methods to determine the content of different antioxidants.

Related content