A new centre for omega-3 research may soon see the light of day.
Lifestyle diseases are experiencing strong growth in large parts of the western world. The consumption of seafood and products that are rich in omega-3 are regarded as an important preventative measure.
Research shows that omega-3 can contribute to the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. Omega-3 can also to an increasing degree be linked to the prevention of amongst other diseases cancer, osteoporosis and mental disorders.
“In order to exploit a limited resource and ensure the best possible health effects, good quality omega-3 fatty acids are essential,” says Senior Scientist Bente Ruyter from Nofima. “The most important task for the centre will be to work on the best possible taste, odour and shelf life of the omega-3 fatty acids. Through systematic building of knowledge over time, the centre will create the basis for the development of new and innovative products based on omega-3.
Norway is already one of the world’s leading producers of omega-3 ingredients. From being something you primarily ingested by consuming seafood, omega-3 is to an increasing extent being introduced through dietary supplements, pharmaceutical products and additives in new food products.
In Europe alone, the market for omega-3 ingredients is growing on an annual basis by 20-30 percent, and is expected to have a value of NOK 6.5 billion in 2014.
This tremendous demand represents a huge potential for added value and innovation for both the Norwegian aquaculture industry and Norwegian biomarine industry.
The purpose of Centres for Research-based Innovation (SFI) is to strengthen innovation by focusing on long-term research in close collaboration between research-intensive companies and prominent research environments. The competence that is developed shall be of a high international level. The centres are appointed by the Research Council of Norway.
The following institutions are behind the application: Nofima, Møreforskning/Omegaland, Ålesund University College, University of Bergen, Stockholm University, Purdue University (Indiana, USA), Oslo University Hospital and industry organisation FHL-Maring. Industry partners are Pronova Biopharma ASA, Epax AS, Denomega Nutritional Oils AS, Marine Harvest Ingredients AS, Omegatri AS, Napro Pharma AS, Axellus AS, Nordlaks Produkter AS, G.O. Johnsen AS and Gea Westfalia Separator Norway ASA.
The centre would be hosted by Nofima AS.