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Special Issue "Recent Advances in Omega-3: Health Benefits, Sources, Products and Bioavailability"

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A special issue of Nutrients (ISSN 2072-6643).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 February 2014)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Peter D. Nichols

CSIRO Food and Nutrition Flagship, Oceans and Atmosphere Flagship, PO Box 1600, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia
Guest Editor
Dr. Matt Miller

The New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research Limited, PO Box 5114, Nelson 7010, New Zealand.
Phone: +64 3 989 7633

Special Issue Information

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Published Papers (12 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle A Nutritional-Toxicological Assessment of Antarctic Krill Oil versus Fish Oil Dietary Supplements
Nutrients 2014, 6(9), 3382-3402; doi:10.3390/nu6093382
Received: 4 May 2014 / Revised: 30 June 2014 / Accepted: 7 August 2014 / Published: 28 August 2014
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (276 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Fish oil dietary supplements and complementary medicines are pitched to play a role of increasing strategic importance in meeting daily requirements of essential nutrients, such as long-chain (≥C20, LC) omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamin D. Recently a new product [...] Read more.
Fish oil dietary supplements and complementary medicines are pitched to play a role of increasing strategic importance in meeting daily requirements of essential nutrients, such as long-chain (≥C20, LC) omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamin D. Recently a new product category, derived from Antarctic krill, has been launched on the omega-3 nutriceutical market. Antarctic krill oil is marketed as demonstrating a greater ease of absorption due to higher phospholipid content, as being sourced through sustainable fisheries and being free of toxins and pollutants; however, limited data is available on the latter component. Persistent Organic Pollutants (POP) encompass a range of toxic, man-made contaminants that accumulate preferentially in marine ecosystems and in the lipid reserves of organisms. Extraction and concentration of fish oils therefore represents an inherent nutritional-toxicological conflict. This study aimed to provide the first quantitative comparison of the nutritional (EPA and DHA) versus the toxicological profiles of Antarctic krill oil products, relative to various fish oil categories available on the Australian market. Krill oil products were found to adhere closely to EPA and DHA manufacturer specifications and overall were ranked as containing intermediate levels of POP contaminants when compared to the other products analysed. Monitoring of the pollutant content of fish and krill oil products will become increasingly important with expanding regulatory specifications for chemical thresholds. Full article
Open AccessArticle Evaluation of Bread Crumbs as a Potential Carbon Source for the Growth of Thraustochytrid Species for Oil and Omega-3 Production
Nutrients 2014, 6(5), 2104-2114; doi:10.3390/nu6052104
Received: 6 March 2014 / Revised: 12 May 2014 / Accepted: 16 May 2014 / Published: 23 May 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (556 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The utilization of food waste by microorganisms to produce omega-3 fatty acids or biofuel is a potentially low cost method with positive environmental benefits. In the present study, the marine microorganisms Thraustochytrium sp. AH-2 and Schizochytrium sp. SR21 were used to evaluate [...] Read more.
The utilization of food waste by microorganisms to produce omega-3 fatty acids or biofuel is a potentially low cost method with positive environmental benefits. In the present study, the marine microorganisms Thraustochytrium sp. AH-2 and Schizochytrium sp. SR21 were used to evaluate the potential of breadcrumbs as an alternate carbon source for the production of lipids under static fermentation conditions. For the Thraustochytrium sp. AH-2, submerged liquid fermentation with 3% glucose produced 4.3 g/L of biomass and 44.16 mg/g of saturated fatty acids after seven days. Static fermentation with 0.5% and 1% breadcrumbs resulted in 2.5 and 4.7 g/L of biomass, and 42.4 and 33.6 mg/g of saturated fatty acids, respectively. Scanning electron microscopic (SEM) studies confirmed the growth of both strains on breadcrumbs. Attenuated total reflection Fourier transform infrared (ATR-FTIR) spectroscopy for both strains were consistent with the utilization of breadcrumbs for the production of unsaturated lipids, albeit at relatively low levels. The total lipid yield for static fermentation with bread crumbs was marginally lower than that of fermentation with glucose media, while the yield of unsaturated fatty acids was considerably lower, indicating that static fermentation may be more appropriate for the production of biodiesel than for the production of omega-3 rich oils in these strains. Full article
Open AccessArticle Purification of Alaskan Walleye Pollock (Gadus chalcogrammus) and New Zealand Hoki (Macruronus novaezelandiae) Liver Oil Using Short Path Distillation
Nutrients 2014, 6(5), 2059-2076; doi:10.3390/nu6052059
Received: 14 March 2014 / Revised: 8 May 2014 / Accepted: 9 May 2014 / Published: 22 May 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (638 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The beneficial health effects of a diet rich in n-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 LC-PUFA) have been extensively researched in recent years. Marine oils are an important dietary source of n-3 LC-PUFA, being especially rich in [...] Read more.
The beneficial health effects of a diet rich in n-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 LC-PUFA) have been extensively researched in recent years. Marine oils are an important dietary source of n-3 LC-PUFA, being especially rich in two of the most important fatty acids of this class, EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid; 20:5n-3) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid; 22:6n-3). Oils rich in n-3 LC-PUFA are prone to oxidation that leads to loss of product quality. Alaskan pollock (Gadus chalcogrammus Pallas, 1814) and New Zealand’s hoki (Macruronus novaezelandiae Hector, 1871) are the highest volume fisheries of their respective countries. Both produce large quantities of fishery byproducts, in particular crude or unrefined n-3 LC-PUFA containing oils. Presently these oils are used as ingredients for animal feed, and only limited quantities are used as human nutritional products. The aim of this research was to investigate the applicability of short path distillation for the purification of pollock and hoki oil to produce purified human-grade fish oil to meet quality specifications. Pollock and hoki oils were subjected to short path distillation and a significant decrease in free fatty acids and lipid oxidation (peroxide and para-anisidine values) products was observed. Purified oils met the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3 (GOED) standard for edible fish oils. Full article
Open AccessArticle Randomized Controlled Trial Examining the Effects of Fish Oil and Multivitamin Supplementation on the Incorporation of n-3 and n-6 Fatty Acids into Red Blood Cells
Nutrients 2014, 6(5), 1956-1970; doi:10.3390/nu6051956
Received: 28 February 2014 / Revised: 23 April 2014 / Accepted: 30 April 2014 / Published: 14 May 2014
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (241 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The present randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, parallel-groups clinical trial examined the effects of fish oil and multivitamin supplementation on the incorporation of n-3 and n-6 fatty acids into red blood cells. Healthy adult humans (n = 160) were randomized to [...] Read more.
The present randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, parallel-groups clinical trial examined the effects of fish oil and multivitamin supplementation on the incorporation of n-3 and n-6 fatty acids into red blood cells. Healthy adult humans (n = 160) were randomized to receive 6 g of fish oil, 6 g of fish oil plus a multivitamin, 3 g of fish oil plus a multivitamin or a placebo daily for 16 weeks. Treatment with 6 g of fish oil, with or without a daily multivitamin, led to higher eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) composition at endpoint. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) composition was unchanged following treatment. The long chain LC n-3 PUFA index was only higher, compared to placebo, in the group receiving the combination of 6 g of fish oil and the multivitamin. Analysis by gender revealed that all treatments increased EPA incorporation in females while, in males, EPA was only significantly increased by the 6 g fish oil multivitamin combination. There was considerable individual variability in the red blood cell incorporation of EPA and DHA at endpoint. Gender contributed to a large proportion of this variability with females generally showing higher LC n-3 PUFA composition at endpoint. In conclusion, the incorporation of LC n-3 PUFA into red blood cells was influenced by dosage, the concurrent intake of vitamin/minerals and gender. Full article
Open AccessArticle Relationship between Erythrocyte Omega-3 Content and Obesity Is Gender Dependent
Nutrients 2014, 6(5), 1850-1860; doi:10.3390/nu6051850
Received: 20 March 2014 / Revised: 26 April 2014 / Accepted: 29 April 2014 / Published: 5 May 2014
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (343 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Epidemiological evidence of an inverse association between consumption of long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC n-3 PUFA) and obesity has been conflicting, even though studies in animal models of obesity and limited human trials suggest that LC n-3 PUFA consumption [...] Read more.
Epidemiological evidence of an inverse association between consumption of long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC n-3 PUFA) and obesity has been conflicting, even though studies in animal models of obesity and limited human trials suggest that LC n-3 PUFA consumption may contribute to weight loss. We used baseline data from a convenience sample of 476 adults (291 women, 185 men) participating in clinical trials at our Centre to explore relationships between erythrocyte levels of LC n-3 PUFA (a reliable indicator of habitual intake) and measures of adiposity, viz. body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC) and body fat (BF) assessed by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Means ± SD of assessments were BMI: 34 ± 7 and 31 ± 5 kg/m2; WC: 105 ± 16 and 110 ± 13 cm; BF: 48 ± 5 and 35% ± 6% in women and men respectively. Erythrocyte levels of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) were similar in men and women while docosapentaenoic acid (DPA) was higher and EPA + DHA (Omega-3 Index) slightly lower in men than in women. Both DHA and EPA + DHA correlated inversely with BMI, WC and BF in women while DPA correlated inversely with BF in men. Quartile distributions and curvilinear regression of the Omega-3 Index versus BMI revealed a steep rise of BMI in the lower range of the Omega-3 Index in women, but no association in men. Thus the results highlight important gender differences in relationships of specific LC n-3 PUFA in erythrocytes to markers of adiposity. If these reflect causal relationships between LC n-3 PUFA consumption and risk of obesity, gender specific targeted interventions should be considered. Full article
Open AccessArticle Detailed Distribution of Lipids in Greenshell™ Mussel (Perna canaliculus)
Nutrients 2014, 6(4), 1454-1474; doi:10.3390/nu6041454
Received: 25 February 2014 / Revised: 25 March 2014 / Accepted: 26 March 2014 / Published: 11 April 2014
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (261 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Greenshell™ mussels (GSM–Perna canaliculus) are a source of omega-3 (n-3) long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA). Farmed GSM are considered to be a sustainable source of LC-PUFA as they require no dietary inputs, gaining all of their oil by [...] Read more.
Greenshell™ mussels (GSM–Perna canaliculus) are a source of omega-3 (n-3) long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA). Farmed GSM are considered to be a sustainable source of LC-PUFA as they require no dietary inputs, gaining all of their oil by filter-feeding microorganisms from sea water. GSM oil is a high-value product, with a value as much as 1000 times that of fish oils. GSM oil has important health benefits, for example, anti-inflammatory activity. It also contains several minor lipid components that are not present in most fish oil products, and that have their own beneficial effects on human health. We have shown the lipid content of the female GSM (1.9 g/100 g ww) was significantly greater than that of the male (1.4 g/100 g ww). Compared with male GSM, female GSM contained more n-3 LC-PUFA, and stored a greater proportion of total lipid in the gonad and mantle. The higher lipid content in the female than the male GSM is most likely related to gamete production. This information will be useful to optimize extraction of oils from GSM, a local and sustainable source of n-3 LC-PUFA. Full article
Open AccessArticle Readily Available Sources of Long-Chain Omega-3 Oils: Is Farmed Australian Seafood a Better Source of the Good Oil than Wild-Caught Seafood?
Nutrients 2014, 6(3), 1063-1079; doi:10.3390/nu6031063
Received: 20 December 2013 / Revised: 24 January 2014 / Accepted: 19 February 2014 / Published: 11 March 2014
Cited by 15 | PDF Full-text (505 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Seafood consumption enhances intake of omega-3 long-chain (≥C20) polyunsaturated fatty acids (termed LC omega-3 oils). Humans biosynthesize only small amounts of LC-omega-3, so they are considered semi-essential nutrients in our diet. Concern has been raised that farmed fish now contain [...] Read more.
Seafood consumption enhances intake of omega-3 long-chain (≥C20) polyunsaturated fatty acids (termed LC omega-3 oils). Humans biosynthesize only small amounts of LC-omega-3, so they are considered semi-essential nutrients in our diet. Concern has been raised that farmed fish now contain lower LC omega-3 content than wild-harvested seafood due to the use of oil blending in diets fed to farmed fish. However, we observed that two major Australian farmed finfish species, Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) and barramundi (Lates calcifer), have higher oil and LC omega-3 content than the same or other species from the wild, and remain an excellent means to achieve substantial intake of LC omega-3 oils. Notwithstanding, LC omega-3 oil content has decreased in these two farmed species, due largely to replacing dietary fish oil with poultry oil. For Atlantic salmon, LC omega-3 content decreased ~30%–50% between 2002 and 2013, and the omega-3/omega-6 ratio also decreased (>5:1 to <1:1). Australian consumers increasingly seek their LC omega-3 from supplements, therefore a range of supplement products were compared. The development and future application of oilseeds containing LC omega-3 oils and their incorporation in aquafeeds would allow these health-benefitting oils to be maximized in farmed Australian seafood. Such advances can assist with preventative health care, fisheries management, aquaculture nutrition, an innovative feed/food industry and ultimately towards improved consumer health. Full article
Open AccessArticle Characterization of Oilseed Lipids from “DHA-Producing Camelina sativa”: A New Transformed Land Plant Containing Long-Chain Omega-3 Oils
Nutrients 2014, 6(2), 776-789; doi:10.3390/nu6020776
Received: 23 December 2013 / Revised: 28 January 2014 / Accepted: 10 February 2014 / Published: 21 February 2014
Cited by 14 | PDF Full-text (210 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
New and sustainable sources of long-chain (LC, ≥C20) omega-3 oils containing DHA (docosahexaenoic acid, 22:6ω3) are required to meet increasing demands. The lipid content of the oilseed of a novel transgenic, DHA-producing land plant, Camelina sativa, containing microalgal genes [...] Read more.
New and sustainable sources of long-chain (LC, ≥C20) omega-3 oils containing DHA (docosahexaenoic acid, 22:6ω3) are required to meet increasing demands. The lipid content of the oilseed of a novel transgenic, DHA-producing land plant, Camelina sativa, containing microalgal genes able to produce LC omega-3 oils, contained 36% lipid by weight with triacylglycerols (TAG) as the major lipid class in hexane extracts (96% of total lipid). Subsequent chloroform-methanol (CM) extraction recovered further lipid (~50% polar lipid, comprising glycolipids and phospholipids) and residual TAG. The main phospholipid species were phosphatidyl choline and phosphatidyl ethanolamine. The % DHA was: 6.8% (of total fatty acids) in the TAG-rich hexane extract and 4.2% in the polar lipid-rich CM extract. The relative level of ALA (α-linolenic acid, 18:3ω3) in DHA-camelina seed was higher than the control. Major sterols in both DHA- and control camelina seeds were: sitosterol, campesterol, cholesterol, brassicasterol and isofucosterol. C16–C22 fatty alcohols, including iso-branched and odd-chain alcohols were present, including high levels of iso-17:0, 17:0 and 19:0. Other alcohols present were: 16:0, iso-18:0, 18:0 and 18:1 and the proportions varied between the hexane and CM extracts. These iso-branched odd-chain fatty alcohols, to our knowledge, have not been previously reported. These components may be derived from wax esters, or free fatty alcohols. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview Does Consumption of LC Omega-3 PUFA Enhance Cognitive Performance in Healthy School-Aged Children and throughout Adulthood? Evidence from Clinical Trials
Nutrients 2014, 6(7), 2730-2758; doi:10.3390/nu6072730
Received: 3 April 2014 / Revised: 4 July 2014 / Accepted: 8 July 2014 / Published: 22 July 2014
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (262 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Long-chain (LC) omega-3 PUFA derived from marine sources may play an important role in cognitive performance throughout all life stages. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), the dominant omega-3 in the brain, is a major component of neuronal cell membranes and affects various neurological pathways [...] Read more.
Long-chain (LC) omega-3 PUFA derived from marine sources may play an important role in cognitive performance throughout all life stages. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), the dominant omega-3 in the brain, is a major component of neuronal cell membranes and affects various neurological pathways and processess. Despite its critical role in brain function, human’s capacity to synthesize DHA de novo is limited and its consumption through the diet is important. However, many individuals do not or rarely consume seafood. The aim of this review is to critically evaluate the current evidence from randomised controlled trials (RCT) in healthy school-aged children, younger and older adults to determine whether consumption of LC omega-3 PUFA improves cognitive performance and to make recommendations for future research. Current evidence suggests that consumption of LC omega-3 PUFA, particularly DHA, may enhance cognitive performance relating to learning, cognitive development, memory and speed of performing cognitive tasks. Those who habitually consume diets low in DHA, children with low literacy ability and malnourished and older adults with age-related cognitive decline and mild cognitive impairment seem to benefit most. However, study design limitations in many RCTs hamper firm conclusions. The measurement of a uniform biomarker, e.g., % DHA in red blood cells, is essential to establish baseline DHA-status, to determine targets for cognitive performance and to facilitate dosage recommendations. It is recommended that future studies be at least 16 weeks in duration, account for potential interaction effects of gender, age and apolipoprotein E genotype, include vegan/vegetarian populations, include measures of speed of cognitive performance and include brain imaging technologies as supportive information on working mechanisms of LC omega-3 PUFA. Full article
Open AccessReview DHA-Containing Oilseed: A Timely Solution for the Sustainability Issues Surrounding Fish Oil Sources of the Health-Benefitting Long-Chain Omega-3 Oils
Nutrients 2014, 6(5), 2035-2058; doi:10.3390/nu6052035
Received: 11 April 2014 / Revised: 8 May 2014 / Accepted: 15 May 2014 / Published: 22 May 2014
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (731 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Benefits of long-chain (≥C20) omega-3 oils (LC omega-3 oils) for reduction of the risk of a range of disorders are well documented. The benefits result from eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA); optimal intake levels of these bioactive fatty [...] Read more.
Benefits of long-chain (≥C20) omega-3 oils (LC omega-3 oils) for reduction of the risk of a range of disorders are well documented. The benefits result from eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA); optimal intake levels of these bioactive fatty acids for maintenance of normal health and prevention of diseases have been developed and adopted by national and international health agencies and science bodies. These developments have led to increased consumer demand for LC omega-3 oils and, coupled with increasing global population, will impact on future sustainable supply of fish. Seafood supply from aquaculture has risen over the past decades and it relies on harvest of wild catch fisheries also for its fish oil needs. Alternate sources of LC omega-3 oils are being pursued, including genetically modified soybean rich in shorter-chain stearidonic acid (SDA, 18:4ω3). However, neither oils from traditional oilseeds such as linseed, nor the SDA soybean oil have shown efficient conversion to DHA. A recent breakthrough has seen the demonstration of a land plant-based oil enriched in DHA, and with omega-6 PUFA levels close to that occurring in marine sources of EPA and DHA. We review alternative sources of DHA supply with emphasis on the need for land plant oils containing EPA and DHA. Full article
Open AccessReview Omega-3 Index and Cardiovascular Health
Nutrients 2014, 6(2), 799-814; doi:10.3390/nu6020799
Received: 20 January 2014 / Revised: 12 February 2014 / Accepted: 13 February 2014 / Published: 21 February 2014
Cited by 25 | PDF Full-text (216 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Recent large trials with eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in the cardiovascular field did not demonstrate a beneficial effect in terms of reductions of clinical endpoints like total mortality, sudden cardiac arrest or other major adverse cardiac events. Pertinent guidelines [...] Read more.
Recent large trials with eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in the cardiovascular field did not demonstrate a beneficial effect in terms of reductions of clinical endpoints like total mortality, sudden cardiac arrest or other major adverse cardiac events. Pertinent guidelines do not uniformly recommend EPA + DHA for cardiac patients. In contrast, in epidemiologic findings, higher blood levels of EPA + DHA were consistently associated with a lower risk for the endpoints mentioned. Because of low biological and analytical variability, a standardized analytical procedure, a large database and for other reasons, blood levels of EPA + DHA are frequently assessed in erythrocytes, using the HS-Omega-3 Index® methodology. A low Omega-3 Index fulfills the current criteria for a novel cardiovascular risk factor. Neutral results of intervention trials can be explained by issues of bioavailability and trial design that surfaced after the trials were initiated. In the future, incorporating the Omega-3 Index into trial designs by recruiting participants with a low Omega-3 Index and treating them within a pre-specified target range (e.g., 8%–11%), will make more efficient trials possible and provide clearer answers to the questions asked than previously possible. Full article

Other

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Open AccessCommentary Recent Advances in Omega-3: Health Benefits, Sources, Products and Bioavailability
Nutrients 2014, 6(9), 3727-3733; doi:10.3390/nu6093727
Received: 8 April 2014 / Revised: 8 September 2014 / Accepted: 9 September 2014 / Published: 16 September 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (331 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The joint symposium of The Omega-3 Centre and the Australasian Section American Oil Chemists Society; Recent Advances in Omega-3: Health Benefits, Sources, Products and Bioavailability, was held November 7, 2013 in Newcastle, NSW, Australia. Over 115 attendees received new information on a [...] Read more.
The joint symposium of The Omega-3 Centre and the Australasian Section American Oil Chemists Society; Recent Advances in Omega-3: Health Benefits, Sources, Products and Bioavailability, was held November 7, 2013 in Newcastle, NSW, Australia. Over 115 attendees received new information on a range of health benefits, aquaculture as a sustainable source of supply, and current and potential new and novel sources of these essential omega-3 long-chain (LC, ≥C20) polyunsaturated fatty acid nutrients (also termed LC omega-3). The theme of “Food versus Fuel” was an inspired way to present a vast array of emerging and ground breaking Omega-3 research that has application across many disciplines. Eleven papers submitted following from the Omega-3 Symposium are published in this Special Issue volume, with topics covered including: an update on the use of the Omega-3 Index (O3I), the effects of dosage and concurrent intake of vitamins/minerals on omega-3 incorporation into red blood cells, the possible use of the O3I as a measure of risk for adiposity, the need for and progress with new land plant sources of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6ω3), the current status of farmed Australian and New Zealand fish, and also supplements, in terms of their LC omega-3 and persistent organic pollutants (POP) content, progress with cheap carbon sources in the culture of DHA-producing single cell organisms, a detailed examination of the lipids of the New Zealand Greenshell mussel, and a pilot investigation of the purification of New Zealand hoki liver oil by short path distillation. The selection of papers in this Special Issue collectively highlights a range of forward looking and also new and including positive scientific outcomes occurring in the omega-3 field. Full article

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