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Equateq opens super omega-3 factory in Scotland

By Alex McNally , 25-Sep-2007

A production and research facility able to make super-pure fatty acid concentrates for the nutrition industry has officially opened in the Western Isles of Scotland with the potential to offer gold standard omega-3.

The family run facility is owned by Equateq uses two types of techniques to extract purities. One method can produce high concentrates of marine or botanical oils without altering the structure of the fatty acid. The site is owned by Adam Kelliher and his wife Cathra Kellier. The site will be focusing on quality not quantity when it comes to producing fatty acids. It will be able to offer a tailored quantity and provide valuable help for companies looking to fortify foods to meet increasing industry demand for good quality omega-3's.


Food companies have been looking to add the benefits of omega-3 into their products. Already, Premier Foods has brought out a line of baked beans filling this category, and Dairy Crest is due to launch a second enhanced spread. Omega-3 from fish oil is a rich source of EPA and DHA for the 50-80 million European consumers who use omega-3s to maintain heart health, brain health and overall wellness. Kelliher was also behind omega-3 business Equazen which he sold last year to Swiss pharma company Galenica.


According to the latest Frost and Sullivan figures the European omega-3 market was worth around €160m (£108m) in 2004 - and is expected to grow at around 8 per cent a year until 2010. One of Equateq's core processes is low temperature crystallization (LTC) which is "pretty unique" for omega-3 production, Kelliher explained.


He said: "LTC allows us to scoop-off saturated and monosaturated leaving behind the polyunsaturated. What this means is that we that what is left is in a natural state", Kelliher said. "It means we can say: 'What do you want? We can make it for you'.


"A lot of the big players are moving in on omega-3. There have been a lot of improvements in processing, to make it more palatable and less "fishy" in foods. It is a lot different now than when I first started. "Other offerings on the market might be of a combination of EPA 18 per cent to DHA 12 per cent, but we can offer higher doses."


The second production capability the facility offers is high performance liquid chromatography(HPLC), which is able to produce up to 99 per cent EPA/DHA for use in the pharmaceutical industry. The facility also boasts the most comprehensive fatty acid archives in the world, and holds some 45,000 papers and publications, many of which gathered by Cathra Kellier's father David Horrobin. The library is dedicated to him.


The site Equateq have taken over was built by the late Dr Horrobin, who founded Scotia Pharmaceuticals.

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