The trade association announced it has funded a grant to Purdue University to establish the International Omega-3 Learning and Education Consortium for Health and Medicine - the long term purpose of which is to grow the market for omega-3s. At issue is the type of omega-3s on the market and how they are advertised. Currently, all finished products containing EPA, DHA or ALA can claim to be sources of omega-3 fatty acids, despite the fact EPA and DHA have been found to be significantly more bioavailable than ALA. As such, GOED's mandate is to make sure accurate information on EPA and DHA makes its way to consumers, health professionals, educators, scientists and regulators. The Purdue-run consortium will take charge of this informative aspect, while GOED will look towards tackling government bodies. "It's a resource for those individuals on the science behind EPA and DHA," GOED executive director Adam Ismail told NutraIngredients-USA. "Whereas, we are focussed on regulatory issues." As part of the project, the Purdue consortium will develop a website as well as outreach programs and educational materials. The scientists involved are trying to recruit researchers from other universities as well. The end result is projected to be that the information delivered to consumers and health professionals alike will be both accessible and accurate. "All the information they present will have been critically reviewed by scientists," said Ismail. A more long-term goal of the consortium is to provide scholarships and fellowships for research into the omega-3s. EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) are derived from marine sources such as oily fish, and DHA can also be derived from microalgae. ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) is derived from plant sources such as flaxseed. . The shorter long-chain omega-3 fatty acid ALA is a precursor to DHA, and has to be converted by the body before it can be used. While EPA and DHA are 20- and 22-chain chain carbons respectively, ALA is an 18-carbon. Some of the cognitive, heart health and antioxidant benefits are lost in the conversion process elongating ALA's carbon chain. The trade association was formed out of the dissolution of the Council for Responsible Nutrition's omega-3 working group. The founding member companies were: Cargill, Ceres Consulting, Croda, Denomega, EPAX, Loders, Lonza/Nutranova, Marine Nutraceuticals, Martek Biosciences, Napro Pharma AS, Ocean Nutrition Canada and Omega Pure.