Co-ordinated by Norwegian aquaculture, fisheries and food industries research group Nofima, the new centre will focus on developing high-quality omega-3 lipids and formulated products in diets for humans and fish in order to achieve the best health promoting effects.
Nofima’s marketing manager Anders Tromborg told NutraIngredients.com:
“By developing new documentation and novel sets of specifications/standards for high quality omega-3 oils, the sectors will have a powerful tool for leveling up their business and create value from the range of new possible applications the fast growing omega-3 market is bringing.”
Nofima senior scientist Bente Ruyter added: “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.”
Research shows that omega-3 can contribute to the prevention of cardiovascular diseases and is increasingly being linked to the prevention of other diseases such as cancer and conditions such as osteoporosis and mental disorders.
The European market for omega-3 ingredients is estimated to be growing at up to 30 percent each year reaching a total value of NOK 6.5bn by 2014.
“This tremendous demand represents a huge potential for added value and innovation for both the Norwegian aquaculture industry and Norwegian biomarine industry,” according to Nofima.
Norway is a leading producer of salmon which are important sources of the omega-3s EPA and DHA to global consumers. “It is crucial to future innovation, continued growth and value creation within the aquaculture sector that the quality of the limited volumes of marine lipids meets the highest standards,” said Tromborg.
The quality of the lipids found in the flesh of the fish is a direct result of the quality fed and hence will have direct impact on the healthy image of salmon. How the aquaculture sector handle marine lipid utilisation is also linked to the overall sustainability and the future image of the sector.
Administered by the Norwegian Research Council's Division for Innovation, the research centre will operate for at least eight years on annual funding of € 2.5m/year. It’s progress will be reviewed after five and three years.
Academic organizations supporting this project include: Ålesund University College, University of Bergen, Stockholm University, Purdue University (Indiana, USA) and Oslo University Hospital.
Industry partners include: Pronova Biopharma, Epax, Denomega Nutritional Oils, Marine Harvest Ingredients, Omegatri, Napro Pharma, Axellus, Nordlaks Produkter, G.O. Johnsen and Gea Westfalia Separator Norway.
The council is expected to confirm the project in mid December this year.