Olympic Seafood begins krill lipid research partnership

By Nathan Gray

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Krill oil Fatty acid

Norwegian krill ingredient supplier Olympic Seafood AS has kicked off a new research partnership to investigate the fundamental science behind krill phospholipids.

The 6m krone partnership (worth approximately €800,000) will see Olympic Seafood partner with Nofima AS and the Technical University of Denmark, to begin a joint research project on the properties of phospholipids found in krill oil.

Olympic said the research –funded half by the firm and half by the Norweigen Research Council – will be an important step towards developing new industry standards for the evaluation of marine phospholipids quality in nutraceutical applications.

“The problem is that the methods developed for assessing oxidation in marine oils (such as fish oil) do not work for krill oil. For example, we see that peroxide value does not increase in krill oil despite the fact the oil has exposed to air for a long period of time,”​ said Dr. Inge Bruheim, research director at Olympic Seafood AS.

“Our efforts will help standardise the methods for evaluating phospholipid bound omega-3 fatty acid quality, which is important for customers so they get piece of mind their products are of the highest quality,”​ said Bruheim.

Even Remoy, sales and marketing manager for Olympic Seafood said the company are “investing a lot in bringing krill oil to a higher level of quality.”

Oxidation issues

Speaking with NutraIngredients, Bruheim explained that there have been major problems with the oxidation of omega-3 rich oils in the past.

“A lot of the krill and fish oil on the market is oxidised,”​ he revealed. Noting that whilst the fish oil industry has worked hard to find markers of oxidation and create quality control mechanisms, the different way in which krill oil oxidizes means that many of the methods are not directly transferable.

He noted that the peroxides in krill oil seem to react ‘much quicker’ than in other omega-3-rich oils, meaning that the methods for assessing oxidation are not useful as they are not sensitive enough 

“We need to find new methods to assess the oxidation directly in krill oil,”​ Bruheim told us – noting that very little is currently known about the exact characteristics of phospholipid oxidation.

To try and solve this problem, he explained that researchers at the Technical University of Denmark will first investigate the fundamental behaviours of phospholipids – including their oxidation mechanisms.

Olympic and Nofima will then work with the university to develop technologies that will implement the discoveries into screening and production processes.

New standards

By understanding the oxidation process in krill phospholipids, he believes the company can help to establish recognised methods for assessing the oxidative quality of krill oil.

Bruheim said that if the project results in the publication of research that scientifically demonstrates how krill oil is oxidised, then he fully expects other members of the krill oil industry to adopt any quality assessment methods.

Any better understanding will also aid the firm in creating higher quality products, said Remoy.

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