‘T-free’: Krill player backs odourless form in 'fishy smell' assault

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

'More brands are asking to be T-free and we guarantee that...' ©iStock/DavidCarillet
'More brands are asking to be T-free and we guarantee that...' ©iStock/DavidCarillet

Related tags: Docosahexaenoic acid, Krill, Eicosapentaenoic acid

Enzymotec is backing a krill form using a patent-pending process it says makes it free of a component that contributes to the ‘fishy smell’ that can plague marine oils.

Avner Avissara, marketing and sales VP in the Israeli krill player’s nutrition division, told us its K-Real offering was free of both fishy smell-provoking trimethylamine (TMA) and trimethylamine-oxide (TMAO), which has been linked to heart problems.

“More brands are asking to be T-free and we guarantee that – they see the value in that even if consumers know little about it,” ​he said.

While it was impossible to completely eliminate the potential for krill oxidation and associated fishy smell over the shelf life of a supplement “the reduced smell is significant”.

“We had smell samples last year at Vitafoods and the difference was substantial. We have set the standard in the industry.”

He said some versions of krill on-market contained 40-50 times as much TMA and TMAO as Enzymotec’s.

Trimethylamine  in the law

Enzymotec wants to see TMA and TMAO limits imposed by regulators and has been lobbying bodies like the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as well as regulators in Asia and the European Union.

“The link to heart health is growing and there will be a time when regulators and the market will pay a lot more attention to it than now. We are T-free and prepared if the FDA or the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) comes with enforcement. We are in discussions with them about some of this.”

TMAO breaks down into TMA over time in marine oils like krill and fish.

Avissara said his firm’s patent-pending MSO 2.0 extraction process did increase the cost of the nutrient but did not specify by how much, noting pricing varied due to grade of krill and volume of order.

heart cardiovascular iStock  yodiyim
©iStock/yodiyim

The US market was by far the biggest in a global picture sitting at an estimated €150m+ for human-use krill products – about 800 metric tonnes – followed by Asia-Pacific and Europe, where Germany was its most dynamic end-point.

“We have a special European grade so clients can use the EU-approved omega-3 claims ​[250 mg of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) per day] for normal heart health that is also low in sodium to make low-sodium claims,” ​Avissara said. That claim is here​.

Other EU-approved omega-3 claims exist for infant brain and eye development.

The Antarctic

Enzymotec sources from multiple sustainably-certified craft in the Antarctic krill fishery, which he said guaranteed its supply. It had no intention of moving down the supply chain with a ship of its own in the tightly managed fishery​ which is monitored by the likes of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), Friend of the Sea (FOS) and the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).

krill omega 3 fish sea biomass marine iStock.com Andrea Izzotti
An Antarctic krill swarm. ©iStock/AndreaIzzotti

“Not being single source we are more flexible,” ​he said of its multifarious supply arrangements. “We trust our suppliers. We are not a fishing company – we are a tech company. A good restaurant doesn’t have to grow its own tomatoes and rear cattle after all.”

Enzymotec sits in the top echelon of krill suppliers with Aker BioMarine in Norway and Neptune Wellness Solutions in Canada.

95% of harvested krill is used in feed applications.

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