February 26, 2009

Nextgen Omega 3: cell factories

On my way home from Halifax on Saturday, I stopped at a cafe in Kentville and a headline in the business section of Saturday paper a caught my eye "Biotech firm eyes algae as growth area"
The company, Ocean Nutrition Canada (ONC) is the largest omega 3 fish oil producer in the world with 50 research scientists in its Halifax facility. Meg 3 can be found as a supplement in numerous foods form orange juice to bread. Its revolutionary "microencapsulaion" technology keep the fish from the tastebuds. The omega is sourced from anchovies harvested off the Peruvean coast - but the company is planning to source the omega 3 and other nutrients directly from microorganisms using the cell as a factory microfermentation. They have a patent on a marine fungoid which they intend to use as "cell-factories for the production of co-enzyme Q10, via the genetic manipulation of involved metabolic pathways for optimized commercial production". See the statement from Principal Research Scientist Metabolic Engineering & Fermentations at ONC.
Interesting that the same scientist is also the cofounder of biohydrogen, whose goal is to use cell factories to synthesize hydrogen.

The extensive list of food products containing meg 3 from ONC can be found in this PDF: The Truth about Omega 3.

To read more on the future of extreme genetic engineering (Synthetic Biology), see The ETC Group's excellent report on Synthetic Biology


Oakwose said...

A great blog and I have been enjoying your 'political greenery' for the past week or so. We are on the other side of the planet (near Dubai) working hard and dreaming of buying our own small farm this summer in Nova Scotia. Permaculture is the aim and looking forward to learning from your blog as we move toward our dream goal - August I hope. Spring is here: 28 degrees today. We get up to above 50 in the summer. :-)

anne said...

Well that be quite a change!
Its a good time to buy a farm here in Nova Scotia...prices are down and there are quite a few to choose. Contact me if you like - nanojamb at gmail.