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CBNU Develops Omega-3 Mass Production Technology 

proffice (proffice) 2017/06/26 13:56:24
CBNU Develops Omega-3 Mass Production Technology

Widely used as a nutritional supplement, omega-3 fatty acid (also known as omega-3) has been extracted mostly from fish oil. However, fish-based omega-3 is subject to oxidation when refined, and a lot of marine life is at high risk of heavy metal contamination due to the water pollution.

Krill used to be the only source of omega-3 that contained astaxanthin. Astaxanthin is an antioxidant 300 times more powerful than vitamins A and E, 47 times more powerful than lutein, which is good for eye health, and 34 times more powerful than CoQ10, well known as a functional health substance.

Unfortunately, there is a restriction on krill fishing, as the shrimp-like animal living in the Antarctic Ocean is at the lowest on the food chain of the marine ecosystem. Thus, researchers have been looking for natural candidate substances that can replace it.

Professor Seung-Moon Park (Dept. of Biotechnology)’s team recently discovered a way to easily extract and mass-produce astaxanthin-containing DHA (docosahexaenoic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid that is a primary structural component of the human body, such as of the brain, cerebral cortex, skin, and retina) from the marine plant ‘schizochytrium.’

Schizochytrium oil contains not only a large amount of DHA, astaxanthin and phospholipids, but also some beta-carotenoids such as beta-carotene and canthaxanthin found in vegetables. It is anticipated to be a much more sustainable resource than krill oil because it can be produced without contamination.

The microalgae oil can be commercialized immediately because it has been approved as a “GRAS” (generally recognized as safe) food ingredient by the US FDA and KFDA, securing its stability.

Studies have shown significant clinical data on the blood lipid regulation and anti-inflammatory effects of schizochytrium omega-3, and some have reported that it is particularly effective in preventing gynecologic cancers.

According to research published in the journal Nutrafoods in 2013, natural astaxanthin from microalgae has the effect of increasing the efficacy of krill oil when added to krill oil because the molecular structure can pass through the cell membrane.

The spawns obtained this time will be transferred to Astabio corporation, located in the CBNU LED Agri-bio Fusion Technology Research Center, for the actual production of DHA with astaxanthin.

This research was made possible by the support from the Rural Development Administration of Korea and Jeollabuk-do Province with the collaboration from Dr. Jeong-Woo Seo of the Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology.



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