Canola plant to produce Omega-3: research

Melbourne: An Australian research organisation is hoping to use gene technology to develop a canola plant that is naturally rich in long-chain Omega-3.

Long-chain Omega-3 is a nutrient which is useful in maintaining heart and brain health and is traditionally obtained from fish oils, but declining fish stocks mean the supply is limited.

Now, USD 50 million alliance with Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), will take the genes that produce Omega 3 from microscopic algae in the oceans and insert them into canola plants, according to a report by ABC on Tuesday. The CSIRO`s Bruce Lee was quoted as saying that the research alliance hopes to be trialling the new canola in the next two years.

"What we are trying to do is to produce an alternative source of long-chain Omega-3 that is sustainable,"he said adding "That will be in canola, and it will be a consistent supply that we can either use directly in supplements or that we can feed in aqua-feeds to the growing aquaculture industry of the world."

Lee said the research alliance is hoping the new canola variety will be commercially available by 2016. "What we are trying to achieve with this is to provide an alternative source for consumers. They can either take these directly from canola as supplements, the oils, or we can feed the canola meal to fish in aquaculture and then as consumers we would consume the fish and have an alternate source of Omega-3," he added.