Use of terrestrial based lipids in aquaculture feeds and the effects on flesh organohalogen and fatty acid concentrations in farmed Atlantic salmon

Environ Sci Technol. 2008 May 15;42(10):3519-23. doi: 10.1021/es0714843.


Consumption of salmon, wild or farmed, has been encouraged by many scientists and by national and international health organizations due to the potential health benefits associated with their high contents of omega-3 (n-3) highly unsaturated fatty acids (n-3 HUFAs). In 2004, there was increased public concern regarding the safety of farmed Atlantic salmon following the publication of several studies that indicated higher levels of organohalogens in their flesh relative to those noted in the flesh of wild Pacific salmon. Farmed salmon obtain most of these contaminants from the consumption of marine fish oil (MFO) present in salmon feed. In both a laboratory feeding trial and an on-farm field study, partial replacement of MFO in aquaculture feeds with economical and abundant lipids of terrestrial origin resulted in farmed Atlantic salmon with reduced flesh polychlorinated biphenyl and polychlorinated dibenzodioxin and furan concentrations. Flesh levels of n-3 HUFAs (g/(100 g serving)) were lower in farmed Atlantic salmon fed diets with alternative lipids relative to farmed salmon fed more traditional MFO-based diets. However, the former salmon were found to have higher flesh levels of n-3 HUFAs and also similar or lower flesh levels of organic contaminants than some species of market-size wild Pacific salmon. These findings showthat consumption of either farmed Atlantic salmon or wild Pacific salmon can meet recommended weekly n-3 HUFA levels with minimal concurrent intake of flesh organohalogens.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animal Feed*
  • Animals
  • Aquaculture*
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism*
  • Halogens / analysis
  • Halogens / metabolism*
  • Salmon / metabolism*


  • Fatty Acids
  • Halogens