Towards sustainable sources for omega-3 fatty acids production

Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2014 Apr:26:14-8. doi: 10.1016/j.copbio.2013.08.003. Epub 2013 Sep 3.


Omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docohexaenoic acid (DHA), provide significant health benefits for brain function/development and cardiovascular conditions. However, most EPA and DHA for human consumption is sourced from small fatty fish caught in coastal waters and, with depleting global fish stocks, recent research has been directed towards more sustainable sources. These include aquaculture with plant-based feeds, krill, marine microalgae, microalgae-like protists and genetically-modified plants. To meet the increasing demand for EPA and DHA, further developments are needed towards land-based sources. In particular large-scale cultivation of microalgae and plants is likely to become a reality with expected reductions in production costs, yield increasese and the adequate addressing of genetically modified food acceptance issues.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aquaculture / statistics & numerical data
  • Conservation of Natural Resources / methods*
  • Dietary Supplements / supply & distribution
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / biosynthesis
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / supply & distribution
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid / biosynthesis
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid / supply & distribution
  • Euphausiacea / metabolism
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / biosynthesis
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / supply & distribution*
  • Functional Food / supply & distribution
  • Humans
  • Microalgae / metabolism
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / genetics
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / metabolism


  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid