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By Fiskeriforskning - Heads and trimmings from salmon can be processed into healthy oil.

Tests at Fiskeriforskning have shown that cold-pressed salmon oil is good for the cholesterol level.

The remains from fillet production can become new products.The remains from fillet production can become new products.

The amount of trimmings is increasing in line with increased processing of salmon.

Trimmings are becoming increasingly interesting as raw materials for various products, and this is the background for a project where heads and backbones from salmon are being used for production of oil.

Better cholesterol

Tests show that consumption of raw salmon oil produced by gentle cold pressing increases the level of good cholesterol in the blood, so-called HDL cholesterol.

If the oils are purified by traditional refining, this positive health effect is lost.

Oil produced from heads and backbones of salmon.

The oils were fed to pigs, which are often used in experiments because their heart and circulatory system are very similar to those of humans.

Two types of raw oils were produced in the tests: One in a traditional process, where the raw materials are heated up to almost 90 degrees Celsius to extract the oil.

The other used cold pressing, where the temperature is 40 degrees Celsius and the production process is gentle.

Many positive effects

"In addition to the effect on HDL cholesterol, there were other positive health effects of cold-pressed oil. The components in the oil that are responsible for these positive effects are lost during refining", explains Senior Scientist Jan Pettersen at Fiskeriforskning's department in Bergen.

Earlier tests have shown that cold-pressed raw oil from whales, as opposed to refined oil, has positive effects on the human immune system.

Interest from the industry

The next step will be to see how the results can be used. One possibility is to refine the oil such that it can be used as a dietary supplement.

Another is to map the components that are responsible for the favourable effects, and remove these from the oil such that they become products in themselves.

"We're going to study this more closely. Industrial companies have also shown their interest", says Pettersen.

The project is financed by Stiftelsen RUBIN - Foundation for Recirculation and Exploitation of Organic By-products in Norway.

March 2007

the Fish Site Editor

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