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Looking for the good sides of herring

NORWAY - New research is underway to look for components in fish that have positive health effects. Initially, the scientists are interested in the roe and milt from herring.

It is a known fact that food from the sea is healthy, but a lot of research is still necessary to find out which components in seafood have positive health effects.

Herring milt can contain components that are important to our health.

Fiskeriforskning's Department in Bergen, in collaboration with the University of Bergen, will look for components in herring roe and milt that are favourable for the health. The goal is that the information will be beneficial in the form of healthier foods and new medicine.

Need more information

A substantial part of the research work consists of developing processes to extract the components that will be tested.

"Roe and milt were initially chosen because they have a high content of interesting components. We're going to study fatty substances, proteins and water-soluble components", says Scientist and Project Manager Svein Are Mjøs at Fiskeriforskning.

"This research gives us useful information about marine raw materials in general. Together with the medical community at Haukeland University Hospital, we also acquire good information about health effects."

Many studies have documented the prophylactic effect on several diseases. But we have little knowledge about the reasons for the medicinal effects, and today only one product based on fish oil is registered as a medicine in Norway.

More than fish fat

The scientists are studying herring roe.

Several studies have documented that the positive health effects from seafood cannot be explained by ingestion of fish fat alone. Studies also indicate that components with positive health effects are removed through various production processes, such as heat treatment and refining.

"Exact knowledge about how different substances produce health effects opens new possibilities for preparing foods and medicines based on marine ingredients", says Mjøs.

Initially, the work will establish processes to find interesting components. In Phase II, the effect of these will be tested on cells and animals.

The project is financed by the Norwegian Fishermen's Sales Organisation for Pelagic Fish.