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Norwegian Scientists Investigate Potential of Omega 3 from Bacteria

Lucy Towers
03 October 2014, at 1:00am

NORWAY - Access to omega 3 sources in fish feed is a limiting factor for growth in aquaculture. Researchers from SINTEF and NTNU will now explore the potential of using bacteria as a "production machine" for the beneficial fatty acids.

Both microalgae and bacteria have high protein content and can be grown in a sustainable manner. In the MIRA project researchers want to combine the algal composition with bacterial efficiency.

Microalgae have a favourable composition of fatty acids, but high density cultivation is challenging. Bacteria lack the beneficial fatty acids EPA and DHA, but are easy to mass produce.

The project aim is to introduce the metabolic properties of EPA/DHA synthesis from algae into the bacterium Rhodococcus opacus, using biotechnological tools.

If bacteria can produce EPA/DHA, these oils could be extracted and used in fish-feed.

The researchers also want to look at how the production of microalgae can be made more efficient by getting the algae to harvest light energy more efficiently.