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Regulatory breakthrough for plant-based omega-3s

In a world first, Australia has decided to allow the use of a strain of GM canola that produces long chain omega-3s for a number of applications, including in aquafeeds.

Developed by Nuseed Pty Ltd, in collaboration with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), this omega-3 canola is the world’s first plant-based source of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids.

It is anticipated that one hectare of Nuseed’s omega-3 canola has the potential to provide the omega-3 yield from 10,000 kilograms of wild caught fish.

Harvesting the Nuseed canola, which is high in levels of DHA, in a field trial
Harvesting the Nuseed canola, which is high in levels of DHA, in a field trial

© Nuseed

The Australian Office of Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR) announced that Nuseed’s omega-3 canola has been approved for cultivation and use in animal feed. Food uses of the omega-3 canola have been reviewed by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), with approval granted for sale and use in food in Australia and New Zealand.   

Long-chain omega-3 DHA and EPA are essential for human and fish health.  This new proprietary product aims to help relieve pressure on wild fish stocks, which are the current source for this important nutrient.  By providing a proven land-based source of these oils, Nuseed will help maintain adequate supply to meet increasing global demand for long chain omega-3s. 

Nufarm Managing Director and CEO, Greg Hunt, said the Australian approval represents a very significant milestone in the project and validates the quality of the product and extensive data which supported the regulatory application, as well as other applications lodged last year in North America.

“The Nuseed project team, and our collaboration partners, have met a major objective in bringing pioneering technology from concept stage to first approval in a relatively short period and are to be congratulated on this milestone.”

Nuseed Global General Manager Innovation and Strategy Andy Thomas, said that in Australia the balance of 2018 will focus on continued research activities relating to further field trials. In the US, the company has received approval for a significant scale-up of pre-commercial production under the USDA notification scheme, with planting scheduled to take place in April/May in Montana.

“We remain on track with our plan to commence commercialisation in 2019, with production programs planned in the US (pending US approval).”

“Importantly, today’s approval also facilitates additional regulatory applications in other markets that recognise Australia as a reference country. We will soon be lodging submissions in Asia, which is a large and growing market over coming months, particularly in relation to omega-3 nutraceuticals.”

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The growth story 
of Nireus, Greece

Like all Mediterranean producers, Nireus has a strong need to market their product as fresh, affordable and high quality fish, with traceability as an important asset. Building a stable future for the company on both technical and business knowledge, Nireus realizes that a healthy economy in aquaculture can only be built on healthy fish.

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The company plans to initially commercialise omega-3 oil – branded as Aquaterra – for aquaculture feed uses, followed by Nutriterra for human nutrition applications. The unique profile of the Nuseed oil ensures that it will easily fit with current market practices and meet the needs of multiple end-market applications on a commercially viable basis.

Rob Fletcher

Rob Fletcher

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