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  • By Lynda Kiernan-Stone, Global AgInvesting Media

Australia’s Nuseed on Pace to Commercialize Canola Containing DHA Oil

As the ocean is proving to be insufficient in providing the needed supply of omega3 fish oil, companies around the world are racing to develop canola that contains long chain, omega3 fatty acids.

“If everyone followed the World Health Organization’s recommendation about intake of long-chain omega 3, we would already exceed the ocean’s capacity to produce this stuff,” said James Petrie, research scientist with the Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO).

Australia’s Nuseed is currently working in partnership with CSIRO and the Australian Gains Research & Development Corp. on a $50 million project developing canola that contains healthy fish oil, or long chain, omega3 fatty acids.

Nuseed is not alone in this endeavor. Dow AgroSciences and Cargill are also in a partnership with BASF to develop varieties of canola that contain both eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), with Cargill conducting field trials of its Omega3 canola in the U.S. last year.

Before beginning the Omega3 project, CSIRO considered various crops, but decided on canola due to its healthy oil content, high oil yield compared to other oilseeds, and ability to be grown in a wide variety of areas of the world.

The Omega3 canola was created by inserting seven to eight genes taken from marine algae in southern oceans into the genetic makeup of the plant. In field trials currently being conducted, one acre of Nuseed canola can produce the equivalent docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) as 4,000 one-kilogram fish. The positive results of the initial field trials, and the high sustainability of the project are giving scientists reason to be ‘cautiously optimistic’ that the project will cause the public to be more accepting of genetically modified crops.

Nuseed is expected to have a product commercialized in Australia before the end of this decade, and to then expand into the U.S. and Canadian markets.

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