Scientists are trying to find a new way to produce the nutritional fatty acids called Omega 3 that are currently sourced from fish oil from the world’s declining natural fish stocks.
In a groundbreaking branch of new science – synthetic biology – the team at The University of Nottingham’s Synthetic Biology Research Centre are working with biotechnology company CHAIN Biotech and industry partner Calysta, Inc. to develop microbial technology that uses microorganisms to ferment methane gas into valuable nutritional supplements.
The pioneering project is called PUFA (polyunsaturated fatty acids). It will run for a year and is being funded by industrial biotechnology catalyst grants from InnovateUK and the BBSRC with potential further significant scaling up investment from Calysta, a sustainable nutrition company based in the US.
Omega 3 fatty acids are essential for the growth, development and healthy maintenance of the brain and are incorporated in many kinds of foods and infant nutrition products as well as animal feed and health products. Currently Omega 3 fatty acids are sourced from fish oils, but wild fish stocks are under pressure and there is an urgency to find alternative sources that are both sustainable and economical.