Genetically modified plants are an alternative to oily fish for providing n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in the human diet: A summary of the findings of a Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council funded project

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

West, A. L., Miles, E. A., Lillicrop, K. A., Napier, J. A., Calder, P. C. and Burdge, G. C. 2020. Genetically modified plants are an alternative to oily fish for providing n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in the human diet: A summary of the findings of a Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council funded project. Nutrition Bulletin. https://doi.org/10.1111/nbu.12478

AuthorsWest, A. L., Miles, E. A., Lillicrop, K. A., Napier, J. A., Calder, P. C. and Burdge, G. C.
Abstract

The n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) present primarily in oily fish, namely eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are important components of cell membranes that are needed for normal development and cell function. Humans have very limited capacity for EPA and DHA synthesis from alinolenic acid and so they must be obtained pre-formed from the diet. However, perceived unpalatability of oily fish and fish oil concerns about contamination with environmental pollutants, dietary choices that exclude fish and animal products, and price limit the effectiveness of recommendations for EPA and DHA intakes. Moreover, marine sources of EPA and DHA are diminishing in the face of increasing demands. Therefore, an alternative source of EPA and DHA is needed that is broadly acceptable, can be upscaled and is sustainable. This review discusses these challenges and, using findings from recent nutritional trials, explains how they may be overcome by seed oils from transgenic plants engineered to produce EPA and DHA. Trials in healthy men and women assessed the acute uptake and appearance in blood over 8 hours of EPA and DHA from transgenic Camelina sativa compared to fish oil, and the incorporation of these PUFA into blood lipids after dietary supplementation. The findings showed that postprandial EPA and DHA incorporation into blood lipids and accumulation in plasma lipids after dietary supplementation was as good as that achieved with fish oil. The oil derived from this transgenic plant was well tolerated. This review also discusses the implications for human nutrition, marine ecology and agriculture.

KeywordsHuman diet; Nutrition; Omega-3 fatty acids; Polyunsaturates; Transgenic plant
Year of Publication2020
JournalNutrition Bulletin
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1111/nbu.12478
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Funder project or codeCan oils derived from genetically-modified plants replace fish oil as a source of long chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in the human diet?
BB/N014081/1
Publisher's version
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online23 Dec 2020
PublisherWiley
ISSN1467-3010

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