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Australasian Section NewsletterAustralasian Section

December 2012

As the festive season draws near the local committee has been working hard to progress the planning of the 2013 AAOCS Section Meeting. Next year’s meeting will be a fantastic one and will be held from the 6-8 November at Noah’s on the beach, Newcastle. We are excited to host a joint day with the Omega-3 Centre with the latest research presented on omega-3 and our short course for this meeting will be on ‘Frying’. Please keep these dates free as we hope you can join us and keep your eye on newsletters from both AOCS and the section.

On behalf of the AAOCS Committee we would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a safe and Happy New Year and look forward to seeing you in 2013.

Karen Murphy
President, Australasian Section


Australasian Section (AAOCS) Biennial Meeting and Workshops

The committee is pleased to announce that we are looking to hold our next meeting in early November 2013 in Newcastle, NSW, Australia. The title of the event is“Fats & Oils – the Food vs Fuel dilemma?” and will attract industry and scientific leaders to discuss the issues surrounding this key aspect of current Oil R&D. Further we are aiming to work closely with the Omega 3 Centre to have a day focused on omega 3 oils. Finally we are also in the process of putting together a frying oils workshop. Please keep your eyes peeled on your inbox for more information on this meeting over the next 10 months. More information (.pdf)


2013 AAOCS Award for Scientific Excellence in Lipid Research

The AAOCS is offering a new award for excellence in lipid science/research at the upcoming meeting in 2013. The award will recognize a scientist from within the Australasian region that has made a significant research contribution toward fats and oils research, either cumulative or one major advancement. For more details please contact

Nomination Deadline: 17th May 2013


New land plant seed oils with fish oil-like levels of DHA

Pioneering metabolic engineering research at CSIRO may reduce the pressure on our marine resources. In a recent paper published in PLOS ONE, the CSIRO Food Futures Flagship Omega-3 project team led by Drs Surinder Singh and James Petrie has shown that the important long-chain omega 3 - DHA - can be produced by land plants. The amount of DHA achieved in this study (15%) for the first time exceeds the 12% level at which DHA is generally found in bulk fish oil. This is a breakthrough in the development of sustainable alternative sources of DHA as this technology should be applicable in oilseed crops. In addition, the authors reported a high omega-3/omega-6 ratio (>10), similar to what occurs in many marine oils. One hectare of a Canola/ Rapeseed (Brassica napus) crop containing 12% DHA in seed oil would produce as much DHA as approximately 10,000 fish. Therefore this technology has the potential to replace wild harvest derived fish oil used in aquaculture feeds and possibly eventually in other applications including nutraceuticals. This is very timely as Peru has very recently slashed the catch limit from the world’s largest fish oil fisheries. More...


When fish oils ain’t what they say - Quality Analysis of Commercial Fish Oil Preparations

Recent information published has shown that many leading fish oil and cod liver oil in the market do not meet what they claim on the label, in terms of amount of omega 3 and quality. Jenna Sullivan Ritter presented this work at the resent International symposium of nutraceuticals and functional foods in Hawaii in early December. Fish oil supplements have grown in popularity in recent years due to their many health benefits. This has led to an increase in the number of products available for purchase by the general public, making it difficult for consumers to determine which products are of the best quality. Fish oil supplements in North America come in two main forms, fish oil which contains anchovy, sardine and mackerel, and cod liver oil. Because many consumers are taking fish oil for specific health conditions, it is important that label claims for eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are met. Jenna’s work looked at eight of the best-selling fish oil and eight of the best-selling cod liver oil products, in the North America, which were analyzed to determine the amounts of EPA and DHA and compared to their label claims. Peroxide value, a measure of oxidation, was also determined, along with lipid class to determine if products were triacylglycerides (TG) or ethyl esters (EE). Jenna’s study found that four fish oil and five cod liver oil supplements did not meet their label claims for EPA and DHA. When peroxide values were measured, it was found that three fish oil and two cod liver oil products exceeded the maximum PV of 5 meq/kg recommended by the Global Organization for EPA and DHA (GOED) and the European Pharmacoepia. Additionally, two of the fish oil products contained part or whole ethyl esters rather than triacylglycerides.

These results suggest more stringent regulation are required for fish oil products. Presently there is no way for the consumer to test if their oils are what they say on the labels unless they are willing to have them analyzed. Furthermore, consumers need to be reminded to take care of their oil and they should be kept in the fridge or a cool place out of the light. Presently it is generally unclear as to what is the state of Australian and New Zealand oils. A report in Consumer in 2007 of NZ fish oils showed a disappointingly similar trend, although a more recent internal (unpublished) report by CSIRO has shown that all 14 products surveyed did meet their EPA+DHA specs.

More info : Sullivan Ritter JC, Budge SM, Jovica F. Quality analysis of commercial fish oil preparations. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. DOI: 10.1002/jsfa.5994


Concerns over Anchovy and Menhaden stocks leads to cuts in fish quota and increases in price of fish oil and fishmeal.

On the 30th of October 2012 the Peruvian government’s marine institute, IMARPE, reported that the nation’s anchovy population, in the nutrient-rich Humboldt Current off the Peruvian coast, had shrunk by 41 percent since last summer. This fishery is the major provider of the fish meal and fish oil industries. This is expected to lead to increases in price for the fish oil and fish meal. Further there has also been some similar concerns about the stock levels of Menhaden fish.


EPA and DHA response for thrombosis is dependent on gender

Thrombosis is a critical event that accounts for considerable morbidity and mortality in the Western world. Platelet activation and aggregation is considered to be central to thrombus production thus anti-thrombotic treatments to inhibit platelet activity have been a major drug target to retard the thrombotic and atherosclerotic processes. While a wealth of evidence supports that fish oil provides preventative or ameliorative effects against thrombotic disease, the mechanisms responsible for this association are not understood and are further complicated by contrasting reports. Fish oils are a rich source of long chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids including eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), however it is not clear whether the anti-thrombotic effects are due to EPA or DHA or whether both are equally effective. In the available literature relating fish oil and platelet aggregation, wide variability in terms of dosage, concentration ratios, study design, subject characteristics and gender inequality are apparent, hence there is discrepancy regarding the effect of fish oils on platelet activity.

Effects of treatment and gender of platelet aggregMelinda Phang at the University of Newcastle has recently demonstrated the existence of gender-specific platelet responses with fish oil supplementation in double-blinded placebo controlled trial of 96 healthy men and women. Significant gender x treatment interactions were observed following 4 weeks supplementation of EPA versus DHA-rich oil supplementation. In males, only EPA effectively reduced platelet aggregation by -18.4% compared to placebo (P=0.005) and the female group (P=0.011). In contrast, in females only DHA reduced platelet aggregation (-18.9%) compared to the placebo (P=0.001) and the males (P=0.017). Accordingly, plasma plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 levels (fibrinolytic marker) coagulation factor II and V activity were reduced in the males following EPA-rich oil supplementation only while without effects in the female cohort. Interestingly, in females, the retention of DHA levels in plasma following DHA supplementation were over 2 fold greater than that of the males receiving the same DHA supplement. Our findings suggest that significant interactions between gender with EPA and DHA supplementation exist to influence fatty acid uptake and reduce platelet function differentially in males compared to females. With respect to thrombotic disease risk, men are likely to benefit more from supplementation with EPA while women are more responsive to DHA.


News Briefs

Krill oil plant explosion and fire.
Neptune Technologies & Bioressources Inc. regrets to report that in the afternoon of November 8, 2012, an explosion and fire destroyed its production plant located in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada. Three employees were fatally injured. Eighteen other people were transported to the hospital, four of whom were severely injured. More...

PhotoNZ is seeking partners.
Talks are underway involving potential partners of Photonz Corporation as the company is finalizing its process for manufacturing eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) by fermentation of micro-algae. More ...

More consolidation in Omega 3
Further consolidation in by corporations of omega 3 companies. On the back of the last newsletter, where we reported that BASF has bought Equateq (UK) and DSM was buying Ocean Nutrition Canada, BASF is now looking at buying Scandinavian fish oils company Pronova BioPharma.  More...

BASF is investing in the ex- Equateq plant in the extreme North of Scotland to make products for the now 1.5Bn global market for nutraceutical omega-3. This makes for an interesting competitive battle between DSM and BASF. DSM has just completed its acquisition of Ocean Nutrition and has just announced it has bought Fortitech for $634 M. The purchase of Fortitech, which supplies ingredients for infant nutrition as well as dietary supplements, follows about 1.8 billion Euros in takeovers by DSM to expand in nutrition, including the purchase of baby-food ingredient maker Martek Biosciences. Chief Executive Officer Feike Sijbesma is steering the company away from lower-margin, commodity-based businesses. “The acquisition of Fortitech is the ninth acquisition in the Nutrition cluster since we announced our corporate strategy DSM in motion,” Sijbesma said in the statement.

Australia’s largest agricultural company has rejects a takeover offer from the US company ADM (Archer Daniels Midland). This is a perfect tie in with the next AAOCS meeting in Newcastle on Fuel v Food. More...


Industry Events


AAOCS is now LinkedIn

The section is joining the world of social media. If you’re social media savvy please join our LinkedIn group. Becoming a member of the AAOCS LinkedIn group is a fast and good way to keep up with the AAOCS meetings, newsletters and section information. Join our growing community and make more contacts in the fats and oils world.  Don't forget to join the AOCS LinkenIn group as well.