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Australasian Section NewsletterAustralasian Section

May 2014

From the President

Hello everyone and welcome to the first newsletter for 2014. Despite the committee’s quietness we have been thinking/working hard behind the scenes in planning the next section meeting together with short courses for November 2015. It is not that far away, so if you have any ideas, in particular around short course or keynote speakers that you would like to see at our next meeting, please get in contact with me (

It is very pleasing to see some of our members and former members are getting the recognitions worldwide and locally. Rod Mailer and Ian Purtle were awarded as AOCS fellows at the recent meeting in San Antonio, Andrew Sinclair will be the next recipient of “The Alexander Leaf Distinguished Scientist Award for Lifetime Achievement” at ISSFAL 2014, Cobram Estate cleaned up at the New York International Olive Oil Competition and SeaDragon Marine Oils was winner of exporter of the year from Natural Products NZ. Well done to all of you.Karen Dutch and daughter

A big congratulation to Karen Dutch (nee Murphy) (ex AAOCS president) on her third little baby, Bethany Rose Dutch (weighing in at 3.59kg), born Tuesday 4-March-14 at 1.16pm. We hope all is going well.

A special edition of the journal Nutrients called “Recent Advances in Omega-3: Health Benefits, Sources, Products and Bioavailability” has been put together from the AAOCS 2013 meeting (see below). I would like to thank Peter Nichols for driving this special edition.

Matt Miller

President, Australasian Section

Lipids News

Update on the AAOCS-O3C Nutrients Special Issue:
The Nutrients Special Issue arising from the November joint AAOCS section meeting and The Omega-3 Centre is progressing. Five papers are now published, and a further 7 manuscripts are all submitted and under journal review. One of the 7 manuscripts under review will provide an overview of all papers arising in the Special Issue from the Omega-3 Symposium (Recent Advances in Omega-3: Health Benefits, Sources, Products and Bioavailability). Additionally this overview article aims to cover the recent round of negative media that has been directed to Omega-3 oil products. Print copies of the Special Issue will be available for purchase once all papers have been finalised.  Special issue link here.


Australia’s olive oil a cut above the rest
Cobram Estate is Australia’s top olive oil producer after winning five international gold medals at the recent New York International Olive Oil Competition. The five medals included two ‘best in class.’ Competition included more than 700 extra virgin oils from around the globe. Click here to read more.


Flaxseed fibre – Review
Dr. Laurence Eyres (FNZIFST) and Mike Eyres (BV&O) have recently reviewed the nutritional and culinary uses of flaxseed (linseed) in an article ‘Flaxseed (Linseed) fibre – nutritional and culinary uses – a review,’ published in the Food NZ magazine. The article provides an introductory level overview of what flaxseed fibre is, its biochemical composition, nutritional content and associated health benefits, as well as its uses in culinary settings. A useful read for anyone interested in learning more about this material.

To access the article head to


Australia’s first fresh-water algal omega-3 oil is now under test
Forough Ghasemi Naghdi and Peer Schenk Algae researchers at the University of Queensland have supplied the first samples of omega-3 oil, produced from fresh-water tolerant algae, to Qponics Limited for commercial testing. It represents a critical R&D step for Qponics Limited, a 3 year old Brisbane-based company which aims to be a global leader in the production of “organic” omega-3 oils using a suite of new technologies in an urban agricultural setting.

In 2011 Qponics signed agreements with UQ’s UniQuest Pty Ltd. This gave the company access to UQ’s extensive algae collection for a defined research and development project. The agreement also covered the scientific services of the University’s Professor Peer Schenk, who is a global leader in the biotechnology of algae and algae oil. In 2012, Qponics signed a heads of agreement with UniQuest on the terms to license strains of algae for the commercial production of omega-3 oils and high-protein biomass.

Dr. Graeme Barnett, CEO and Managing Director of Qponics Limited, said: “Our Company aims to sell organically-produced DHA and EPA omega-3 oils to a wider segment of the global market. This will present a more viable option to companies that use omega-3 in their products and to consumers of these products.  Both are looking for sustainably-produced vegetarian alternatives to products derived from fish, krill or other marine animals. 
Algal biomass remaining after oil extraction will be sold as a high-protein human food or animal feed containing residual DHA and EPA omega-3 oils.  Qponics also has an option to extend the license to other non-biofuel algal-derived products for the strains developed under the 2011 agreement.”

Qponics plans to construct its first commercial plant on a site near Sydney. This unique facility will integrate state-of-the art technologies used to cultivate algae and extract their omega-3 rich oils into an existing sustainable aquaculture-horticulture process, where filtered effluent from fish tanks provides the organic nutrients to fertilise the growth of algae.

To follow Qponics progress, head over to their website here.

Face lift for the NZ oils and fats webpage

Chris Newey of Foodworks has been revitalising the NZ oils and fats group website. The new-look site is designed to be interactive and encourage participation in discussions. To check it out click here.

Oilseed-like levels of TAG in leaves

A recent publication ‘Metabolic engineering of biomass for high energy density: oilseed-like triacylglycerol yields from plant leaves’ in the Plant Biotechnology Journal demonstrates progress made in increasing the TAG content of leaf material. Dr. Surinder P. Singh (Group Leader of the Oilseeds Group, CSIRO) outlines the article below.

High biomass crops have recently attracted significant attention as an alternative platform for the renewable production of high energy lipids such as triacylglycerol (TAG). While TAG typically accumulates in seeds, levels in vegetative/leaf tissues are generally low. The publication reports the accumulation of more than 15% TAG (17.7% total lipids) by dry weight in Nicotiana tabacum (tobacco) leaves. This was achieved by the coexpression of three genes involved in different aspects of TAG production without severely impacting plant development. These yields far exceed the levels found in wild-type leaf tissue as well as previously reported engineered TAG yields in vegetative tissues of Arabidopsis thaliana and N. tabacum. When translated to a high biomass crop, the current levels would translate to an oil yield per hectare that exceeds those of most cultivated oilseed crops. Our results demonstrate the technical feasibility of a vegetative plant oil production platform and provide for a step change in the bioenergy landscape. This research opens up new prospects for sustainable food, high energy forage, biofuel and biomaterial applications.

For the full article: Vanhercke et al. (2014) Metabolic engineering of biomass for high energy density: oilseed-like triacylglycerol yields from plant leaves. Plant Biotechnol. J. 12, pp. 231-239

Seadragon – Top exporter award and future refining factory

Seadragon was recently awarded the DHL Global Forwarding Exporter of the Year award at the recent Natural Products NZ summit. The award recognised the companies unique product propositions, its ability to commercialise resources that would otherwise have been wasted and the impressive growth of the company. CEO Ross Keeley said “This award shows we are well positioned as we prepare to expand our Omega-3 fish oil production capabilities.”

Seadragon’s omega-3 production capacity is to be extended with plans for a new refining factory. Construction of the factory is set to begin later this year, with production commencing in the first half of 2015. The factory will be used to refine omega-3-containing oils from hoki, salmon, tuna and anchovies. For more information click here.

The effect of a Mediterranean diet on cognitive performance and cardiovascular health in healthy Australians aged 65 years and above

Earlier this year Dr. Karen Dutch made an appearance on Channel 9 news (clip here) regarding the Mediterranean diet and its potential benefits. Karen outlines this work below.

Diet is the cornerstone in reducing the risk of chronic diseases and there is growing interest in investigating the effect of whole dietary patterns (rather than individual foods or nutrients) on cognitive function and the risk of one of the most prevalent forms of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease. The Mediterranean Diet (MedDiet) contains nutrients which have individually been shown to benefit cognitive function as well as promote longevity and reduce death from heart disease. 

The MedDiet consists of a range of foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts, olive oil, low fat dairy foods, fish, lean meat and red wine. This diet delivers important bioactive nutrients like omega-3 and monounsaturated fatty acids as well as antioxidants, fibre, vitamins and minerals. The diet is thought to have a protective effect through a number of ways including reduced inflammatory markers and counteracting inflammatory processes that occur with cognitive decline including reducing the accumulation of brain plaques which lead to generalised neuroinflammation, improved brain blood flow and reduced oxidative damage. The MedDiet may also have direct effects on brain physiology or may influence cognition more indirectly through improved cardiovascular health.

At present, population and interventional trial evidence from outside of Australia indicate the potential for beneficial effects of the MedDiet pattern on cognition, reduced risk of Mild Cognitive Impairment and Alzheimer’s disease. There is little data on the effect of a Mediterranean diet in Australians. Therefore the Nutritional Physiology Research Centre, at the University of South Australia with funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council are further investigating the effect of a MedDiet on cognitive performance and cardiovascular health in the local population.

The study will enrol a total of 170 volunteers, who are non-smokers, free of dementia and aged 65 years and above. Half of the volunteers will be allocated a MedDiet pattern, while the other half will be asked to maintain their normal diet for 6 months. Volunteers will have a range of cognitive tests and cardiovascular health measurements (blood cholesterol, glucose, inflammatory markers, blood pressure and blood vessel function) performed at the beginning of the study and again at 3 and 6 months. All volunteers will visit with the dietitian fortnightly to check how they are going with the study and to collect supplied study foods throughout the trial.

We believe that following a Mediterranean dietary pattern for 6 months will improve cognitive performance (i.e. memory, thinking) and cardiovascular health (i.e. blood pressure and blood vessel function) which addresses the National Research Priority: Ageing Well, Ageing Productively, Preventative Health Care and Mental Health.

Naturalcare Calamari Oil 1000 is now available in Australia

Australian direct to consumer brand Australian NaturalCare has launched Calamari Oil 1000 with the Friends of the Sea seal of approval. Australian NaturalCare Calamari Oil 1000 contains Calamarine®, a concentrated squid oil produced by Pharma Marine.

Pharma Marine is the only producer of concentrated squid oil to have obtained Friends of the Sea certification. The raw material to make concentrated Calamarine oil comes from the by-products from the food production of squid. There is full traceability throughout the supply chain, from the fisheries to the state-of-the-art Pharma Marine manufacturing facility and on to the consumer product supplied by Australian NaturalCare. Read more here.

Have you got any oils news?

The Australasian Section of the American Oil Chemists’ Society (AAOCS) is always seeking input for upcoming section newsletters.

  • Have you done something noteworthy in the oils and fats research area?
  • Have you got any fats and oils business or product news?
  • Have you published any findings/results/thesis lately?
  • Have you been to a conference or expo and seen something interesting?

Want to communicate it to the AAOCS? If so, we would like to know about it! Please send your contributions to our Newsletter editor Tim Nalder (  


Samaneh Ghasemi Fard (Deakin University) will be the recipient of the ISSFAL International Exchange Award, for her study entitled ‘Novel method for assessing true bioavailability of omega 3 fatty acids – a collaborative, multidisciplinary human pilot study.’  The award will be presented to her in June in Stockholm.

Andrew SinclairProfessor Andrew Sinclair (Deakin University) will be the recipient of the prestigious Alexander Leaf Distinguished Scientist Award for Lifetime Achievement, to be presented on June 30 at the ISSFAL Meeting in Stockholm. This award was established by the Society in 2002, both to honour the work of Dr. Alexander Leaf and his support for ISSFAL, and to create an award for future use to recognise and reward excellence in the areas of research of relevance to ISSFAL core interests.



Taiwo AkanbiTaiwo Akanbi (Deakin University) has been named as one of the six 2014 AOCS Honoured Student Award winners. Taiwo was presented with the award at the recent 105th AOCS Annual Meeting & Expo in San Antonio, Texas. The award acknowledges his on-going contribution to lipid and oil research.





Three further awards were received by Australians at the recent 105th AOCS Annual Meeting & Expo in San Antonio, Texas.

Rodney MailerThe 2014 AOCS fellow award was awarded to Rodney J. Mailer. Rodney is an active member of the AAOCS, having played a vital role in its formation. He is an internationally recognized expert on rapeseed and olive oils and has been associated with canola breeding programs and quality improvement that released 22 canola-cultivars for commercial use. His recent research is with the international olive oil industry developing analytical methods and standards to ensure high quality olive oil reaches the market.



Ian PurtleIan Purtle, also received a 2014 AOCS fellow award. Ian did his undergraduate studies in Electrical Engineering at the University of NSW, before heading overseas for further study. He eventually became a Vice President at Cargill, USA as well as the President for AOCS. The AOCS fellow award is a highly prestigious award that recognises long term service to AOCS. The AAOCS would like to congratulate Ian and Rod for their achievements.




Allan GreenAllan Green was presented with the AAOCS Award for Scientific Excellence in lipid research. He presented CSIRO’s work which he had previously presented at his keynote in Newcastle, “Helping industry turn over a new leaf: game-changing technology enabling oil production in leaves.”




2015 AAOCS Award for Scientific Excellence in Lipid Research

The AAOCS are offering an award for excellence in lipid science/research at the upcoming meeting in 2015. The award will recognize a scientist from within the Australasian region who has made a significant research contribution towards fats and oils research, either cumulative or by one major advancement. Information about the award is below or more details please contact

The Award
This award will be offered every 2 years in conjunction with the Section’s biannual conference.

The 2015 Award recipient will receive:

  • An award plaque
  • AU$1,500 towards expenses to attend the 2016 AOCS Annual Meeting & Expo in the US
  • Complimentary registration for the November 2015 biannual AAOCS meeting where the award is presented. They will be expected to give a presentation at this meeting relating to the research and development which has merited them the award.

This program is currently closed and will open in February 2015.

Candidate materials must include:

  • Letter of nomination with summary of the nominee’s research accomplishments
  • Letters of support from at least 2 other scientists
  • Professional biographical data
  • A list of their publications
  • The degrees held, including the names of the granting institutions and the dates the degrees were granted
  • The positions held during their professional career

A person can nominate themselves for this award or be nominated by others.

Nomination deadline: 17th May 2015

Upcoming Events

ILSI & O3C sponsored Science Symposium on “Maternal and Infant Nutrition- Latest Research” for 19 August in Melbourne

O3C sponsored Public Lecture on “Omega-3 Health Benefits for Inflammation” for 25 November in Hobart- as the opening for the NSA Annual Science Meeting; proposal awaiting acceptance

O3C & University of Wollongong sponsored Science Symposium on “The Good Science behind LC Omega-3’s” for 3 December in Wollongong; as part of a three-day Australian Lipid Meeting #2.  

16th International Symposium on Fish Nutrition and Feeding (ISFNF XVI), 25-30th May, Cairns, Australia

World Conference on Fabric and Home Care Montreux 2014, October 6-9, 2014, Montreux, Switzerland

106th AOCS Annual Meeting and Industry Showcases, May 3-6, 2015, Orlando, Florida, USA

The next biennial AAOCS meeting (location unknown) early November 2015

New Papers

Pethybridge, H. et al. (2013) The foraging ecology of an oceanic squid, Todarodes filippovae: The use of signature lipid profiling to monitor ecosystem change.  Deep-sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography. 95: pp. 119-128

Couturier, L. I. E. et al. (2013) Stable isotope and signature fatty acid analyses suggest reef manta rays feed on demersal zooplankton. PLoS ONE 8(10): DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0077152

Vanhercke, T. et al. (2013) Metabolic engineering of biomass for high energy density: oilseed-like triacylglycerol yields from plant leaves. Plant Biotechnol. J. 12: pp. 231-239

Rohner, C. A. et al. (2013) Diet of whale sharks Rhincodon typus inferred from stomach content and signature fatty acid analyses. Marine Ecology Progress Series 493: pp. 219-235

Nichols, P. D. et al. (2014) Commentary on a trial comparing krill oil versus fish oil. Lipids in Health and Disease. 13:2. doi:10.1186/1476-511X-13-2

Chang, K. L. C. et al. (2014) Comparison of thraustochytrids Aurantiochytrium sp., Schizochytrium sp., Thraustochytrium sp. and Ulkenia sp. for production of biodiesel, long-chain omega-3 oils and exopolysaccharide.  Marine Biotechnology (on line January, 2014)

Parrish, C. C. et al. (2014) Spatial variation in fatty acid trophic markers in albacore tuna from the southwestern Pacific Ocean – a potential ‘tropicalization’ signal. Deep Sea Research II.

Petrie, J. R. Et al. (2014) Metabolic engineering Camelina sativa with fish oil like levels of DHA. PLOS ONE. 9(1) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0085061

Waugh, C. et al. (2014) Vertical distribution of lipids, fatty acids and organochlorine contaminants in the blubber of southern hemisphere humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae). Marine Environmental Research 94: pp. 24-31

Mansour P. et al. (2014) A new land plant containing long-chain omega-3: Characterisation of lipids of DHA-producing Camelina sativa oilseed. Nutrients 6: pp. 776-789

Otto, J. R. et al. (2014) Reproduction and fertility parameters of dairy cows supplemented with omega-3 fatty acid canola oil.  Annual Research & Review in Biology 4: 1611-1636

Nichols, P.D. et al. (2014) Readily available sources of long-chain omega-3 oils: Is farmed Australian seafood a better source of the good oil than wild-caught seafood? Nutrients 6: pp. 1063-1079

Vongsvivut J, Miller M, McNaughton D, Heraud P, Barrow C 2014. Rapid Discrimination and Determination of Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Composition in Marine Oils by FTIR Spectroscopy and Multivariate Data Analysis. Food and Bioprocess Technology: 1-13

Miller M, Pearce L, Bettjeman B 2014. Detailed Distribution of Lipids in Greenshell™ Mussel (Perna canaliculus). Nutrients 6(4): 1454-1474