Food and Behaviour Research

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Systems approach to quantify the global omega-3 fatty acid cycle

Hamilton HA, Newton R, Auchterlonie NA, Müller DB (2020) Nat Food  2020 Jan; 1, 59–62 

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Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids - eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids - are essential components of human diets and some aqua and animal feeds, but they are sourced from finite marine fisheries, and are in short supply and deficient in large parts of the world.

We use quantitative systems analysis to model the current global eicosapentaenoic acid/docosahexaenoic acid cycle and identify options for increasing supply.

Opportunities lie in increased by-product utilization and food waste prevention. However, economic, resource, cultural and technical challenges need to be overcome.


Given the ongoing increase in the global human population, this review summarises the problems in providing enough of the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids - EPA and DHA - to support both physical and mental health, for which adequate intakes of these nutrients are essential.

See the associated news article and FAB comment and links: