Australian and New Zealand regulators have given the go-ahead for Nuseed’s omega-3 canola variety for animal, fish and human foods, signaling a market breakthrough for parent company Nufarm.
According to Nuseed, one hectare of the new omega-3 rape has the potential to produce the same omega-3 oil yield as 10,000 kilograms of wild-caught fish.
The genetically modified variety of canola is the world’s first plant-based source of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, which are most commonly found in healthy proportions in seafood.
The Omega-3 Project opens up great market opportunities in North America and Asia as long-chain omega-3 DHA and EPA are critical to human and fish health.
The company plans to market its omega-3 oil – under the brand name Aquaterra – initially for aquaculture feed, followed by Nutriterra for human nutrition applications.
The omega-3 oilseed rape, developed in collaboration with CSIRO and the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), has been approved by the Australian Agency for Genetic Engineering.
The use of omega-3 canola in food has been reviewed by Food Standards Australia-New Zealand, with approval for sale and use in food in both countries.
This new proprietary product aims to help ease pressure on wild fish stocks, the current source of this important nutrient.
Andy Thomas, general manager for global innovation and strategy at Nuseed, said the company will spend 2018 focusing on further research related to field trials in Australia.
In the United States, Nuseed has approval for a significant expansion of pre-commercial production under the US Department of Agriculture’s notification scheme. Planting is scheduled for April and May in Montana.
“We remain on track with our plan to begin commercialization in 2019. Manufacturing programs are planned in the US (pending US approval),” said Thomas.
Nuseed claims that by providing a proven land-based source of these oils, it can help maintain adequate supplies to meet the growing global demand for long chain omega-3s in human and livestock diets.
Greg Hunt, managing director of Nufarm, said the approvals represented a “very significant milestone in the project,” validating the quality of the product and extensive data supporting the regulatory filing as well as the applications filed in North America last year.
“The Nuseed project team and our collaborators have achieved an important goal in bringing pioneering technologies from concept to initial approval in a relatively short period of time,” said Hunt.
“You are to be congratulated on this milestone.
“It is important that the approval also enables additional regulatory filings in other markets in which Australia is recognized as a reference country.”
Mr Thomas said while the US market would be a focus of commercialization efforts, Nuseed would be filing in Asia in the coming months.
“It’s a big and growing market in the coming months, especially for omega-3 nutraceuticals,” he said.
The unique profile of the oil used ensures that it fits easily into market practices and meets the requirements of multiple end market applications on an economically viable basis.
Nuseed is the plant research division of Australia-based Nufarm plant chemicals company that developed high-yielding canola, sorghum and sunflower plant traits and novel oils and proteins with specific consumer benefits.
The company employs approximately 300 people, including supporting more than 100 research staff who conduct research trials in nine global locations in Australia, Europe, North America and South America.
Nuseed was founded 12 years ago and has built up a sales portfolio in around 30 countries.