Oils & Fats News July 2004

Seminar in November (culinary oils) at Hort research


Details are being finalized for this interesting seminar in November see details below and registration information.

We believe the seminar will be of vital interest to the producers, exporters and users of these modern, boutique and culinary oils. The markets for olive, avocado, flaxseed, pumpkinseed and others is expanding as the world looks to healthier and tastier alternatives to the bulk commodity oils.

Update on Omega 3

More and more literature is emerging about the health effects of increasing the intake of long chain omega 3.Even the national Business Review has warned executives that if they don’t exercise and eat omega3 they run not only the risk of being depressed but of developing coronary heart disease(and being made redundant?)

A Scottish biotech firm has developed a novel fruit juice fortified with the omega-3 fatty acid DHA.

The juice is designed to deliver the health ingredient to children in a more palatable form than capsules.

DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid, is key to the good functioning of the brain, nervous and visual systems. It is one of the omega-3 fats currently gaining enormous attention for its health benefits to the heart – some evidence shows they can prevent heart attacks – but studies are also increasingly highlighting its preventative role against mental disorders such as depression and Alzheimer’s.

Further, UK research has demonstrated the positive effect of omega-3 fats in alleviating a range of behavioural and learning difficulties in children. But the modern western diet typically does not include enough omega-3 rich foods, such as oily fish, to gain these benefits.

The new DHA-fortified orange juice, developed by Dr Ray Noble from Ayr-based company NP Biotech, is called SupaJus – The Think Drink and is being manufactured by the Natural Fruit and Beverage Company.

Omega-3 Protects Against Stroke Damage

French scientists say they have discovered how polyunsaturated fatty acids like omega-3 fats work to protect against certain neurological disorders, such as epilepsy, depression and strokes.

The team from France’s national research centre, CNRS, reports that by acting on a protein called Trek-1, a known fatty acid target, the fats open a potassium channel, allowing potassium ions to cross cell membranes.

The findings help to explain and support a number of studies that have demonstrated the positive impact of omega-3 fatty acids on brain health.

Polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as the widely known omega-3s, have a protective effect against certain heart diseases and are beginning to be recommended by healthcare professionals for heart health. But the new findings mean that fish oil manufacturers could have additional benefits to promote or even a future health claim.

In 2000, Michel Lazdunski and his team demonstrated that PUFAs like alpha-linoleic acid or docosahexanoic acid, found mainly in fish oils, reduced the damage to neurones caused by an ischaemic stroke or during an epilepsy attack.

Now they say that this effect is produced through the action of PUFAs on the Trek-1 protein. Published in an early online issue of the Embo journal today, they report that mice in which the gene coded for Trek-1 had been removed were much more likely to have strokes and epilepsy attacks than normal mice.

They also failed to respond to the protective effect of fatty acids on the brain, and died from minor strokes that normal mice would survive.

Strokes affect more than 1 million people each year in the European Union and are the second biggest cause of death in the world after heart disease. They are also a source of major disability for patients that survive them, causing paralysis of one side, depression or secondary epilepsy.

The findings could also help researchers to develop new treatments for these illnesses. At least 20 per cent of epilepsy patients (around 2 per cent of the population) are resistant to current medication.


The discoverers of leptin, the hormone that regulates appetite, have recently released findings that may represent a breakthrough in obesity research. Friedman and colleagues at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute have shown that leptin affects food intake by acting on classes of neurons in the hypothalamus that expresses the leptin receptor.

They speculate that the neuron wiring diagram in obese people is markedly different to people of normal weight (few of those left) and administering leptin may be a tool in fighting the current epidemic.

Lipid Glossary 2

An electronic version of the oily press book Lipid Glossary 2 is now available from the web

This glossary is a most useful dictionary for lipid chemistry and technology.


Nimma Sherpa has moved from Nice and Natural to General Mills as Development technologist.

Andrew Davidson of Oilseed Extractions in the South Island( a division of Midlands seed) has joined the group.

Ament Nagar has left Meadowlea and has joined Allberry House (Newman’s) in Tauranga as their Food Technologist. (Peter Tinholt is the new CEO)

The Chairman has been appointed a board member of FSANZ


Now up and running at

Thanks to Chris Newey for getting this underway so promptly.

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