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Oils and Fats Update July 2023

Oils and Fats Update July 2023

Laurence Eyres FNZIFST

AAOCS Conference Newcastle

The 2023 Australasian section of the American Oil Chemists’ Society (AAOCS) conference is at Noah’s on the Beach in Newcastle Australia Nov 13-15th 2023.

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  1. The first 50 people to register will receive a receive an Omega-3 Index test kit valued at $59.95 each. Thanks to OmegaQuant, they are suppling 50 kits where you can find out the levels of omega 3 in your blood. Get in quick to get one https://AAOCS2023.eventbrite.co.nz
  2. For Students we are offering 2 x $500 travel bursaries to get to the conferences for people doing their PhD or MSc. Fantastic opportunity to display your work in a great environment and we will foot the bill. How to apply is here  https://aaocs2023.wordpress.com/student-travel-award/
  3. The agenda for the two workshops are now available so please check them out here.
    1. Sustainable Ingredients for Food and Feeds https://aaocs2023.wordpress.com/sustainable-ingredients-for-food-and-feeds/
    2. Lipids in the health of our futures https://aaocs2023.wordpress.com/lipids-in-the-health-of-our-futures/


Contact Dr. Matt Miller: Matt.Miller@cawthron.org.nz

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Shark Liver Oil (squalene)

Squalene and its hydrogenated product (squalane) are long chain hydrocarbons. Shark liver oil is the generic term to describe a mixture of squalene, diacylglyceryl (DAGE) ethers and triacylglycerol (TAG) derived from the livers of certain deep-water dogfish species. Squalene is the purified distillate from shark liver oil, having 99.85% active ingredient. Squalane is the fully hydrogenated product (no trans).

They are both used as dietary supplements and in skin products. For many years there have been cheap substitutes of low quality on the market which has ruined the businesses who focus on quality natural products.

Now Publication of AS 5380:2023 which has taken several years, has eventually been published. It specifies requirements for the responsible harvesting of sustainable sources of squalene and shark liver oil, quality parameters and methods for testing and analysis, and requirements for packaging and labelling consumer products, especially when claiming provenance.

Australian Standards are voluntary. They do not include contractual, legal or statutory requirements. This document does not replace the provisions of the Australian Fisheries Management Authority, Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code, Therapeutic Goods Administration or applicable Commonwealth, State and Territory laws and regulations.

Our well- known colleague and expert on marine oils, the main author on the standard, Dr Peter Nichols, has also just published a paper.

Using Compound-Specific Carbon Stable Isotope Analysis of Squalene to Establish Provenance and Ensure Sustainability for the Deep-Water Shark Liver Oil Industry, Sustainability( July 2022)14(15):9228,DOI: 10.3390/su14159228

Modern Olives (Australia) have also looked at the provenance of olive oil and squalene content. We received a quotation from Claudia Guillaume as follows.

“We have been testing squalene for several years at our groves (Australia and USA) and the range is quite maintained. I would say that the variation is more driven by Maturity index and Variety than Origin. In our main varieties the range of squalene is quite consistent over the years in both countries, as per below:”

  • Arbequina – 2600 – 3400 mg/kg
  • Coratina – 4000 – 4500 mg/kg
  • Picual – 6000 – 7000 mg/kg


Reference: Determination of fatty acid methyl esters (cis and trans) and squalene in olive oil and other vegetable oils by gas chromatography (2023):

For historical interest, an early reference to work done:

Eyres, Laurence, et al. “Potential of squalene as a functional lipid in foods and cosmetics.” Lipid Technology 12 (2002): 104-107.

Brain Lipids

Loss of myelin sheaths occurs during the normal ageing process and in neurological diseases, such as multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease,” said Sengottuvel Vetrivel, senior research fellow with Duke-NUS’ Cardiovascular & Metabolic Disorders (CVMD) Programme and lead investigator of the study. “Developing therapies to improve myelination— the formation of the myelin sheath—in ageing and disease is of great importance to ease any difficulties caused by declining myelination.”


To pave the way for developing such therapies, the researchers sought to understand the role of Mfsd2a, a protein that transports Lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC)—a lipid that has an omega-3 fatty acid—into the brain as part of the myelination process. From what is known, genetic defects in the Mfsd2a gene leads to significantly reduced myelination and a birth defect called microcephaly, which causes the baby’s head to be much smaller than it should be.

In preclinical models, the team showed that removing Mfsd2a from precursor cells that mature into myelin-producing cells—known as oligodendrocytes—in the brain led to deficient myelination after birth. Further investigations, including single-cell RNA sequencing, showed that Mfsd2a’s absence caused the pool of fatty acid molecules—particularly omega-3 fats—to be reduced in the precursor cells, preventing these cells from maturing into oligodendrocytes.

“Our study indicates that LPC omega-3 lipids function as factors within the brain to direct oligodendrocyte development, a process that is critical for brain myelination,” explained David Silver, senior author of the study and deputy director of the CVMD Programme. “This opens up potential avenues to develop therapies and dietary supplements based on LPC omega-3 lipids that might help.

Pentadecanoic acid-C15:0-A healthy saturate?

There are claims that dietary odd-chain saturated fatty acids (OCFAs), especially C15:0, are active fatty acids having cell-based activities and in vivo efficacy that align with health benefits, including lower risk of inflammation, cardiometabolic diseases, and NASH, to which they have been associated with some epidemiological studies in humans. Chronic low-grade inflammation, driven by proinflammatory chemokines and cytokines, contributes to cardiometabolic comorbidities and the ageing process 48–50.

Saturated fatty acids have few health benefits compared to unsaturated fatty acids. Despite bold claims, the jury is still out. The company pushing dietary supplement called C 15 make all sorts of health claims based on a zoologist’s work with dolphins. It is an expensive supplement.

A bottle costs $USD 119.95 for 90 days’ supply, NZD $2.20 per day.
Arnotts biscuits reopening production in NZ.

Arnott’s has opened a new factory in Avondale which it says will help it create biscuits designed for local palates “for the first time … in a long time”. For the first time in 25 years, Arnott’s will be producing in New Zealand again, after taking over Kiwi cracker business 180 Degrees and launching a new multi-million-dollar 4000sqm manufacturing facility and innovation hub.

The 4000 square-metre plant employs 40 people across manufacturing, three research and development staff and a health and safety team,

Arnott’s announced the decision to build the factory 12 months ago. It’s the first time it has brought manufacturing back to New Zealand in 25 years.

The plant has transferred staff and equipment from Kiwi cracker manufacturer 180 Degrees’ Glendene factory. “It will also further strengthen the century-long affection we know Kiwis have had for the Arnott’s brand, which recently saw us recognised as NZ’s most trusted biscuit brand in the 2023 Reader’s Digest Annual Trusted Brand Awards.”

Many years ago, this author worked for the major oil company in New Zealand, Abels who supplied it with their range of fat products.

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