Oils and Fats News December 2011

AAOCS Adelaide

An excellent science and social programme was organized by the Australian branch of AOCS in Adelaide in early November. A group of Kiwis attended who made a significant contribution to the presented papers. A synopsis of the technical papers will be presented in the next newsletter. A major highlight of the conference was the presentation of a victory bottle of Pinot noir by Peter Nichols to Laurence Eyres who was representing 4 million Kiwis on behalf of the All Blacks. See attached photograph of the NZ contingent.


A major research project in Australia by CSIRO is the path finding work of scientists who are breeding Canola that contains long chain omega-3. This work will be commercialized by seed company Nuseed.

The AAOCS are planning another seminar in 2013 in Melbourne and the Oils and Fats group have promised support and partnership for the event.

For 2012 the group is starting to think about a teach-in workshop for academia and industry in such topics as sourcing the right oils, formulation, preventing oxidation, frying, nutrition and diet. A letter will go out to the Universities and members asking for ideas about content and venue.

Carbs. are out, fat is in

This is according to controversial American scientific writer Gary Taubes who recently condemned the traditional low fat and carbohydrate-rich diets.

Taubes said his message appealed to people who had never been able to lose weight following conventional diet guidelines.

“This empowers people to take control of their own lives and the fact that it works, of course, is a wonderful feeling. There are people who have always been obese, even since childhood, and maybe for the first time, they understand why and, more importantly, that it’s not their fault,” Taubes said. Several talks at the AAOCS seminar supported this viewpoint

He claimed carbohydrates threw the body’s insulin regulation out of whack and was the reason why people got fat. He was now taking his anti-carbs argument further, suggesting they might cause some very serious Western diseases such as some cancers and Alzheimer’s.

Bye Bye Dry eye

In a preliminary study in Florida, a small test group of people taking up to nine grammes of flaxseed oil a day found a major reduction in the irritation to dry eye. It did not report on any adverse symptoms but this is a lot of flaxseed to take per day.

The trial should have used a small (say 1 gramme) of marine omega-3 to see if the equivalent result was obtained as I am sure this would have been the case.

Oily Press

PJ Barnes & Associates (Bridgwater, UK) is pleased to announce that as of 1st November 2011 publication of Oily Press books will move from PJ Barnes & Associates to Woodhead Publishing Ltd (Cambridge, UK). From its foundation in 1989 by Dr William W. Christie, and through its ownership by PJ Barnes & Associates (founder and former publisher of `Lipid Technology’ journal), Oily Press gained an international reputation for publishing bestselling books on lipid science and technology.

As in the past, Oily Press books will continue to be a vital source of authoritative information on all aspects of oils, fats and other lipids written by leading scientists and technologists worldwide. The move to Woodhead Publishing Ltd will ensure a successful future for Oily Press and will also provide additional benefits for customers such as the availability of electronic versions of books and chapters through Woodhead Publishing Online and the easier purchase of books through Woodhead Publishing’s global agent network.

Peter Barnes visited NZ in 1983 for our first Fats for the Future conference and has been a good friend personally and to the group ever since. Lipid Technology was a great read and although it has continued under Wiley it somehow lacks the vibrancy and innovation of those early days.

The Oily press books are good value and are a great resource for Industry and Academia.


DSM and carotenoids business

Royal DSM, the global Life Sciences and Materials Sciences company, announces today that it has completed the acquisition of Vitatene S.A.U., based in León (Spain), a producer of natural carotenoids. The acquisition was announced on 10 May 2011. The acquisition of Vitatene allows DSM to strengthen the natural carotenoids offerings of its nutrition business as consumer demand for natural products continues to grow. Founded in 2004, Vitatene is a leader in the production and sale of a range of high-value natural carotenoid products derived from fermentation of the fungus Blakeslea trispora. The products are sold under the brand names Betanat and Lyconat. The products are an addition to DSM’s current portfolio of highly functional carotenoids, ranging from beta-carotene to lutein and zeaxanthin.


Coconut Oil

“Coconut oil is good for you” It was on a health food website so it must be true. Coconut oil can help you lose weight, treat skin conditions and ulcers.

Well, maybe it isn’t all completely true.

What is true is that today you can find coconut oil right there on the shelf in your local health food store next to the extra-virgin olive oil and cold-pressed canola oil. Just a few years ago there was an out and out panic because of the claim that large movie theater popcorn delivered as much saturated fat as six Big Macs because the popcorn was being popped in highly saturated coconut oil.

Today, the annual sales growth of coconut oil at Whole Foods has been in the high double digits for the past five years. What has happened to change coconut oil from the artery-clogging, cholesterol-raising saturated fat more poisonous than butter, lard or beef tallow to a product that appears on the health food store shelf? Where did the stigma about coconut oil come from in the first place?

Coconut oil is a tropical vegetable oil that is made from the dried fruit of the coconut palm tree. Coconut oil consists largely of a certain type of saturated fat, the twelve carbon chain fatty acid, lauric acid. One tablespoon of coconut oil contains 117 calories and 13.6 grams of fat. Lauric acid increases levels of good HDL, or high-density lipoprotein, and bad LDL, or low-density lipoprotein, in the blood, but it is not believed to affect the overall ratio of the two.

Most of the studies involving coconut oil were done with partially hydrogenated coconut oil, which was used by researchers because they needed to raise the cholesterol levels of the rabbits they were using as research subjects. Virgin coconut or or un-hydrogenated oil, are different products from a health perspective. It may not be so bad for us after all according to Thomas Brenna, a professor of nutritional sciences at Cornell University.

Partial hydrogenation creates trans fats .It is true that most of the fats in virgin coconut oil are saturated; opinions are changing on whether saturated fats are really the arterial villains once thought to be.

Despite this warming toward coconut oil, claims that it is mainly medium chain triglycerides which have lower energy levels simply is untrue.

Medium chain triglycerides are eight and ten carbon chain length triglycerides which have been synthesized from the fatty acids which have originally been transesterified and then distilled from coconut oil as a starting material.

- Laurence Eyres

Leave a Reply