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Research Programme:
Agro-Food Technology

Public health nutrition programmes can encourage people to change their choice of foods and thereby alter their dietary fat composition. Technological solutions to provide acceptable alternatives have greatly facilitated this process. Low-fat margarines rich in unsaturated fatty acids allow consumers to continue to use a fat spread but with considerable change in the level and composition of dietary fat. However, far more challenging technological problems of this nature will be tackled in Lipgene.

New Technologies Planned by Lipgene

Fish oil benefits

We know that the LC n-3 PUFA from marine oils (EPA and DHA) improve many aspects of heart disease including blood lipid profiles, blood clotting and cardiac electrical dysfunction. However, meeting the population needs for increased intake of marine-derived LC n-3 PUFA is simply not compatible with marine ecological goals. Moreover, oily fish, at the top of the marine feed chain accumulate the many contaminants in the marine environment. Lipgene seeks to take the genes that regulate the production of EPA and DHA in the algae, at the bottom of the marine food chain and to locate them into linseed. The partners involved have already demonstrated the possibility of this. In Lipgene, a seed-oil with great nutritional and environmental benefit will be the target deliverable.

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Focus on dairy fats

Dairy fats are the main sources of the cholesterol-raising saturated fatty acids and an allied effort of the agro-food section is to apply advanced technologies to alter the metabolism of dairy cows to reduce the level of saturates in milk fat. The main focus will be to alter the bio-flora of the rumen to reduce trans fats and to use variations in diet to reduce the endogenous synthesis of saturates and increase the production of monounsaturated fats within the mammary gland. A new type of milk and butter, which has significantly altered fat composition, offers enormous potential for mass public health nutrition intervention.

Poultry production

In parallel with the development of seed oil rich in LC n-3 PUFA, the potential to increase intakes of these beneficial fatty acids via poultry will be studied. This research is very timely since there are serious moves to alter the nature of farm support away from mass production toward more consumer-oriented primary food production.

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Plate of Food
Research Programme