OMEGA3MAX: Maximizing marine omega-3 retention in farmed fish: sustainable production of healthy food


Funding: 0.6 million euros

Programme: FP7-PEOPLE - Specific programme "People" implementing the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Community for research, technological development and demonstration activities (2007 to 2013)

Status: CLOSED

Reduce the fish oil inclusion level in aquaculture feeds while maintaining high levels of marine omega 3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) in fish products to meet consumer expectations is a major problem of modern aquaculture. Both of these conditions reflect the necessity to examine in depth nutritional strategies aimed to maximise EPA and DHA retention on fish tissues. Omega3max aims to optimise dietary fatty acid composition and antioxidant sources and concentration to limit in vivo oxidative stress in fish tissues helping to preserve EPA and DHA. In addition not only the quantity of EPA+DHA, but also the position of both fatty acids to conform triacyglycerols and phospholipids, is becoming an important aspect in terms of function and bioavailability for human consumers. Therefore, the present project also aims to study the regiospecificity of fatty acids which is a novel issue for fish nutritionist with important implications on the nutritive quality of the fish flesh. This programme aims to increase the EU aquaculture industry competitiveness being more cost-effective and improving the nutritional value and quality of aquaculture products but also to strengthen the research and educational potential on aquaculture of both sectors industry and academia. The proposed research group in this Consortium comprises four partners, including two national non-commercial organisations namely the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM-Spain) and the Christian-Albrechts University Kiel (CAU-Germany) as well as two commercial enterprises namely Skretting Aquaculture Research Center (Skretting ARC-Norway) and Lucta (Spain). Both the academic and industrial partners have a strong track record on research activities and already established successful research collaborations in the recent past. We propose to create a long-lasting consortium of leading researchers with complementary expertise that can synergize innovative research in the fields of fish nutrition and health.

Keywords: Omega-3, Fish farming fishes, lipid acids, aquaculture, OMEGA3MAX, antioxidants




Technology and innovation

Marine regions

Value not available

Related issues

Fishing and aquaculture



Education and Research

Societal challenges

Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine maritime and inland water research and bioeconomy


Type of stakeholders involved

Scientists and Research Organization

Industries and SMEs

RRI Dimensions


Gender equality


Open access

Public engagement

Science education

Name Family name Email Organization Country
Name Family name Email Organization Country
Antonio Lucas Torrescasana Not available LUCTA SA Spain

No RRI issues added yet.

WHAT DID THE PROJECT PRODUCE THAT IS RELATED TO RRI? What are the most RRI relevant outputs from the project (roadmaps, guidelines documents, reports, articles, videos, etc)

Title Scientific results
Description The scientific work plan was divided in two major phases: (i) Finding an adequate antioxidant or a mixture of antioxidants that limit in vivo lipid peroxidation in fish tissues and help to preserve EPA and DHA; and (ii) to optimize antioxidant functioning. The work plan was completed with WPs 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 9, 12 and 13. Work performed and summary of results: -Twelve substances with antioxidant capacity including tocopherols, polyphenols (hydroxytyrosol, resveratrol, quercetin, soy isoflavones), phenolic compounds (chlorogenic acid), organic acids (fumaric acid) and cofactors (Q10, Lipoic acid and Vitamin C) were tested in in vivo trials performed with Atlantic salmon post-smolts. This represents the first report of Atlantic salmon feeding trials with some of the above mentioned antioxidants. - Of these, two substances quercetin and soy isoflavones were found to enhance EPA and DHA concentrations respectively in the liver and fillets compared to an identically composed control diet without the supplemented substance. Also, it was of relevance from a consumer point of view the observed enrichment of salmon fillets with gamma tocopherol in salmon fed a diet supplemented with gamma tocopherol. - To confirm the results obtained with soy isoflavones and quercetin and to optimize both substances, the second phase of the project included a dose-response study and to test synergies between the quercetin and soy isoflavones at the optimal concentration and the use of lecithin to increase the availability of both substances at low (6ºC) and high (12ºC) temperatures. After both studies we were able to confirm only the positive effects of soy isoflavones on DHA retention in the salmon tissues. However, at the desired concentration of isoflavones to maximize DHA retention a significant reduction in fish performance (final body weight, feed intake, specific growth rate and feed conversion ratio) was observed. This negative effect on performance was more pronounced at low temperatures. Quercetin does not improve or even worsen the negative effects of isoflavones on productive traits. Although, these results dissuade the use of soy isoflavones in Atlantic salmon feeds to increase tissue DHA concentrations the consistent effect of this polyphenol on DHA retention merits a more in depth research on the mechanism behind such effect. - To better characterize fish nutritional studies including polyphenols we developed a method to trace quercetin and genistein in the feed. - The nutritional and functional characteristics of dietary fat for the consumer are related to the fatty acid (FA) composition and its positional distribution in the triacylglycerol fraction. Therefore, to better assess the impact of fish diets on the nutritional quality of the fillet we implemented a method to study the regiospecificity of FA in the fish TAG. Our results indicate that feeding salmon with vegetable and fish oil providing different EPA + DHA concentrations does not affect their positional distribution in the fillet TAG.
Usable by researchers Yes
Other type Scientific results
Title Training
Description Training, education and dissemination were performed in WPs 5, 8, 10 and 14 hosted by the two academic partners Christian-Albrechts University Kiel (CAU-Germany) and Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM-Spain). This activity consisted mainly on seminaries on fish nutrition and feed additives conducted by seconded researchers from the industrial partners to graduate, master, PhD students and researchers of the host academic partners. Other dissemination activities included the presentation of the project results in scientific conferences and workshops, and in events open to the general public such as the Researchers night in 2014 and the Science Week in Madrid. At the moment 3 peer reviewed articles have been published and 3 Bachelor and 2 Master-Thesis were completed within the Omega3max project.
Usable by researchers Yes
Other type Training

No lessons learned added yet.

No policy added yet.

No policy briefs added yet.

No stakeholders added yet.

No tools added yet.