Fish oil, I’ve blogged about it on numerous occasions (omega 3 to slow aging, omega 3 good but what about omega 6?, eat greens with your omega 3) and it is generally acknowledged that we should be getting more omega 3 (and some say less omega 6) in our diet.
An interesting story published in the magazine New Scientist last week (No. 2950, Page 12) talks about the genetic modification of a plant so that it can produce levels of omega 3 equivalent to that found in marine sources such as salmon, cod liver or krill.
But why do we want this? Why not simply continue to harvest it from its natural source in the ocean? Well, the fish do not actually make the omega 3 fatty acids themselves but get them from eating smaller fish who get them from eating algae.
According to the article, each year 1 million tonnes of oil are extracted from ground up fish and approx. 10% goes into capsules for us and the remainder is fed back to farmed fish. But this is unsustainable as supplies are limited. The GM plant could be used to supply us directly with omega 3 or we could feed it to the fish and collect it from them as we do now.
I could imagine that if we consider the carbon footprint of getting fish oil to people who live very far inland an alternative terrestrial source could be preferable, also it could be a better source for vegetarians than the currently available plant sources.