Omega-3 fatty acids in food and pharma: The enabling role of biotechnology

Peter J. Gillies, William S. Harris, Penny M. Kris-Etherton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Omega-3 fatty acid research, which began as an epidemiologic curiosity, has generated perhaps the strongest dataset for any nutrient in regard to cardiovascular disease risk reduction. Although once a relatively descriptive field, advances in analytic techniques have opened up the biochemistry of omega-3 fatty acids and nutritional genomics in plants and man and have taken the field into the "omic" era. Despite this progress, fundamental questions remain unanswered, such as which fatty acid or metabolite thereof drives a given health benefit, how much of a given fatty acid should we consume, and how do we best source the requisite fatty acids? Of these questions, the ability to source omega-3 fatty acids in order to meet dietary guidelines has become a practical concern. The advent of novel oils from plants and single cell organisms as enabled by biotechnology may provide a solution to this problem and in the process open up new uses for omega-3 fatty acids in dietary supplements and drugs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)467-473
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent atherosclerosis reports
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Dietary guidelines
  • Dietary supplements, drugs
  • Docosahexaenoic acid
  • Eicosapentaenoic acid
  • LDL, small dense LDL
  • Lp-PLA
  • Omega-3 index
  • Resolvins
  • Single cell oils, soybean oil
  • Stearidonic acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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