Exploring GMO canola as a cheap source of omega-3 fatty acid for farmed salmon


Something is amiss in the huge barley fields of Montana. Mini-planters punctuate a tiny canola patch an hours’ drive from Great Falls. It looks like a crop destined for The Smurfs.

The folks behind this strange exercise are none other than Cargill, the global agriculture giant that earned $110 billion in revenue last year. Cargill is conducting regulated trials under the strict supervision of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to grow genetically-modified canola, yielding an oil rich in omega-3 fatty acid.

This could revolutionize the salmon farming industry.  Producers feed salmon with oil from wild-caught fish to give them health-bearing omega-3 properties, and supply from this is dwindling with the decline in global ocean catches.

Related article:  Transgenic fish are ready for us. Are we ready for them?

Omega-3 is critically important to the salmon industry in two ways. Firstly, its inclusion in salmon diets allows them to grow properly and fend off illnesses. The omega-3 content of the harvested fish helps humans ward off cardiovascular and mental illnesses. Creating a new supply source of this vital ingredient could make farmed salmon as available (and maybe as cheap) as chicken breasts or pork chops.

“The salmon farming industry has reduced the omega-3 oil content to the point of stress,” Willie Loh, Cargill vice president of market development, told Undercurrent Newson a tour of the experimental fields in Montana.

Read full, original article: Cargill brings age-old farming wisdom to futuristic salmon feed ingredient

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