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.


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.

Related article:  Fatty acids: How do all those omegas affect your health?

“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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