Food and Behaviour Research

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14 November 2014 - Asian Scientist - Recycling CO2 Into Omega-3

The ability to obtain omega-3 oils from CO2 emissions turns the issue of food versus fuels on its head.

Omega-3 oils are essential nutrients that cannot be synthesized by the human body and instead must be consumed via the diet, most commonly from eating oily fish. Like humans, however, fish are unable to synthesize omega-3 fatty acids and must source them through their diet as well. To keep up with global demand, fish farms (or aquaculture) use huge quantities of wild fish as feed, contributing to an overfishing crisis and threatening global food security.

Recycling carbon dioxide (CO2) gases as the sole carbon source for continuous gas fermentation, LanzaTech’s microbes produce acetate that is then consumed as energy and carbon by a proprietary algae developed by the team at IOC-DBT. These algae are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and can be utilized as an omega-3 rich fish meal substitute, or the algal oil can be extracted and purified as an independent omega-3 lipid product.