Yield10 Bioscience and BioMar align to bring omega-3 Camelina oil product to market

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

Camelina containing the omega-3 EPA trait growing at acre scale in spring 2023. Credit: Yield10 Bioscience
Camelina containing the omega-3 EPA trait growing at acre scale in spring 2023. Credit: Yield10 Bioscience

Related tags Yield10 Bioscience BioMar Aquaculture Salmon omega-3 camelina

Yield10 Bioscience and BioMar Group have signed an agreement to form a long-term partnership to commercialize a Camelina crop containing enriched levels of EPA and DHA.

The primary source of the essential fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are finite marine ingredient resources, the supply of which is volatile. Camelina represents an ideal platform for predictable and sustainable, land-based production of omega-3 oils targeting the significant market opportunity in animal feed, said the partners.

The omega-3 Camelina product contains EPA and DHA levels comparable to many of the marine oil sources utilized today, claimed the two entities. And there is a decade of research behind it, they added.

Yield10​ is scaling up the first omega-3 Camelina variety to produce the first omega-3 oil at a multiacre scale in contra season in South America. It anticipates that pre-commercial planting for seed scale-up will continue in spring 2024. Expanded planted acres of Camelina will mean Yield10 can supply BioMar with oil for formulation and testing while also working towards securing regulatory approval for commercial production of the omega-3 oil and meal in the targeted production geographies.

When asked for clarity on the terms of the commercial agreement, Fernando Norambuena, global category manager, novel raw materials, BioMar Group, told us they will be defined in the coming year as the partners move from the innovation phase to the commercial phase. 

Resource efficiency 

“The partnership will be assessing how to reduce the carbon intensity of producing EPA and DHA oils along with other sustainability indexes in crop production. These will include but are not limited to the production of those fatty acids in winter varieties of Camelina as a cover crop, the use of no-till planting practices, which improves soil organic carbon retention, efficiency in the use of fertilizers, oil and seed yield improvements, and use of water resources.”

In relation to target markets, he said that, ideally, the omega-3 Camelina will be produced and processed to recover the oil in the US, to take advantage of the updated science-based regulatory environment for crops made using genetic engineering. “The oil may require approval for use in aquafeed in different markets, including Norway, Chile, the UK, the EU and North America. We plan to work together under the partnership to meet those regulatory requirements,” continued Norambuena.

“A partnership with BioMar has the potential to combine the strengths of both companies for the accelerated development of the omega-3 Camelina product. We look forward to working closely with BioMar to develop a collaborative program to bring this new source of high-quality EPA and EPA+DHA omega-3 oils to the market to strive to meet the aquaculture industry's growth demand and sustainability goals.” - Oliver Peoples, CEO, Yield10 Bioscience. 

Trial work 

BioMar has been actively involved with the Rothamsted​ omega-3 Camelina development effort since its inception in 2013, has conducted many of the salmon trials published by the research team at that UK institute.  

“BioMar has run a series of trials using the Yield10 oils in Atlantic salmon and gilthead seabream. The oil performed very well, delivering high growth and efficient feed conversion. The final fish product quality was high, with the expected levels of EPA and DHA being delivered to the fillets. No issues of safety or contamination were encountered. Further studies are being conducted into fish health as well as detailed assessments of sustainability metrics,” reported Simon Wadsworth, global R&D director, BioMar Group.

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