Comparison of omega-3 rich oils based on nutritional and (physico)chemical properties


It is generally accepted that omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFA) have potential in the prevention and treatment of several diseases aside from their important role in neuronal development. The health benefits are mainly ascribed to the long chain n-3 PUFA eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 20:5 n-3) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6 n‑3), rather than to the short chain n-3 PUFA α-linolenic acid (ALA, 18:3 n-3). Unfortunately, in many western countries, the average intake of n-3 PUFA is below the recommended level. To that end, there is an increased interest for food enrichment with n-3 PUFA and for food supplements containing high levels of n-3 PUFA.


The aim of the OMEGA-OIL project is to determine and compare the chemical composition (fatty acid profile, phytosterols, squalene, carotenoids, and antioxidant capacity) and sensorial properties (colour, odour, taste), stability, melting point, bioaccessibility and bioavailability of


  • Commercially available n-3 PUFA oils such as fish oil, tuna fish oil, Martek DHA oil, cod liver oil, and echium oil, and of
  • Oils from autotrophic microalgae such as Nannochloropsis, Isochrysis, Phaeodactylum, …

Finally, we will evaluate if microalgal oil can act as an alternative source for long chain n-3 PUFA commercial oils, and if other microalgal constituents have an added value for the human being.


Staff members

Charlotte Bruneel











Eline Ryckebosch