Gastrointestinal oxidation - a poorly studied process preventing optimal effects from our valuable omega-3 fatty acid resources
Research Project , 2013 – 2015

Evidence are accumulating that oxidation products from long chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC n-3 PUFA, or so called omega-3) can hamper some of the beneficial effects from these fatty acids on e.g. cardiovascular diseases (CVD), inflammation, and certain cancers. Requirements for improved quality control during processing and storage of marine oils has therefore lately been addressed. However, a still hidden problem is that oxidation of the highly sensitive LC n-3 PUFA does not appear to stop at the point of intake, but rather, to continue during the pro-oxidative passage through the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. In this project, the aims are to investigate GI oxidation of LC n-3 PUFA in traditional fish oils, fish oil microcapsules, fish and novel LC n-3 PUFA-rich oils (algae, krill) under human conditions; both in an in vitro system comprising human gastric and intestinal fluids, and in vivo in humans. Using differentiated Caco-2 cells, local damaging effects from LC n-3 PUFA oxidation products on the intestinal mucosa will also be studied. Finally, innovative strategies for GI-oxidation prevention based on polyphenols, aldehyde scavengers and microencapsulation allowing a controlled release function will be investigated. The applying team has unique interdisciplinary expertise in marine food chemistry, gastrointestinal digestibility, toxicology and surface chemistry. The research is strongly supported by environmental, economic and health arguments.


Ingrid Undeland (contact)

Full Professor at Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Food and Nutrition Science



Funding Chalmers participation during 2013–2015

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