Licence to krill

November 18, 2010

The Column

The Column, The Column-11-05-2010, Volume 6, Issue 20

A study into the composition of krill oil may offer new insights into the complexity of this source of omega-3.

A study into the composition of krill oil may offer new insights into the complexity of this source of omega-3.

In contrast to traditional supplements, which are based on omega-3 fatty acids bound to triglycerides (such as cod liver oil and fish oil) or bound as ethyl esters, krill oil is reported to contain a high proportion of omega-3 fatty acids bound to phospholipids. Krill oil has been reported to have stronger effects than fish oil on specific parameters related to the metabolic syndrome.1

A study published in the journal Lipids2 aimed to characterize the phospholipids in krill oil in more detail to evaluate the composition of the fatty acids present. Qualification was performed with separation on a reversed-phase chromatography column, while the quantification was obtained with class separation on a normal phase chromatography column. An MS system was then used for the detection and pulsed-Q dissociation fragmentation identified the species.

A total of 69 choline-containing phospholipids were detected, of which 60 were reported to contain omega-3 fatty acids. The phosphatidylcholine concentration was estimated to be about 34 g for every 100 g of krill oil. According to the researchers, these results confirm the complexity of the phospholipid composition of krill oil, and the presence of long chained, heavily unsaturated fatty acids.

1. B. Batetta et al., J. Nutr., 139, 1495–1501 (2009).
2. B. Winther et al., Lipids, on-line 17 September 2010.

This story originally appeared in The Column. Click here to view that issue.