Yield10 Bioscience’s advanced technology to commercialize omega-3 dietary oils in Camelina


Photo by Michele Blackwell on Unsplash

Omega-3 fatty acids have been the focus of research and clinical studies for years because the human body derives many health benefits from them. Studies have shown that eating a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce inflammation, reduce the risk of heart attack, fight obesity, and contribute to infant health.

There are 3 main types of omega-3 fatty acids that are very important in the human diet – eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). DHA and EPA are found in fish and other seafood such as mackerel, salmon, cod liver oil, herring, oysters, sardines, anchovies and caviar. ALA is found primarily in vegetable oils such as flaxseed and flaxseed.

Dwindling global fish stocks

While fish and seafood are essential sources of omega-3 fatty acids, those sources are threatened. The world’s fish stocks are dwindling at an alarming rate due to overfishing. It has become so worrying that action has been taken on countries to save fish stocks, which are an important source of protein for the world’s food.

Experts blame government subsidies and lax rules in countries like China as a factor in this dire situation, and new research has shown that governments have increased financial support for fishing practices that destroy marine life.

These worrying developments mean that seafood is not a sustainable source of omega-3 oils. This impending danger is what Income10 Bioscience Inc. (NASDAQ: YTEN) and UK-based Rothamsted Research are working to avert this.

Camelina Sativa: Yield10 Biosciences Solution

Camelina Sativa (Photo by Krzysztof Ziarnek, Kenraiz)

Yield10 Bioscience announced in November 2020 that it has signed a collaboration agreement with Rothamsted Research to support Rothamsted’s flagship program to develop and commercialize omega-3 oils in camelina sativa.

The technology developed by Rothamsted could enable the sustainable, plant-based production of omega-3 dietary oils (DHA and EPA), which strongly mimic the fish oil composition of the southern hemisphere, an important component of aquaculture feed.

The story goes on

Rothamsted is a leading global non-profit research center based in Harpenden, United Kingdom, focusing on strategic agricultural sciences to help farmers and society around the world.

Camelina sativa, a member of the Brassicaceae family, has received a lot of attention as a resurgent oilseed plant. Camelina has several beneficial properties that make it unique among oilseeds.

Yield10 and Rothamsted are working together to develop a sustainable way of making omega-3 dietary oils in camelina.

Oliver P. Peoples, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Yield10 Bioscience, in an exclusive interview with Benzinga, expressed concern about overfishing, which involves huge Chinese, Danish and Russian fleets. “These fleets are literally soaking up the ocean and what you see from an ESG [environmental, social and governance] Perspective are obviously fishermen along the coast of Africa, Peru etc. They actually have to go further and further away from the coast to catch fish, which are an important local food source. “

As the world population grows, there is a greater need for EPA and DHA in the diet. “Because supply is declining, there is a great disconnect between supply and demand, so there is an absolute need for sustainable, low-cost sources for EPA and DHA oils,” said Dr. Peoples.

“We recognized relatively early on that the work in Rothamsted was not only scientifically successful, but also proved to be an essential substitute for fish oil from a nutritional and physiological point of view, both in Aquafeed feed for salmon and brassica farming as well as for direct feed Use in salmon farming for human consumption. “

Currently, the aquaculture industry is moving into a circular economy, which is driving the demand for the essential EPA and DHA ingredients soaring. But with Rothamsted and Yield10’s innovations and technologies working in Camelina, there is a way forward for a more sustainable source of EPA and DHA.

Some companies in the industry use fermentation technologies while others use oilseeds like canola, but none of the companies’ products are like Rothamsted’s technology, which produces both EPA and DHA very similarly, in fish oil from the Northern Hemisphere.

Dr. Peoples found that camelina omega-3s, which contain EPA and DHA, do not smell or taste like fish, unlike fish, which is encouraging given that one of the biggest challenges with nutraceuticals focuses on the off-taste of fish and fish breath.

Yield10 regards Rothamsted Omega-3 technology as a high quality genetic trait for Camelina. To get its optimal value, Dr. Peoples: “We want to move this omega-3 trait into what we call“ elite germplasm ”. This is camelina that was developed to be herbicide resistant, disease tolerant, higher oil content and higher seed yield – high performance camelina – and sometime after 2025 we plan to have the omega-3 producing strains in Canada market the growing aquafeed and human nutrition market in North America. “

Yield10 is currently actively working in South America and growing Camelina in Argentina.

An opportunity for investors

For investors, Yield10 is almost the ideal ESG investment with a focus on sustainability and profitability. Dr. Peoples was optimistic that whatever the company does with the camelina oilseed, whether for sustainable omega-3 agriculture or longer term development, will be used as a source of sustainable plant-based bioplastic in North America. “But even more important from an investor’s point of view, a convincing ESG balance sheet means enormous growth, sales and a very cost-effective position.”

Last major achievements

– Milestone in the manufacture of PHA bioplastic in field grown Camelina. achieved

– Field trial program completed planting in spring 2021 in the US, Canada and Argentina

• Assessment of seed yield and oil content characteristics in Camelina

• Scale-up of PHA Camelina seeds

Strengthening the balance sheet to extend the cash runway to meet the value milestones at the end of the first quarter of 2021 with $ 22.7 million in cash and investments

Read more about Yield10 Bioscience’s financial results for the first quarter of 2021 and the company’s investor relations here.

Vegetable bioplastic from Camelina

In 2019, Yield10 announced that it had found a way to enable the production of plant-based bioplastics in camelina seeds.

The company also currently grows camelina, which is genetically programmed to produce natural bioplastic in the seeds. When the bioplastic is removed, it can be pelletized and melted to make foils, bottle caps, and other types of plastic items.

“The nice thing about it is that it is made entirely from renewable resources – CO2 (carbon dioxide) is the raw material – and the second important aspect is that it is completely biodegradable in the environment. This is not really surprising as these PHAs or bioplastics are natural. They are a natural part of living ecosystems, be it in deep-sea vents, bacteria in soybean tubers or in bacteria in soil or water treatment plants, ”said Dr. Peoples.

Although plant-based bioplastics can be made into normal plastic products that look, feel, and function similar to petroleum plastics, organisms in nature have the ability to completely degrade these PHA bioplastics in the environment through a natural biodegradation process. This represents a zero waste solution for much of the plastic that is used for packaging and container solutions.

With the ability to produce large amounts of plant-based bioplastic by plants that can also remove CO2 from the air, this industry has a $ 200 billion opportunity waiting to be tapped.

Read more about Yield10 Bioscience here.

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