Team:Emory

Omega-3Background

ABSTRACT


Americans generally do not consume enough Omega-­‐‑3 fatty acids, which are abundant only in fatty fish and certain seeds. Alpha linoleic acid (ALA) is essential to humans (required diet for life) and is converted within human cells, albeit inefficiently, into eicosapentanoic acid (EPA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA). These unsaturated fatty acids cannot be included in multivitamin pills, as they quickly oxidize (become rancid) at room temperature. Few use them as cooking oils due to the taste. I propose instead to create a Bacillus subtilis strain that imports linoleic acid (LA), the principle component of corn oil, and converts it into ALA, EPA and DHA within the chicken gut (Figure 1). Americans collectively consume 9 billion broiler chickens and 80 billion eggs each year; serving sizes are more than sufficient to mask the flavor of fish oil. Most chickens, both egg layers and broilers, live on feed composed mostly of corn and soy bean meal. Corn oil is mostly linoleic acid (Omega-­‐‑6). Bacillus subtilis is routinely fed to chickens as a probiotic, so a strain that over-­‐‑expressed a fatty acid transporter, desaturases and elongases Enterprising poultry scientists have already shown that chickens fed a diet including 10% flax seeds produce meat and eggs that contain Omega-­‐‑3 fatty acids. To begin, we have constructed a set of novel genetic tools for B. subtilis and Lactobacillus plantarum (another probiotic species).

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