Plant-based omega-3 receives plant variety protection in Europe and the USA


The move confirms the three varieties of Ahiflower (Buglossoides arvensis) as novel, different, uniform and stable and complements the two varieties previously registered and protected in the UK, the EU and the USA.

The certifications administered by the Community Plant Variety Office (CPVO) for the EU grant protection of intellectual property and give the owner exclusive rights.

“The agricultural innovation demonstrated in ensuring PVP certification has continued to evolve and what was once considered common weeds is now high quality specialty oilseeds grown on thousands of acres by British farmers,” said Simon Meakin, Vice President of Agronomy and GM for the UK operations of Natures Crops International.

“Ahiflower has received a lot of attention as a scientifically validated alternative to fish oil that is produced sustainably and regeneratively. Because of the value that this tiny plant offers, we have a responsibility to protect it.”

Ahiflower potential

In previous studies, Ahiflower was found to have the highest non-GM omega-3 essential fatty acid content of any commercially available dietary vegetable oil.

The plant combines ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) and a high proportion of stearidonic acid (SDA) and gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an essential omega-6 fatty acid.

Other fatty acids provided by Ahiflower include oleic acid, an omega-9 fatty acid, to complement the overall healthy profile of this vegetable oil.

One problem highlighted with all plant-based omega-3 sources centers on the low conversion ratio of ALA, the major omega-3 in plant sources such as flax, chia, and hemp, to eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).

3-20% conversion

Along with DHA, EPA is one of the two omega-3 fatty acids believed to be responsible for the many health benefits attributed to omega-3 fatty acids. Most experts estimate this conversion for vegetarians to be between 3% and even 20%.

The proportion of ALA that is converted into DHA is low. SDA, on the other hand, converts to EPA at a ratio of 30% to 35%, and consuming SDA directly is far more efficient than consuming large amounts of ALA.

In one recently job interviewAndrew Hebard, Founder, President and CEO of Natures Crops International highlighted another study that showed ahiflower oil’s ability to double the survival rate of living probiotic organisms when used as a functional carrier oil.

“Another reason why Ahiflower Oil is becoming increasingly popular around the world is that you can achieve significant daily omega-3 intake levels with minimal doses. As a functional carrier oil, it offers enormous added value. “

Brexit problems

In a February CPVO statement, holders of community plant variety rights granted before the end of the Brexit transition period (December 31, 2020) will become holders of plant variety rights in the UK under UK law.

The CPVO has informed breeders that the plant variety rights granted by the CPVO as of January 1, 2021 do not cover the territory of the United Kingdom including Northern Ireland.

In order to obtain plant variety protection in the UK, breeders must submit a separate application to the relevant UK authorities.

“Brexit has posed many challenges for UK agriculture and farmers, and building a successful business around high-quality, low-input crops like Ahiflower opens up opportunities for growers and is good for the environment,” said Hebard.

“Ahiflower is expected to become an increasingly important oilseed crop in the future, grown exclusively in the UK using regenerative farming practices.”


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