Bioengineered Plants Can Be an Alternative Source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Human Health

  • Nita Lakra
  • Saquib Mahmood
  • Avinash Marwal
  • N. M. Sudheep
  • Khalid Anwar


Omega-3 (also called n-3) long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids have very essential and critical roles in human health due to their multiple health benefits. These important long-chain fatty acids influence a range of health benefits through their cellular, molecular and physiological actions, particularly with respect to the eicosapentaenoic (EPA; 20:5 n-3) and docosahexaenoic (DHA; 22:6 n-3) acids. Essential fatty acids (EFAs) cannot be produced by the human body, as it can be fulfilled through diet only. Marine fish are the major dietary sources of n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, but the increasing demands of fish oil apply huge pressure on declining marine stocks. Recent development in the field of transgenic plants has, however, generated a good deal of excitement among plant biotechnologist, and plants are being looked upon as a potential source for the production of health beneficiary molecules including multicomponent botanical drugs, plant-derived pharmaceuticals, functional foods, dietary supplements and plant-produced recombinant proteins. Many of these products will not only complement conventional pharmaceuticals in the treatment, prevention and diagnosis of diseases but also add value to agriculture and improve the yield quality. An alternative source to achieve the recommended daily intake of EFAs is the need of the hour today. In this chapter, an attempt has, therefore, been made to discuss the impact of omega-3 fatty acid on human health that is facilitated by its biological actions and the new sustainable source in order to produce these fatty acids by the genetic modifications of the plants and their application for health benefits.


EFAs Marine PUFA Health Diseases 



Nita Lakra is thankful to University Grant Commission for providing D S Kothari Fellowship. Saquib Mahmood gratefully acknowledge Department of Biotechnology for providing JRF/SRF as financial support and Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi is also acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nita Lakra
    • 1
  • Saquib Mahmood
    • 1
  • Avinash Marwal
    • 2
  • N. M. Sudheep
    • 3
  • Khalid Anwar
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Life SciencesJawaharlal Nehru UniversityNew DelhiIndia
  2. 2.Department of BiotechnologyMohanlal Sukhadia UniversityUdaipurIndia
  3. 3.Department of Plant Science, School of Biological Sciences, RST CampusCentral University of KeralaKeralaIndia

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