Researchers from West Virginia University, US, revealed that fish protein isolate could provide a new basis for the incorporation of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids into functional foods.

The research team created the functional foods using fish protein combined with omega-3 fatty acids and a potassium chloride salt replacer.

The goal of the study was to determine physicochemical properties of functional food products developed with omega-3 PUFAs and salt substitute using muscle protein isolate recovered from whole gutted rainbow trout.

West Virginia University associate professor Jacek Jaczynski said that it is possible to develop functional food products made from muscle protein isolate recovered from whole gutted fish.

The food products fortified with omega-3 PUFAs helps to achieve desired biochemical effects of these nutrients without the ingestion of dietary supplements, medications or a major change in dietary habits, Jaczynski said.

The team found that the end product enhanced with omega-3 PUFAs had reduced sodium and increased potassium with improved gelation properties.

Further, addition of omega-3 PUFAs oil also improved colour properties without affecting texture of trout protein gels.

A study published in the Journal of Functional Foods reported that protein from blue whiting fish could help to promote the production of gut hormones associated with suppressing appetite.

Jaczynski and his team concluded that though the results of the study demonstrate the potential for functional food products, further testing and refining of the sensory and stability properties of the products are required.