THERE'S something fishy going on in the lamb industry.
And scientists working on increasing the level of omega-3 fatty acids in lamb believe they have hooked a winner.
The scientists, from the Department of Primary Industries, has achieved a world first, boosting the omega-3 levels in lamb by adding a small amount of algae into hay. Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh said the science was "a win-win for both Victorian producers and consumers".
"Studies have shown that half of Australians aren't consuming enough long-chain omega-3 fatty acids in their diets," he said.
"These particular fatty acids are essential for growth as well and brain and eye development, and are linked to reducing the risk of heart disease, arthritis, depression and dementia."
In the trial, lambs were fed 20g of an algae supplement daily for eight weeks, leading to a 240 per cent increase in healthy omega-3 fats in the lambs' muscle.
The boosted levels mean a 135g serve of lamb provided more than the minimum recommended daily amount of omega-3 acids for women, and 80 per cent of what is recommended for men.
Further work will be done on the findings and DPI senior research scientist Dr Eric Ponnampalam said the work would "improve the productivity, profitability and competitiveness of lamb meat".
"We will continue to investigate the best forages and supplements to increase productivity and optimum lamb nutrition for high-quality lamb meat," he said.