Common weed has hidden superpowers
- Published on Wednesday, 20 April 2011 15:02
- Posted by Scott Buckler
A plant that used to be killed as a weed could soon be farmed for essential fatty acids. Innovative research sponsored by Defra shows that Corn Gromwell, rich in omega-3, could potentially be grown commercially in the UK for the first time(April 20th)
Corn Gromwell is native to Europe, North Africa and across Siberia and Western Asia and has also been introduced into the USA. Until recently it was best known a common weed in spring cereal crops.
Agriculture Minister Jim Paice said:
“Turning a common weed into a valuable crop is a great example of the innovation that our farming industry is so good at. This research is part of our wider support to help farmers under pressure to diversify and find new markets.”
Essential fatty acids are needed to support our nervous, cardiovascular and immune systems. They can’t be made in the body so have to come from our diets. Corn Gromwell contains stearidonic acid (SDA), an omega-3 fatty acid. It will have the potential to be marketed as a supplement or included as an ingredient in foods.