High content of n-6 fatty acids in the flesh of farmed fish sea bass Dicentrarchus labrax L. and gilthead sea bream Sparus aurata L.: implications for the human health

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Aquaculture and Fisheries, Technological Educational Institution of Epirus, 46100 Igoumenitsa, Greece

2 Department of Ichthyology and Fisheries, Technological Educational Institute of Epirus, 46100 Igoumenitsa, Greece


The aim of this study was to present evidence for the health issues related to the fatty acid content in the edible flesh of farmed fish. The polyunsaturated fatty acids content of two widely farmed fish species in Europe, sea bass and gilthead sea bream, was 33.96% and 32.06% respectively. Linoleic acid (LA) was the dominant fatty acid and the n-3/n-6 ratio was 0.81 and 1.24, respectively. The dominance of LA and the increased n-6/n-3 ratio in the flesh in farmed fish of both species indicates the importance of fish feeds for the nutritional value of the final product. The fatty acids, especially n-3, are essential and important for human’s health. Linoleic acid (LA) and Linolenic acid LNA in fish feeds cannot be transformed easily to n-6 and n-3 fatty acids in the flesh of marine fish. The fatty acid profile of fish is a determinant parameter for the health benefits of consuming fish. The data presented in this paper provide evidence of an urgent need to improve the fatty acid profile of these two widely consumed farmed fish in Europe.