Fish is an important source of high-quality; readily digested protein in the human diet, a rich source of minerals and vitamins, and it contains lipids that are recognized as having high nutritional value. Tilapia has become the most popular aquaculture product in the world; with the Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) considered the most desirable species. The fatty acid (FA) composition of freshwater fish is characterized by high levels of n-6 PUFAs, mainly linoleic acid (C18:2n-6). In contrast, marine plankton and the fish that feed on them present low levels of n-6 PUFAs and a predominance of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, C20:5n-3) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, C22:6n-3). Marine fish oil is rich in n-3 long-chain PUFAs (LC-PUFAs). Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are biologically important compounds that confer protection against diseases, including cardiovascular diseases and rheumatoid arthritis. They also display anticarcinogenic properties and support the immune system and brain functions. Dietary supplementation with marine fish oil tends to increase the concentration of n-3 LC-PUFAs in the muscular tissue of the freshwater fish. An increase in levels of the n-3 series of FAs was observed in tilapia fillets that were supplemented. Modern human diets have ratios of n-6/n-3 ranging from 15:1 to 20:1, in contrast to an ideal range of 1:1 to 4:1. The high concentration of EPA and DHA in the fish oil was reflected in nutritionally satisfactory ratios of n-6/n-3 in tilapia fillets. Using a good marketing strategy it is possible to add economic value to the fillet making improved profitability.
Graduated in Veterinary Medicine from the Federal University of Minas Gerais (1989), Master in Veterinary Medicine from the Federal University of Minas Gerais (1993) and doctorate in Food Science from the State University of Campinas (2004). He is currently an associate professor at the Federal University of Goias. He has experience in the Inspection and Technology of Meat and Meat Products and Food Science and Technology, with an emphasis on Evaluation and Quality Control of Meat and Meat Products, acting mainly on the following topics: natural antioxidants and fatty acids in meat.