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Fatty Acid Profiles of Commercially Available Finfish Fillets in the United States


Fillets of 76 finfish species (293 composites of three fish) were obtained from commercial seafood vendors in six regions of the United States (i.e., Great Lakes, Mid-Atlantic, New England, Northwest, Southeast, and Southwest). Full fatty acid profiles were determined for each species and are presented here. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) have been associated with many health benefits. Thus, fillets of each species were compared for total EPA plus DHA content, which ranged from 17 mg/100 g (pangasius/swai) to 2430 mg/100 g (Chilean sea bass). Of the top ten most popularly consumed seafoods in the US, finfish, including salmon species (717–1533 mg/100 g), Alaskan pollock (236 mg/100 g), tilapia (76 mg/100 g), channel catfish (44 mg/100 g), Atlantic cod (253 mg/100 g), and pangasius/swai (17 mg/100 g), exhibited a wide concentration range of EPA plus DHA. Large variances were found within many of the farmed species analyzed, which likely stems from dietary differences in the farm-fed diet. The results of this study provide current information on a broad range of species and will help nutritionists and the public make informed decisions regarding seafood consumption.

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Fig. 1
Fig. 2



Alpha-linolenic acid (18:3n-3)


Arachidonic acid (20:4n-6)


Agricultural Research Service


Docosahexaenoic acid (22:6n-3)


United States Department of Health and Human Services


Docosapentaenoic acid (22:5n-3)


Eicosapentaenoic acid (20:5n-3)


Great Lakes region


Gamma-linolenic acid (18:3n-6)


Linoleic acid (18:2n-6)


Mid-Atlantic region


Monounsaturated fatty acids


New England region


National nutrient database


Northwest region


Polyunsaturated fatty acids


Relative retention factor


Stearidonic acid (18:4n-3)


Southeast region


Saturated fatty acids


Southwest region


United States Department of Agriculture


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This work was funded by the United States Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Award No. IND 0-2010-01295. The authors acknowledge the assistance of Sara Foresman and Alayne Meyer, undergraduate laboratory assistants at Purdue University, in the completion of this project.

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The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest.

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Correspondence to Charles R. Santerre.

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Cladis, D.P., Kleiner, A.C., Freiser, H.H. et al. Fatty Acid Profiles of Commercially Available Finfish Fillets in the United States. Lipids 49, 1005–1018 (2014).

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  • Fatty acids
  • Eicosapentaeoic acid (EPA)
  • Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
  • Fish fillets
  • Consumption advice