URBANA, Ill., Aug. 26 (UPI) -- A University of Illinois food science professor is working on developing a baby food using wild-caught salmon from Alaskan waters.
Susan Brewer, who is also a registered dietitian, and former University of Illinois Professor Peter Bechtel, now of Alaska's Agricultural Research Service, says babies need a lot of the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish for brain, nerve, and eye development, and when they switch from breast milk or formula to solid food, most of them don't get enough.
The researchers tried pink and red salmon but red salmon survives the baby food production process better, Brewer says.
To boost nutrition, the researchers added bone meal to increase calcium and pureed salmon roe -- eggs -- which contain vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, particularly docohexaenoic acid, better known as DHA.
"A newborn infant's brain is 50 percent DHA," Brewer says. "However, babies and toddlers have immature livers and can't synthesize enough DHA to ensure an adequate supply to their developing nerve tissues. If small children are going to get DHA, they must ingest it in their food."
More than 100 parents of preschoolers tasted the baby food and 81 percent say they would offer to their children.
The findings are scheduled to be published in the Journal of Food Science.