Omega-3 Fatty Acids and the DHA Principle: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Omega-3 Fatty Acids and the DHA Principle

1st Edition

By Raymond C. Valentine, David L. Valentine

CRC Press

278 pages | 74 B/W Illus.

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The physical-chemical properties of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) enable it to facilitate rapid biochemical processes in the membrane. This effect has numerous benefits, including those involved in the growth of bacteria, rapid energy generation, human vision, brain impulse, and photosynthesis, to name a few. Yet DHA also carries risks that can lead to cellular death and disease. Omega-3 Fatty Acids and the DHA Principle explores the roles of omega-3 fatty acids in cellular membranes ranging from human neurons and swimming sperm to deep sea bacteria, and develops a principle by which to assess their benefits and risks.


The DHA Principle states that the blending of lipids to form cellular membranes is evolutionarily-honed to maximize benefit while minimizing risk, and that a complex blending code involving conformational dynamics, energy stress, energy yield, and chemical stability underlies all cellular membranes.


This book lays the groundwork to understanding this code. It examines the evolution of DHA and the membrane and explores the general properties of omega-3s and other membrane lipids. It then focuses on cellular biology before shifting to a practical discussion on applications. The authors discuss the DHA Principle as applied to petroleum degradation, winemaking, global warming, molecular farming, aging, neurodegenerative diseases, and the prevention of colon cancer.

Reflecting the increased public interest that has emerged over the years, this volume uses an integrative approach to explain the complex roles of omega-3s in the membrane. Incorporating principles from chemistry, cellular biology, evolution, and ecology, this work gives researchers in a variety of fields the building blocks to stimulate further study.


Table of Contents


Molecular Biology of Omega-3 Chains as Structural Lipids:

Many Central Questions Remain Unanswered

Evolution of DHA and the Membrane

Darwinian Selection of the Fittest Membrane Lipids: From Archaeal Isoprenoids to DHA-Enriched Rhodopsin Disks

Coevolution of DHA Membranes and Their Proteins

Convergent Evolution of DHA/EPA Biosynthetic Pathways

Membrane Evolution in a Marine Bacterium: Capitalizing on DHA for Energy Conservation in Seawater

Evolution of DHA Membranes in Human Neurons

General Properties of Omega-3s and Other Membrane Lipids

DHA/EPA Chains as Powerful Membrane Antifreeze

DHA as a Mediocre Permeability Barrier against Cations: Water Wire Theory

DHA/EPA Membranes as Targets of Oxidative Damage

Cellular Biology of Omega-3s and Other Membrane Lipids

Bacteria: Environmental Modulation of Membrane Lipids for Bioenergetic Gain

Chloroplasts: Harnessing DHA/EPA for Harvesting Light in the Sea

Mitochondria: DHA-Cardiolipin Boosts Energy Output

Sperm: Essential Roles of DHA Lead to Development of a Mechanical Stress Hypothesis

Lessons and Applications

DHA/EPA Mutualism between Bacteria and Marine Animals

Membrane Adaptations for an Oily Environment: Lessons from a Petroleum-Degrading Bacterium

Lessons from Yeast: Phospholipid Conformations Are Important in Winemaking

DHA Principle Applied to Global Warming

DHA Principle Applied to Molecular Farming

DHA/Unsaturation Theory of Aging

DHA Principle Applied to Neurodegenerative Diseases

Dietary DHA in Prevention of Colon Cancer: How a Risk to the Cell Benefits the Organism


About the Authors

Raymond C. Valentine is Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Davis and Visiting Scholar in the Marine Science Institute at the University of California in Santa Barbara. David L. Valentine is an associate professor of earth science at the University of California in Santa Barbara.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MEDICAL / Biochemistry
SCIENCE / Chemistry / General
SCIENCE / Life Sciences / Biology / Molecular Biology
SCIENCE / Physics