EU scientists are investigating developing genetically modified feed vegetables engineered to produce healthy long-chain fatty acids, which could nourish broiler chickens and beef cattle.

The idea has come in the EU's Lipgene project, which aims to increase the amount of these acids in human diets.

The acids are found mainly in oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and herring, which many EU consumers eat infrequently.

The project's Professor Johnathan Napier of the UK's Rothamsted Research facility has isolated genes producing such acids from algae and inserted them into linseed and oilseed rape, enabling them to synthesise omega-3 fatty acids.

Similarly modified feed vegetables could be fed to chicken and cattle to produce omega-3 enriched meat, milks and eggs, Napier claims.