Sustainable Mussel/bivalves process to produce functional ingredients for health and food applications



A new innovative method with the application of High Pressure to open the shells and collect the meat is proposed. (Traditionally boiling or steam application process is used to open the shells). The main products are mussel powder and mussel oil with the following characteristics: Mussel powder: rich in proteins, amino acids, trace elements with known and proven functional properties for several diseases. Mussel oil: rich in omega-e fatty acids, PUFAs with known and proven health benefits. Both products can also be used as health supplements and/or food/beverage additives. The main advantages are: The process maintains the bioactive compounds (non-thermal process), it is efficient and produces high purity and stable products and byproducts.

Technology Description

In this process there is an application of High Pressure to open the shells and collect the meat. Mussel meat is homogenized to a slurry, followed by addition of stabilizer, freezing and finally freeze dried. Optionally the oil from the freeze dried product can be extracted by super critical CO2. In addition, the shells can be furthered processed to produce CaO, 98.5% purity.

Main advantages

  • Since the process is non thermal, the bioactive compounds of the mussel meat are maintained (minimal or no deterioration of the bioactive compounds)
  • The end products are of high purity and stable (mussel powder and mussel oil)
  • Shells from the preparation stage can be milled and produce a flour that after a process result to a powder of 98% of Cao which is an excellent source of Ca with many uses
  • It is highly efficient process (>95% of the mussels open up) with minimal waste

Stage of development

1. Preparation Stage: use of high pressure to open up the mussels without compromising the bioactive ingredients (95% efficient) 

2. Filtration: Collected meat is homogenized in its own broth and sieved through coarse sieves to remove most of the water and any unwanted (foreign) particles.

3. Freezing/drying: Homogenized slurry is frozen and then freeze-dried. Addition of stabilizers improve the quality.

4. Milling: The resulting freeze-dried mussel meat can be milled into fine powder or used as a raw material for oil extraction.

5. Optionally, the shells from the preparation stage can be milled and produce a flour, an excellent and natural source of Ca with plenty applications in cosmetics and nutraceutical industries.

Challenge and needs

Issues for further development/research:

a) adjustment of the technology to the specific mussel species that will be required

b) complete compositional analysis (protein, lipid, carbohydrate, ash) and analysis of the desired bioactive components (glucosamine, hyaluronic acid, omega-3’s, PUFAs, trace elements etc)

c) nature and concentration of the stabilizer to be added to the mussel

d) freeze drying optimization (time, temperature) to minimize costs and maximize yield

e) optimize high pressure or microwave parameters for opening up shells

Intellectual property

Prior art of patent search has been planned

Potential markets and targets

The proposed process can be used on any kind of mollusks, including small and not marketable mussels. Both the mussel powder and the mussel oil can be sold as is in bulk packaging, or in the form of tablets. The end products will be sold to pharmaceutical, para-pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, cosmetics and food industry.

Target markets will be consumers with special needs such as arthritis, joint problems and in general as a health supplement. It can also be used in food formulations either as an additive to increase the nutritional value of the product or as an anti-freeze additive

Potential markets and targets: Pharmaceutical and nutraceutical companies, Cosmetics, Food industry. Consumers with joint issues and arthritis, general health conscious population

Key competitors: McLab, New Zealand

Potential partners

  • Mussel/Mollusks farmers
  • Mussel/mollusk processing industry
  • Other sea food processing companies
  • Nutraceutical companies


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