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Farmed mussels: A nutritive protein source, rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, with a low environmental footprint

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The world’s ever-growing population presents a major challenge in providing sustainable food options and in reducing pressures on the Earth’s agricultural land and freshwater resources. Current estimates suggest that agriculture contributes ~30% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Additionally, there is an increased demand for animal protein, the production of which is particularly polluting. Therefore, the climate-disrupting potential of feeding the planet is likely to substantially worsen in the future. Due to the nutritional value of animal-based protein, it is not a simple solution to recommend a wholesale reduction in production/consumption of animal proteins. Rather, employing strategies which result in the production of low carbon animal protein may be part of the solution to reduce the GHGs associated with our diets without compromising diet quality. We suggest that farmed mussels may present a partial solution to this dilemma. Mussel production has a relatively low GHG production and does not put undue pressure on land or fresh water supplies. By drawing comparisons to other protein sources using the Australian Food and Nutrient Database and other published data, we demonstrate that they are a sustainable source of high-quality protein, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, phytosterols, and other key micronutrients such as B-12 and iron. The aim of this review is to summarise the current knowledge on the health benefits and potential risks of increasing the consumption of farmed mussels.

History

Journal

Nutrients

Volume

13

Issue

4

Article number

1124

Pagination

1 - 13

Publisher

MDPI

Location

Basel, Switzerland

ISSN

2072-6643

eISSN

2072-6643

Language

English

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal