HOME

TheInfoList



OR:

Mussel () is the
common name In biology, a common name of a taxon or organism (also known as a vernacular name, English name, colloquial name, country name, popular name, or farmer's name) is a name that is based on the normal language of everyday life; and is often cont ...
used for members of several families of
bivalve Bivalvia (), in previous centuries referred to as the Lamellibranchiata and Pelecypoda, is a class (biology), class of marine and freshwater Mollusca, molluscs that have laterally compressed bodies enclosed by a shell consisting of two hing ...
mollusc Mollusca is the second-largest phylum of invertebrate animals after the Arthropoda, the members of which are known as molluscs or mollusks (). Around 85,000 extant taxon, extant species of molluscs are recognized. The number of fossil sp ...
s, from saltwater and
freshwater Fresh water or freshwater is any naturally occurring liquid or frozen water Water (chemical formula ) is an Inorganic compound, inorganic, transparent, tasteless, odorless, and Color of water, nearly colorless chemical substance, which ...
habitats. These groups have in common a shell whose outline is elongated and asymmetrical compared with other edible clams, which are often more or less rounded or oval. The word "mussel" is frequently used to mean the bivalves of the marine family
Mytilidae Mytilidae are a family (biology), family of small to large Marine life, marine and Brackish water, brackish-water bivalve molluscs in the order (biology), order Mytilida. One of the genera, ''Limnoperna fortunei, Limnoperna'', even inhabits fresh ...
, most of which live on exposed shores in the intertidal zone, attached by means of their strong byssal threads ("beard") to a firm substrate. A few species (in the genus ''
Bathymodiolus ''Bathymodiolus'' is a genus of deep-sea mussels, marine (ocean), marine bivalve molluscs in the family Mytilidae. Many of them contain intracelluar chemoautotrophic bacterial symbionts. Species Modern (non-fossil) species within the genus ''Bat ...
'') have colonised
hydrothermal vent A hydrothermal vent is a fissure vent, fissure on the seabed from which Geothermal gradient, geothermally heated water discharges. They are commonly found near volcano, volcanically active places, areas where tectonic plates are moving apart at m ...
s associated with deep ocean ridges. In most marine mussels the shell is longer than it is wide, being wedge-shaped or asymmetrical. The external colour of the shell is often dark blue, blackish, or brown, while the interior is silvery and somewhat
nacre Nacre ( , ), also known as mother of pearl, is an organicinorganic composite material produced by some molluscs as an inner seashell, shell layer; it is also the material of which pearls are composed. It is strong, resilient, and Iridescence, ...
ous. The common name "mussel" is also used for many freshwater bivalves, including the
freshwater pearl mussel The freshwater pearl mussel (''Margaritifera margaritifera'') is an endangered species of freshwater mussel, an Aquatic animal, aquatic bivalve mollusc in the family Margaritiferidae. Although the name "freshwater pearl mussel" is often used fo ...
s. Freshwater mussel species inhabit lakes, ponds, rivers, creeks, canals, and they are classified in a different subclass of bivalves, despite some very superficial similarities in appearance. Freshwater
zebra mussels The zebra mussel (''Dreissena polymorpha'') is a small freshwater mussel. The species originates from the lakes of southern Russia and Ukraine, but has been accidentally Introduced species, introduced to numerous other areas and has become an inv ...
and their relatives in the family
Dreissenidae The Dreissenidae are a family of small freshwater mussels, aquatic animal, aquatic bivalve molluscs. They attach themselves to stones or to any other hard surface using a byssus. The shells of these bivalves are shaped somewhat like those of true ...
are not related to previously mentioned groups, even though they resemble many ''Mytilus'' species in shape, and live attached to rocks and other hard surfaces in a similar manner, using a byssus. They are classified with the
Heterodonta Heteroconchia is a Taxonomy (biology), taxonomic infraclass of saltwater clams, marine (ocean), marine bivalve molluscs, belonging to the subclass Autobranchia This infraclass includes the edible clams, the cockle (bivalve), cockles and the Venu ...
, the taxonomic group which includes most of the bivalves commonly referred to as "clams".


General anatomy

The mussel's external shell is composed of two hinged halves or "valves". The valves are joined together on the outside by a ligament, and are closed when necessary by strong internal muscles (anterior and posterior adductor muscles). Mussel shells carry out a variety of functions, including support for soft tissues, protection from predators and protection against desiccation. The shell has three layers. In the pearly mussels there is an inner iridescent layer of
nacre Nacre ( , ), also known as mother of pearl, is an organicinorganic composite material produced by some molluscs as an inner seashell, shell layer; it is also the material of which pearls are composed. It is strong, resilient, and Iridescence, ...
(mother-of-pearl) composed of
calcium carbonate Calcium carbonate is a chemical compound with the Chemical formula, formula . It is a common substance found in Rock (geology), rocks as the minerals calcite and aragonite (most notably as limestone, which is a type of sedimentary rock consisti ...
, which is continuously secreted by the mantle; the prismatic layer, a middle layer of chalky white crystals of calcium carbonate in a protein matrix; and the
periostracum The periostracum ( ) is a thin, organic coating (or "skin") that is the outermost layer of the animal shell, shell of many shelled animals, including molluscs and brachiopods. Among molluscs, it is primarily seen in snails and clams, i.e. in ...
, an outer pigmented layer resembling a skin. The periostracum is composed of a protein called conchin, and its function is to protect the prismatic layer from abrasion and dissolution by acids (especially important in freshwater forms where the decay of leaf materials produces acids). Like most bivalves, mussels have a large organ called a foot. In freshwater mussels, the foot is large, muscular, and generally hatchet-shaped. It is used to pull the animal through the substrate (typically sand, gravel, or silt) in which it lies partially buried. It does this by repeatedly advancing the foot through the substrate, expanding the end so it serves as an anchor, and then pulling the rest of the animal with its shell forward. It also serves as a fleshy anchor when the animal is stationary. In marine mussels, the foot is smaller, tongue-like in shape, with a groove on the ventral surface which is continuous with the byssus pit. In this pit, a viscous secretion is exuded, entering the groove and hardening gradually upon contact with sea water. This forms extremely tough, strong, elastic, byssal threads that secure the mussel to its substrate allowing it to remain
sessile Sessility, or sessile, may refer to: * Sessility (motility), organisms which are not able to move about * Sessility (botany), flowers or leaves that grow directly from the stem or peduncle of a plant * Sessility (medicine), tumors and polyps that ...
in areas of high flow. The byssal thread is also sometimes used by mussels as a defensive measure, to tether predatory molluscs, such as
dog whelk The dog whelk, dogwhelk, or Atlantic dogwinkle (''Nucella lapillus'') is a species of predatory sea snail, a carnivorous marine gastropod in the family Muricidae, the rock snails. ''Nucella lapillus'' was originally described by Carl Linnaeus in ...
s, that invade mussel beds, immobilising them and thus starving them to death. In cooking, the
byssus A byssus () is a bundle of filaments secreted by many species of bivalve mollusc that function to attach the mollusc to a solid surface. Species from several families of clams have a byssus, including pen shells (Pinnidae), true mussels (Mytilid ...
of the mussel is known as the "beard" and is removed during preparation, often after cooking when the mussel has opened.


Life habits


Feeding

Both marine and freshwater mussels are
filter feeders Filter feeders are a sub-group of suspension feeding animals that feed by straining suspended matter and food particles from water, typically by passing the water over a specialized filtering structure. Some animals that use this method of feedin ...
; they feed on
plankton Plankton are the diverse collection of organisms found in water (or air) that are unable to propel themselves against a current (or wind). The individual organisms constituting plankton are called plankters. In the ocean, they provide a cru ...
and other microscopic sea creatures which are free-floating in seawater. A mussel draws water in through its incurrent siphon. The water is then brought into the branchial chamber by the actions of the
cilia The cilium, plural cilia (), is a membrane-bound organelle found on most types of eukaryote, eukaryotic Cell (biology), cell, and certain microorganisms known as ciliates. Cilia are absent in bacteria and archaea. The cilium has the shape of a ...
located on the
gill A gill () is a respiration organ, respiratory organ that many aquatic ecosystem, aquatic organisms use to extract dissolved oxygen from water and to excrete carbon dioxide. The gills of some species, such as hermit crabs, have adapted to allow r ...
s for ciliary-mucus feeding. The wastewater exits through the excurrent siphon. The labial palps finally funnel the food into the mouth, where digestion begins. Marine mussels are usually found clumping together on wave-washed rocks, each attached to the rock by its byssus. The clumping habit helps hold the mussels firm against the force of the waves. At low tide mussels in the middle of a clump will undergo less water loss because of water capture by the other mussels.


Reproduction

Both marine and freshwater mussels are gonochoristic, with separate male and female individuals. In marine mussels, fertilization occurs outside the body, with a larval stage that drifts for three weeks to six months, before settling on a hard surface as a young mussel. There, it is capable of moving slowly by means of attaching and detaching byssal threads to attain a better life position. Freshwater mussels reproduce sexually. Sperm is released by the male directly into the water and enters the female via the incurrent siphon. After fertilization, the eggs develop into a larval stage called a glochidium (plural glochidia), which temporarily parasitizes fish, attaching themselves to the fish's fins or gills. Prior to their release, the glochidia grow in the gills of the female mussel where they are constantly flushed with oxygen-rich water. In some species, release occurs when a fish attempts to attack the mussel's minnow or other mantle flaps shaped like prey; an example of
aggressive mimicry Aggressive mimicry is a form of mimicry in which predation, predators, parasites, or parasitoids share similar signalling theory, signals, using a harmless model, allowing them to avoid being correctly identified by their prey or host (biology ...
. Glochidia are generally species-specific, and will only live if they find the correct fish host. Once the larval mussels attach to the fish, the fish body reacts to cover them with cells forming a
cyst A cyst is a closed sac, having a distinct envelope and cell division, division compared with the nearby Biological tissue, tissue. Hence, it is a cluster of Cell (biology), cells that have grouped together to form a sac (like the manner in which ...
, where the glochidia remain for two to five weeks (depending on temperature). They grow, break free from the host, and drop to the bottom of the water to begin an independent life.


Predators

Marine mussels are eaten by humans,
starfish Starfish or sea stars are Star polygon, star-shaped echinoderms belonging to the class (biology), class Asteroidea (). Common usage frequently finds these names being also applied to brittle star, ophiuroids, which are correctly referred to ...
, seabirds, and by numerous species of
predatory Predation is a biological interaction where one organism, the predator, kills and eats another organism, its prey. It is one of a family of common List of feeding behaviours, feeding behaviours that includes parasitism and micropredation (wh ...
marine
gastropod The gastropods (), commonly known as snails and slugs, belong to a large Taxonomy (biology), taxonomic class (taxonomy), class of invertebrates within the phylum Mollusca called Gastropoda (). This class comprises snails and slugs from saltwater ...
s in the family
Muricidae Muricidae is a large and varied taxonomic family Family (from la, familia) is a Social group, group of people related either by consanguinity (by recognized birth) or Affinity (law), affinity (by marriage or other relationship). The purpos ...
, such as the
dog whelk The dog whelk, dogwhelk, or Atlantic dogwinkle (''Nucella lapillus'') is a species of predatory sea snail, a carnivorous marine gastropod in the family Muricidae, the rock snails. ''Nucella lapillus'' was originally described by Carl Linnaeus in ...
, ''Nucella lapillus''. Freshwater mussels are eaten by muskrats, otters, raccoons, ducks, baboons, humans, and geese.


Distribution and habitat

Marine mussels are abundant in the low and mid intertidal zone in temperate seas globally. Other species of marine mussel live in tropical intertidal areas, but not in the same huge numbers as in temperate zones. Certain species of marine mussels prefer salt marshes or quiet bays, while others thrive in pounding surf, completely covering wave-washed rocks. Some species have colonized abyssal depths near
hydrothermal vents A hydrothermal vent is a fissure vent, fissure on the seabed from which Geothermal gradient, geothermally heated water discharges. They are commonly found near volcano, volcanically active places, areas where tectonic plates are moving apart at m ...
. The South African white mussel exceptionally does not bind itself to rocks but burrows into sandy beaches extending two tubes above the sand surface for ingestion of food and water and exhausting wastes. Freshwater mussels inhabit permanent lakes, rivers, canals and streams throughout the world except in the polar regions. They require a constant source of cool, clean water. They prefer water with a substantial mineral content, using calcium carbonate to build their shells.


Aquaculture

In 2005, China accounted for 40% of the global mussel catch according to a FAO study. Within Europe, where mussels have been cultivated for centuries, Spain remained the industry leader. Aquaculture of mussels in North America began in the 1970s. In the US, the northeast and northwest have significant mussel aquaculture operations, where ''Mytilus edulis'' (blue mussel) is most commonly grown. While the mussel industry in the US has increased, in North America, 80% of cultured mussels are produced in
Prince Edward Island Prince Edward Island (PEI; ) is one of the thirteen Provinces and territories of Canada, provinces and territories of Canada. It is the smallest province in terms of land area and population, but the most densely populated. The island has seve ...
in Canada. In
Washington state Washington (), officially the State of Washington, is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The ...
, an estimated 2.9 million pounds of mussels were harvested in 2010, valued at roughly $4.3M. In New Zealand, Perna canaliculus (the New Zealand green-lipped mussel), industry produces over 140,000 metric tons (150,000 short tons) annually and in 2009 was valued in excess of NZ$250 million.


Culture methods

Freshwater mussels are used as host animals for the cultivation of freshwater pearls. Some species of marine mussel, including the
blue mussel The blue mussel (''Mytilus edulis''), also known as the common mussel, is a medium-sized edible marine bivalve Bivalvia (), in previous centuries referred to as the Lamellibranchiata and Pelecypoda, is a class (biology), class of marine ...
(''Mytilus edulis'') and the New Zealand green-lipped mussel (''Perna canaliculus''), are also cultivated as a source of food. In some areas of the world, mussel farmers collect naturally occurring marine mussel seed for transfer to more appropriate growing areas, however, most North American mussel farmers rely on hatchery-produced seed. Growers typically purchase seed after it has set (about 1mm in size) or after it has been nursed in upwellers for 3-6 additional weeks and is 2-3mm. The seed is then typically reared in a nursery environment, where it is transferred to a material with a suitable surface for later relocation to the growing area. After about three months in the nursery, mussel seed is "socked" (placed in a tube-like mesh material) and hung on longlines or rafts for grow-out. Within a few days, the mussels migrate to the outside of the sock for better access food sources in the water column. Mussels grow quickly and are usually ready for harvest in less than two years. Unlike other cultured bivalves, mussels use byssus threads (beard) to attach themselves to any firm substrate, which makes them suitable for a number of culture methods. There are a variety of techniques for growing mussels. * Bouchot culture: Intertidal growth technique, or bouchot technique: pilings, known in French as bouchots, are planted at sea; ropes, on which the mussels grow, are tied in a spiral on the pilings; some mesh netting prevents the mussels from falling away. This method needs an extended tidal zone. * On-bottom culture: On-bottom culture is based on the principle of transferring mussel seed (spat) from areas where they have settled naturally to areas where they can be placed in lower densities to increase growth rates, facilitate harvest, and control predation (Mussel farmers must remove predators and macroalgae during the growth cycle). * Raft culture: Raft culture is a commonly used method throughout the world. Lines of rope mesh socks are seeded with young mussels and suspended vertically from a raft. The specific length of the socks depends on depth and food availability. * Longline culture (rope culture): Mussels are cultivated extensively in New Zealand, where the most common method is to attach mussels to ropes which are hung from a rope back-bone supported by large plastic floats. The most common species cultivated in New Zealand is the New Zealand green-lipped mussel. Longline culture is the most recent development for mussel culture and are often used as an alternative to raft culture in areas that are more exposed to high wave energy. A long-line is suspended by a series of small anchored floats and ropes or socks of mussels are then suspended vertically from the line.


Harvest

In roughly 12–15 months, mussels reach marketable size (40mm) and are ready for harvest. Harvesting methods depend on the grow-out area and the rearing method being used. Dredges are currently used for on-bottom culture. Mussels grown on wooden poles can be harvested by hand or with a hydraulic powered system. For raft and longline culture, a platform is typically lowered under the mussel lines, which are then cut from the system and brought to the surface and dumped into containers on a nearby vessel. After harvest, mussels are typically placed in seawater tanks to rid them of impurities before marketing.


Mussel-inspired materials

Byssal threads, used to anchor mussels to substrates, are now recognized as superior bonding agents. A number of studies have investigated mussel "glues" for industrial and surgical applications. Further, mussel adhesive proteins inspired the design of peptide mimics that were well studied for surface bioengineering of medical implants. Self-assembling mussel-inspired peptides were also shown to form functional nanostructures. Also, a peptide derived from mussel foot protein-5, a key protein in mussel adhesion, displayed antibacterial properties and served as inspiration for the design of a new class of peptide-based antibacterial adhesive hydrogels, which are active against drug-resistant Gram-positive bacteria. Additionally byssal threads have provided insight into the construction of artificial tendons.


Environmental applications

Mussels are widely used as bio-indicators to monitor the health of aquatic environments in both fresh water and the marine environments. They are particularly useful since they are distributed worldwide and they are sessile. These characteristics ensure that they are representative of the environment where they are sampled or placed. Their population status or structure, physiology
behaviour
or the level of contamination with elements or compounds can indicate the status of the ecosystem.


Mussels and nutrient mitigation

Marine nutrient bioextraction is the practice of farming and harvesting marine organisms such as shellfish and seaweed for the purpose of reducing
nutrient pollution Nutrient pollution, a form of water pollution, refers to contamination by excessive inputs of nutrients. It is a primary cause of eutrophication of surface waters (lakes, rivers and Coast, coastal waters), in which excess nutrients, usually nitro ...
. Mussels and other bivalve shellfish consume phytoplankton containing nutrients such as
nitrogen Nitrogen is the chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol N and atomic number 7. Nitrogen is a nonmetal and the lightest member of pnictogen, group 15 of the periodic table, often called the pnictogens. It is a common element in the ...
(N) and
phosphorus Phosphorus is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol P and atomic number 15. Elemental phosphorus exists in two major forms, white phosphorus and red phosphorus, but because it is highly Reactivity (chemistry), reactive, phosphor ...
(P). On average, one live mussel is 1.0% N and 0.1% P. When the mussels are harvested and removed, these nutrients are also removed from the system and recycled in the form of seafood or mussel biomass, which can be used as an organic fertilizer or animal feed-additive. These
ecosystem services Ecosystem services are the many and varied benefits to humans provided by the natural environment and healthy ecosystems. Such ecosystems include, for example, agroecosystems, forest ecosystem, grassland ecosystems, and aquatic ecosystems. Th ...
provided by mussels are of particular interest to those hoping to mitigate excess anthropogenic marine nutrients, particularly in eutrophic marine systems. While mussel aquaculture is actually promoted in some countries such as Sweden as a water management strategy to address coastal eutrophication, mussel farming as a nutrient mitigation tool is still in its infancy in most parts of the world. Ongoing efforts in the Baltic Sea (Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Poland) and Long Island Sound and Puget Sound in the U.S. are currently examining nutrient uptake, cost-effectiveness, and potential environmental impacts of mussel farming as a means to mitigate excess nutrients and complement traditional wastewater treatment programs.


Conservation


Freshwater mussels

In the United States and Canada, areas home to the most diverse freshwater mussel fauna in the world, there are 297 known freshwater mussel taxa. Of the 297 known species, 213 (71.7%) taxa are listed as endangered, threatened, of special concern. The main factors contributing to the decline of freshwater mussels include destruction from dams, increased siltation, channel modification, and the introduction of invasive species like the
zebra mussel The zebra mussel (''Dreissena polymorpha'') is a small freshwater mussel. The species originates from the lakes of southern Russia and Ukraine, but has been accidentally Introduced species, introduced to numerous other areas and has become an inv ...
.


As food

Humans have used mussels as food for thousands of years. About 17 species are edible, of which the most commonly eaten are ''
Mytilus edulis The blue mussel (''Mytilus edulis''), also known as the common mussel, is a medium-sized edible marine (ocean), marine bivalve mollusc in the family (biology), family Mytilidae, the mussels. Blue mussels are subject to commercial use and intensiv ...
, M. galloprovincialis, M. trossulus'' and '' Perna canaliculus''. Freshwater mussels are nowadays generally considered unpalatable and are almost entirely not consumed, although the native peoples of North America ate them extensively and still do today. In the United States during the Second World War, mussels were commonly served in diners and eateries across the country. This was due to the lack of access to red meat (such as beef and pork) for the general public, in relation to the aspect of the American wartime rationing policy concerning food, with much of the meat available being sent to aid the US military's war efforts abroad. Instead, mussels became a popular substitute for most meats (with the exception of chicken). In Belgium, the Netherlands, and France, mussels are consumed with
French fries French fries (North American English), chips (British English), finger chips (Indian English), french-fried potatoes, or simply fries, are ''List of culinary knife cuts#Batonnet, batonnet'' or ''allumette''-cut deep frying, deep-fried potato ...
(''mosselen met friet'' or ''
moules-frites ''Moules-frites'' or ''moules et frites'' (]; nl, mosselen-friet) is a main dish of mussels and French fries originating in Belgium. The title of the dish is French language, French, ''moules'' meaning mussels and ''frites'' fries, with the Dut ...
'') or bread. In Belgium, mussels are sometimes served with fresh herbs and flavorful vegetables in a stock of butter and white wine. French fries, Fries and
Belgian beer Beer in Belgium includes pale ales, lambics, Flanders red ale, Flemish red ales, sour Oud bruin, brown ales, strong ales and Stout (beer), stouts. In 2018, there were 304 active breweries in Belgium, including international companies, such as A ...
sometimes are accompaniments. A similar style of preparation is commonly found in the
Rhineland The Rhineland (german: Rheinland; french: Rhénanie; nl, Rijnland; ksh, Rhingland; Latinised name: ''Rhenania'') is a loosely defined area of Western Germany along the Rhine, chiefly Middle Rhine, its middle section. Term Historically, th ...
where mussels are customarily served in restaurants with a side of dark bread in "months containing an R", that is between September and April. In the Netherlands, mussels are sometimes served fried in batter or
breadcrumbs Bread crumbs or breadcrumbs (regional variants including breading and crispies) consist of crumbled bread Bread is a staple food prepared from a dough of flour (usually wheat) and water, usually by baking. Throughout recorded history and ...
, particularly at
take-out A take-out or takeout (U.S., Canada, and the Philippines); carry-out or to-go (Scotland and some dialects in the U.S. and Canada); takeaway (England, Wales, Australia, Lebanon, South Africa, Northern Ireland, Ireland, and occasionally in Nort ...
food outlets or informal settings. In France, the ''Éclade des Moules'', or, locally, ''Terré de Moules'', is a mussel bake that can be found along the beaches of the
Bay of Biscay The Bay of Biscay (), known in Spain as the Gulf of Biscay ( es, Golfo de Vizcaya, eu, Bizkaiko Golkoa), and in France and some border regions as the Gulf of Gascony (french: Golfe de Gascogne, oc, Golf de Gasconha, br, Pleg-mor Gwaskogn), ...
. In Italy, mussels are mixed with other seafood; they are most commonly eaten steamed, sometimes with white wine, herbs, and served with the remaining water and some lemon. In Spain, they are consumed mostly steamed, sometimes boiling white wine, onion and herbs, and served with the remaining water and some lemon. They can also be eaten as ''tigres'', a sort of
croquette A croquette is a deep-fried roll consisting of a thick binder combined with a filling, which is Bread crumbs, breaded and Deep-frying, deep-fried; it is served as a side dish, a snack, or fast food worldwide. The binder is typically a thick b ...
using the mussel meat, shrimps and other pieces of fish in a thick bechamel then breaded and fried in the clean mussel shell. They are used in other sort of dishes such as rices or soups or commonly eaten canned in a
pickling Pickling is the process of food preservation, preserving or extending the shelf life of food by either Anaerobic organism, anaerobic fermentation (food), fermentation in brine or immersion in vinegar. The pickling procedure typically affects th ...
brine made of oil, vinegar, peppercorns, bay leaves and paprika. In Turkey, mussels are either covered with flour and fried on skewers ('' midye tava''), or filled with rice and served cold ( ''midye dolma'') and are usually consumed after alcohol (mostly raki or beer). They are used in Ireland boiled and seasoned with vinegar, with the "bray" or boiling water as a supplementary hot drink. In
Cantonese cuisine Cantonese or Guangdong cuisine, also known as Yue cuisine ( or ) is the cuisine of Guangdong, Guangdong province of China, particularly the provincial capital Guangzhou, and the surrounding regions in the Pearl River Delta including Hong Kong ...
, mussels are cooked in a broth of garlic and fermented black bean. In New Zealand, they are served in a chilli or garlic-based
vinaigrette Vinaigrette ( , ) is made by mixture, mixing an oil with a mild acid such as vinegar or lemon juice (citric acid). The mixture can be enhanced with salt, herbs and/or spices. It is used most commonly as a salad dressing, but can also be used as ...
, processed into fritters and fried, or used as the base for a
chowder Chowder is a thick soup prepared with milk or cream, a roux, and seafood or vegetables. Oyster crackers or saltine cracker, saltines may accompany chowders as a side item, and cracker pieces may be dropped atop the dish. New England clam chow ...
. In Brazil, it is common to see mussels being cooked and served with olive oil, usually accompanied by onion, garlic and other herbs. The plate is very popular among tourists and low classes, probably because of the hot climate that favours mussels reproduction. In India, mussels are popular in
Kerala Kerala ( ; ) is a States and union territories of India, state on the Malabar Coast of India. It was formed on 1 November 1956, following the passage of the States Reorganisation Act, by combining Malayalam-speaking regions of the erstwhile ...
,
Maharashtra Maharashtra (; , abbr. MH or Maha) is a states and union territories of India, state in the western India, western peninsular region of India occupying a substantial portion of the Deccan Plateau. Maharashtra is the List of states and union te ...
,
Karnataka Karnataka (; ISO 15919, ISO: , , also known as Karunāḍu) is a States and union territories of India, state in the southwestern region of India. It was Unification of Karnataka, formed on 1 November 1956, with the passage of the States Reor ...
-
Bhatkal Bhatkal, is a coastal town in the Uttara Kannada District of the Indian state of Karnataka. Bhatkal lies on National Highway 66 (India), National Highway 66, which runs between Mumbai and Kanyakumari, and has Bhatkal railway station which is ...
, and
Goa Goa () is a States and union territories of India, state on the southwestern coast of India within the Konkan region, geographically separated from the Deccan Plateau, Deccan highlands by the Western Ghats. It is located between the Indian st ...
. They are either prepared with drumsticks,
breadfruit Breadfruit (''Artocarpus altilis'') is a species of Flowering plant, flowering tree in the morus (plant), mulberry and jackfruit family (Moraceae) believed to be a domesticated plant, domesticated descendant of ''Artocarpus camansi'' originating ...
or other vegetables, or filled with rice and coconut paste with spices and served hot. Fried mussels ('Kadukka' കടുക്ക in
Malayalam Malayalam (; , ) is a Dravidian languages, Dravidian language spoken in the Indian state of Kerala and the union territories of Lakshadweep and Puducherry (union territory), Puducherry (Mahé district) by the Malayali people. It is one of 2 ...
) of north Kerala especially in
Thalassery Thalassery (), formerly Tellicherry, is a municipality, Commercial City on the Malabar Coast in Kannur district, in the state of Kerala, India, bordered by the List of districts of India, districts of Mahé, India, Mahé (Pondicherry), Kozhikode ...
are a spicy, favored delicacy. In coastal
Karnataka Karnataka (; ISO 15919, ISO: , , also known as Karunāḍu) is a States and union territories of India, state in the southwestern region of India. It was Unification of Karnataka, formed on 1 November 1956, with the passage of the States Reor ...
Beary The Beary (also known as Byari) is a community concentrated along the southwest coast of India, mostly in the Mangalore district of the south India South India, also known as Dakshina Bharata or Peninsular India, consists of the pen ...
's prepare special rice ball stuffed with spicy fried mussels and steamed locally known as "pachilede pindi".


Preparation

Mussels can be smoked, boiled, steamed, roasted, barbecued or fried in butter or vegetable oil. As with all
shellfish Shellfish is a colloquial and fisheries term for exoskeleton-bearing Aquatic animal, aquatic invertebrates used as food, including various species of Mollusca, molluscs, crustaceans, and echinoderms. Although most kinds of shellfish are harveste ...
, except shrimp, mussels should be checked to ensure they are still alive just before they are cooked; enzymes quickly break down the meat and make them unpalatable or poisonous after dying or uncooked. Some mussels might contain toxins. A simple criterion is that live mussels, when in the air, will shut tightly when disturbed. Open, unresponsive mussels are dead, and must be discarded. Unusually heavy, wild-caught, closed mussels may be discarded as they may contain only mud or sand. (They can be tested by slightly opening the shell halves.) A thorough rinse in water and removal of "the beard" is suggested. Mussel shells usually open when cooked, revealing the cooked soft parts. Historically, it has been believed that after cooking all the mussels should have opened and those that have not are not safe to eat and should be discarded. However, according to marine biologist Nick Ruello, this advice may have arisen from an old, poorly researched cookbook's advice, which has now become an assumed truism for all shellfish. Ruello found 11.5% of all mussels failed to open during cooking, but when forced open, 100% were "both adequately cooked and safe to eat." Although mussels are valued as food, mussel poisoning due to toxic planktonic organisms can be a danger along some coastlines. For instance, mussels should be avoided during the warmer months along the west coast of the United States. This poisoning is usually due to a bloom of
dinoflagellate The dinoflagellates (Greek language, Greek δῖνος ''dinos'' "whirling" and Latin language, Latin ''flagellum'' "whip, scourge") are a monophyletic group of single-celled eukaryotes constituting the phylum Dinoflagellata and are usually consid ...
s (red tides), which contain toxins. The dinoflagellates and their toxin are harmless to mussels, even when concentrated by the mussel's filter feeding, but the concentrated toxins cause serious illness if the mussels are consumed by humans, including
paralytic shellfish poisoning Paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) is one of the four recognized syndromes of shellfish poisoning, which share some common features and are primarily associated with Bivalvia, bivalve mollusks (such as mussels, clams, oysters and scallops). These ...
. A person affected in this way after eating mussels is said to be ''musselled''.


Nutrition highlights

*Excellent source of:
selenium Selenium is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Se and atomic number 34. It is a nonmetal (more rarely considered a metalloid) with properties that are intermediate between the elements above and below in the periodic table, su ...
(44.8 µg), and
vitamin B12 Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin A vitamin is an organic molecule (or a set of molecules closely related chemically, i.e. vitamers) that is an Nutrient#Essential nutrients, essential micronutrient that ...
(12 µg) *Good source of:
zinc Zinc is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Zn and atomic number 30. Zinc is a slightly brittle metal at room temperature and has a shiny-greyish appearance when oxidation is removed. It is the first element in group 12 eleme ...
(1.6 mg), and
folate Folate, also known as vitamin B9 and folacin, is one of the B vitamins. Manufactured folic acid, which is converted into folate by the body, is used as a dietary supplement and in food fortification as it is more stable during processing and ...
(42 µg) Foods that are an "excellent source" of a particular nutrient provide 20% or more of the recommended daily value. Foods that are a "good source" of a particular nutrient provide between 10 and 20% of the recommended daily value.


See also

*
Brachiopod Brachiopods (), phylum (biology), phylum Brachiopoda, are a phylum of trochozoan animals that have hard "valves" (shells) on the upper and lower surfaces, unlike the left and right arrangement in bivalve molluscs. Brachiopod valves are hinged at ...
*
Oyster Oyster is the common name for a number of different families of Seawater, salt-water bivalve molluscs that live in Marine (ocean), marine or Brackish water, brackish habitats. In some species, the valves are highly calcified, and many are somew ...
*
California mussel The California mussel (''Mytilus californianus'') is a large edible mussel, a Marine (ocean), marine bivalve mollusc, mollusk in the family Mytilidae. This species is native to the west coast of North America, occurring from northern Mexico to ...
* Dwarf wedgemussel *
Water purification Water purification is the process of removing undesirable chemicals, biological contaminants, suspended solids, and gases from water. The goal is to produce water that is fit for specific purposes. Most water is purified and disinfected for hu ...


References


External links


The MUSSEL Project - Hosted by The University of Alabama and Funded by The National Science Foundation

MolluSCAN eye
online biomonitoring project hosted by the University of Bordeaux and the CNRS








Nutrition Facts for Mussels
{{Edible molluscs Belgian cuisine Greek cuisine Commercial molluscs Articles containing video clips Mollusc common names