Effect of the environment on condition and quality of cultured blue mussels (Mytilus edulis) with reference to culture depth and post-harvest practices

Gallardi, Daria (2016) Effect of the environment on condition and quality of cultured blue mussels (Mytilus edulis) with reference to culture depth and post-harvest practices. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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The condition and quality of cultured blue mussels (Mytilus edulis) are affected by various environmental characteristics including temperature, salinity, food concentration, composition and year-to-year variability, waves, tides, and currents. Mussels are a keystone species in the ecosystem, affecting the surrounding environment through filtration, biodeposition and nutrient recycling. This study evaluated the effects of culture depth and post-harvest handling on cultured blue mussels in Newfoundland, Canada. Depth was examined over two years; three shallow water (5 m depth) and three deep water sites (15 m depth) were compared for environmental characteristics, mussel physiological stress response, growth, and biochemical composition. The area examined presented complex hydrodynamic characteristics; deep water sites appeared to be located more often near or within the pycnocline than shallow water sites. Deep water sites presented lower temperatures than shallow sites from spring to fall. Physiological stress response varied seasonally, but was unaffected by culture depth. In Year 1 shallow and deep water mussels presented similar growth, while in Year 2 deep water mussels showed better final condition. Lipid and glycogen showed seasonal variation, but no significant differences between shallow and deep water were noted. Fatty acid profiles showed a higher content of omega-3s PUFA in deep water sites at the end of Year 2. Under extreme weather conditions, deep water appeared to provide a more stable environment for mussel growth than shallow water. Harvested mussels were kept under ambient live-holding conditions for one month during the fall, winter, and spring seasons. They were compared to freshly harvested mussels for condition, biochemical profile and palatability. A progressive loss of dry tissue weight and an increase in water content were shown over the holding period during the fall and spring seasons, when compared to field controls. The biochemical analysis suggested seasonal changes; differences in triacylglycerol content were found in the spring season when compared with controls. The palatability data indicated that the panellists were unable to determine a difference between mussels kept in holding and those freshly harvested from the site. This study presents new knowledge for mussel farming, especially in terms of environmental interactions and deep water culture.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/11938
Item ID: 11938
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references.
Keywords: Mytilus edulis, Aquaculture, Deep water culture, Live holding, Environment
Department(s): Science, Faculty of > Environmental Science
Date: February 2016
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Mytilus edulis--Effect of stress on; Mytilus edulis--Growth; Mytilus edulis--Composition; Mussel culture; Mytilus edulis fisheries

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