Are Mussels Ok On Peat Diet?


Jul 13, 2014
I can get mussels really cheap and they're really delicious. Are they a good alternative to oysters?


Feb 7, 2013
Joeyd said:
I can get mussels really cheap and they're really delicious. Are they a good alternative to oysters?
Mussels are great but not a good alternative if you're eating oysters for zinc and copper.

If you check on Cronometer you can see the difference in their nutritional profile.
Both are terrific for B12 and selenium.


May 26, 2018

Environmental Chemistry for a Sustainable World pp 311-373 | Cite as

Heavy Metals in Seafood Mussels. Risks for Human Health
  • Slavka Stankovic
  • Mihajlo Jovic
  • Ana R. Stankovic
  • Lynne Katsikas
  • Slavka Stankovic
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mihajlo Jovic
    • 1
  • Ana R. Stankovic
    • 1
  • Lynne Katsikas
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Technology and MetallurgyUniversity of BelgradeBelgradeSerbia
First Online: 01 November 2011
Part of the Environmental Chemistry for a Sustainable World book series (ECSW)


Life on earth is threatened both by environmental pollution and overpopulation. Natural phenomena contributing to pollution have always existed but anthropogenic activities are increasing contamination of air, soil and water. Waters are especially polluted by metals. The main threats to life from toxic metals are associated with exposure to Pb, Cd, Hg and As, which accumulate in organisms. Overpopulation means more food is required but the amount of arable land is declining due to human requirements. One way of overcoming these consequences of overpopulation is to exploit seas and oceans. Thus, the consumption of seafood has increased in recent years, especially in coastal regions. However, as many traditional fishing grounds have been over-fished, aquaculture seems a viable solution to these problems. Marine mussels are an excellent candidate for aquaculture. However mussels accumulate a wide range of metals in their soft tissue. Thus, the determination of the concentrations of potentially toxic substances in mussels is essential because of their usage as seafood and the potential adverse effects of their consumption on human health. Moreover, as contamination by metal pollutants continues and is even increasing in some parts of the world, particularly in less developed countries, it is also important to determine the level of pollution in the marine environment, especially in regions where aquaculture is foreseen and where the local population consumes large amounts of mussels.

In this review, these issues are presented and discussed using the Mediterranean mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis as an example. When this mussel is in its best condition, the meat weight can approach 50% of the total wet weight, i.e., M. galloprovincialis is very efficient at converting low value victuals into high quality animal protein. For all these reasons, M. galloprovincialis is an ideal candidate in attempts to alleviate famine through aquaculture. Mussel farming is a relatively “clean” operation because no pollutants are released into the environment. The mussels remove suspended materials from the water column, thereby improving the local water quality. However mussels accumulate metals. Metal concentrations in M. galloprovincialis are valuable indicators of contamination of coastal and estuarine ecosystems. “Mussel Watch”, introduced in 1975, is the longest continuous contaminant monitoring program of coastal waters for assessing spatial and temporal trends in coastal contamination, providing a baseline for assessing the impacts of anthropogenic and natural events and identifying contamination hot spots.

In Europe, the production of cultivated mussels is almost five times higher than wild collected mussels. Recently, the production of M. galloprovincialis in Europe has been increasing rapidly in Greece and Turkey but Spain is still the largest producer of mussels in Europe. The production of the mussel M. galloprovincialis in Spain is about 25% to the total world production, over 200,000 t y−1. Only China has a larger production of these mussels than Spain, about 600,000 t y−1. However, the bioaccumulation of toxic contaminents, mainly Cd, Pb, Hg and As, remains an issue concerning the consumption of mussels. A review of literature data revealed large variations in the Cd, Pb, Hg and As concentrations in M. galloprovincialis from their endemic areas, e.g., Mediterranean, Adriatic and Black Sea and that the concentrations of these toxic metals were generally in the following order: As > Pb > Cd > Hg. The levels of Cd, Pb and Hg were the lowest in mussels from the Aegean Sea, compared to the others investigated Seas, but a very high level of As was found.

The guidelines on the trace elements for seafood safety set by different countries and associations are reviewed. The defined legal limits on permissible concentrations of non-essential elements that are toxic in traces, such as Cd, Pb, Hg and As, in mussels on a wet weight basis in mg/kg are in the ranges: for Cd from 0.1 to 4.0; for Pb from 1.0 to 6.0; for Hg from 0.05 to 10 mg/kg and for As from 0.5 to 86 mg/kg. The reviewed Provisional Tolerable Weekly Intake values appear to support the conclusion that risk to human health from dietary exposure to the investigated elements from Mediterranean mussels is relatively low. Comparison of the published data with European legislation showed that the levels of Cd, Pb and Hg generally did not exceed the existing limits in all the mussels analyzed, excluding mussels from hot spots, such as lagoons and harbors in the Mediteranean, Adriatic and Black Sea.

Overall, the assessment that the investigated toxic elements may pose a health risk to heavy mussel consumers, especially related to the levels of Pb and Cd in M. galloprovincialis from hot spots in the all investigated Seas. Although consumption of these mussels provides proteins, essential minerals and vitamins, and thus, some protection from certain diseases, the risks and benefits of their consumption are still hard to assess because of the metals bioacumulated from the marine environment, with their reviewed toxicity. The final conclusion of this review is that M. galloprovincialis is an excellent candidate for aquaculture but that extreme care must be taken when choosing the location of farms. Care should also be taken by coastal populations when consuming wild mussels from contamination hot spots.

Stankovic S., Jovic M., Stankovic A.R., Katsikas L. (2012) Heavy Metals in Seafood Mussels. Risks for Human Health. In: Lichtfouse E., Schwarzbauer J., Robert D. (eds) Environmental Chemistry for a Sustainable World. Environmental Chemistry for a Sustainable World. Springer, Dordrecht


Monitoring heavy metals using mussels
September 22, 2014, Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM)

Perna viridis mussels. Credit: Wikipedia
A research team in Malaysia has concluded that caged mussels are useful for monitoring heavy metal contamination in coastal waters in the Strait of Johore. Initial results indicate more pollution in the eastern part of the Johore Strait.

A research team in Malaysia has concluded that caged mussels are useful for monitoring heavy metal contamination in coastal waters in the Strait of Johore. Transplanted or caged mussels have previously been used in Argentina, the Mediterranean Sea, Boston Harbour, and the South Pacific to identify areas of metal pollution.

The researchers, who published their findings in the Pertanika Journal of Science and Technology, used caged mussels (Perna viridis) transplanted from relatively clean waters of the Strait of Johore to assess heavy metal concentrations in a more polluted stretch. An important area for fishing and aquaculture, the Johore Strait separates the Malaysian state of Johore from Singapore.

The study showed that the eastern part of the Strait was significantly more polluted with cadmium, copper, iron, nickel, lead and zinc than the western part. It also found that the byssus or external filaments of P. viridis are particularly effective biomonitors of cadmium, nickel, lead and zinc, while the mussel's shell can be used to monitor copper, nickel and lead.

Zinc accumulated the fastest in the transplanted mussels, while cadmium accumulated the slowest.

According to the researchers, marine mussels are suitable for transplantation experiments because they are inexpensive and reliable.

In addition, P. viridis:

• has a sedentary lifestyle;
• has enough tissues for metal analysis;
• is a suspension feeder;
• is tolerant of high heavy metal concentrations; and
• is prone to bioaccumulate and magnify such metals.

Explore further: Study shows transfer of heavy metals from water to fish in Huelva estuary

More information: Eugene Ng, Y.J., Yap, C.K., Zakaria, M.P. and Tan, S.G. (2013) Assessment of Heavy Metal Pollution in the Straits of Johore by Using Transplanted Caged Mussel, Perna viridis. Pertanika Journal of Science and Technology 21 (1): 75-96. Link to the research paper on Pertanika Journal of Science and Technology: … p?journal=JST-21-1-1

Read more at:
Last edited:


May 26, 2018
Does anyone have anything to share about the safety of mussels, as food?


Jul 3, 2017
In addition to the heavy metals (I've no idea if the accepted limits in the study above are actually tolerable) Mussels also contain microplastics.

Edit: just to add, mussels aren't a special exception here. Oysters and other bivalves will have the same problem with heavy metals and microplastics. If others are having no problems eating large amounts of oysters, then mussels should be perfectly fine.
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