Reports

Ratio of meat, fat and bones in lamb meat – Chemical content of lamb meat and by-products 

Published:

15/12/2023

Authors:

Óli Þór Hilmarsson, Ólafur Reykdal, Guðjón Þorkelsson, Helgi Briem and Hafliði Halldórsson

Supported by:

Icelandic Food Innovation Fund (is. Matvælasjóður)

Contact

Ólafur Reykdal

Project Manager

olafur.reykdal@matis.is

In the project, an assessment was made of the ratio of meat, fat and bones in lamb meat. Carcasses from the meat evaluation categories O-2, R-2, R-3, U-2, U-3, U-3+, and E-3 were selected for the evaluation, nine carcasses from each evaluation category, a total of 63 carcasses. Carcasses from these categories cover the 92% production based on the division into meat food categories in 2021. Carcasses were selected on three different slaughter days, in two slaughterhouses, in the north and the south, in such a way that the head of the meat evaluation department at the Food Agency, selected all carcasses and confirmed that each a carcass would be a traditional carcass in its assessment category and not at the edge of the category. The day after slaughter, the carcasses were split in half. One half was divided into thighs, forequarters, loins and loins according to the traditional division, while the other half was divided into three weight categories, lightweight under 14.5 kg, medium 14.5 - 16.8 kg and heavy 16.9 - 19.0 kg. The halves were then divided in different ways, with parts going into the various products. Precision deboning was applied to both halves of the lamb carcasses to find the division of the various cuts and products into meat, fat, bone and sinew. Atrophy was also found due to loss of ossification. 

Meat utilization (meat ratio) for the lamb carcasses as a whole was 59.0 (50.7-67.3)%, fat ratio was 16.2 (9.7-28.0)%, bone ratio was 17.7 (13.4- 22.1)% and the tendon ratio was 6.3 (4.4-8.1)%. Atrophy during precision boning was 1.1 (0.0-2.5)%. The average meat utilization was highest in the evaluation category U-2, except for the front part, where the utilization was somewhat higher in E-3. Within the flesh filling categories U and R, it was clearly seen how the percentage of fat changes according to the definitions of fat categories. 

The proportion of meat, fat and bones in different quality categories confirms that the meat assessment is realistic and in accordance with the definitions behind the assessment. 

The proportions of meat, fat, bones, tendons and shrinkage were found for 30 lamb products from selected weight classes. High meat percentage was obtained for thigh without rump, hip bone and tail bone from heavy carcasses (74%) and thigh with shank without hip from both light and medium carcasses (69%). 

Measurements were made of nutrients in lamb pieces and lamb products. Heavy metal measurements were made on lamb pieces. These results will be useful for packaging labeling and for providing information to consumers and retailers. The lamb meat was so rich in vitamin B12, vitamin folate, potassium and zinc that it is permissible to label these substances as part of the meat's nutrition label on the packaging. The heavy metals mercury, cadmium, lead and arsenic were not measurable in the meat, i.e. were below the limits that could be safely measured. This limit is very low and therefore the possible concentration of heavy metals is extremely low.  

Sampling of lamb offal and other side products took place in three slaughterhouses, at SS in Selfoss, KS in Sauðárkrók and Norðlenska in Húsavík. Samples were obtained from liver, kidney, heart, lung, testicle, esophagus, pancreas, spleen, and blood. Chemical measurements were made on selected nutrients and heavy metals. The lamb offal and by-products are rich in iron and selenium, but these substances are important nutrients. All samples reach significant levels of selenium. In the case of significant quantities, labeling of food packaging is permitted according to the labeling regulation. Most of the samples reached significant levels of iron. The heavy metal cadmium was detectable in liver and kidney but not in other samples. Mercury, lead and arsenic were not measurable in the samples, although with the exception that mercury in the kidneys was measurable. 

Chemical measurement results call for attention and improvements in labeling and information. 
_____

Muscle, fat and bone ratios of Icelandic lamb meat were studied. Carcasses from the EUROP grades: O-2, R-2, R-3, U-2, U-3, U-3+, and E-3 were selected, nine carcasses from each grade, a total of 63 carcasses. Carcasses from these grades represent 92% of the lamb meat production in Iceland as reported for 2021. Carcasses were selected during three slaughtering days, in two slaughterhouses in north and south Iceland. The grade classifications of carcasses were confirmed by a specialist from the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority. 

The carcasses were divided into halves the day after slaughtering. One half was divided into traditional leg, forequarter, saddle, and flank. The other half was used for the study of various cuts, where each product was made from one of three selected carcass weight ranges: light carcasses below 14.5 kg, medium carcasses 14.5-16.8 kg and heavy 16.9-19.0 kg. Boning was carried out on all products and dissection yields were reported (meat, fat, bones, tendons). Wastage due to cutting, and boning was reported. 

Tissue ratio for whole lamb carcasses were on average 59% meat, 16% fat, 18% bones, and 6% tendons. Wastage during thawing and cutting was 1.1%. The meat yields were highest for grade U-2, except for forequarter which had a bit higher meat yield for grade E-3. For grades U and R, it was clear that fat yields were related to the definitions of fat thickness for the grade subgroups 2, 3 and 3+. 

Dissection yields were reported for meat, fat, bones, and tendons in 30 meat products made from carcasses of different weights. Highest meat yields were for leg products (74% and 69%). 

Selected nutrients were analyzed in legs, forequarters, saddles, flanks, and several other cuts. The results will be used for labeling and dissemination. Lamb meat was rich in vitamin B12, folate, potassium, and zinc. These nutrients can be used for nutrition declarations of the meat. The heavy metals mercury, cadmium, lead and arsenic were not detected (were below the detection limits) in lamb meat. The detection limits were very low. 

Sampling of lamb side-products were carried out in three slaughterhouses, at Selfoss, Sauðárkrókur and Húsavík. The following side-products were sampled: Liver, kidneys, heart, lungs, testis, esophagus, pancreas, spleen, and blood. Selected nutrients and heavy metals were analyzed. The side-products were generally rich in selenium and iron which can be used for nutrition declarations in most cases. The heavy metal cadmium was reported for liver, and kidneys, cadmium was however not detected in other side-products. Mercury was only detected in the kidneys. Lead and arsenic were not detected in the side-products. 

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Reports

Seaweed supplementation to mitigate methane (CH4) emissions by cattle (SeaCH4NGE-PLUS)

Published:

17/09/2021

Authors:

Matís: Ásta H Pétursdóttir, Brynja Einarsdóttir, Elísabet Eik Guðmundsdóttir, Natasa Desnica, Rebecca Sim. University of Hohenheim: Susanne Kuenzel, Markus Rodehutscord, Natascha Titze, Katharina Wild.

Supported by:

Climate Fund, Rannís

Contact

Ásta Heiðrún E. Pétursdóttir

Project Manager

asta.h.petursdottir@matis.is

This report contains the main experimental results of the SeaCH4NGE-PLUS project. In short, screening of the chemical content showed approx. 20 algae species collected in Iceland in 2020 and 2021, not bromoform-rich seaweed, but bromoform-rich seaweed can have a methane-reducing effect when given to cattle. Samples of brown algae were often high in phenol content, indicating a high fluorotannin content that has been linked to moderate methane reduction. Studies on Asparagopsis algae. indicated that these samples could have a short shelf life, but the effect was smaller than expected. Fermentation can have a small positive effect on methane production (ie slightly reduce production), but the extraction of the florotannin did not have a decisive effect on methane production. This report is closed until 31.12.2023.

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Reports

Seaweed that improves feed for dairy cows

Published:

22/09/2021

Authors:

Ásta Heiðrún Pétursdóttir, Corentin Beaumal, Gunnar Ríkharðsson, Helga Gunnlaugsdóttir

Supported by:

Agricultural Productivity Fund, Student Innovation Fund

Contact

Ásta Heiðrún E. Pétursdóttir

Project Manager

asta.h.petursdottir@matis.is

The aim was to investigate whether it would be possible to increase the usefulness of dairy cows by seaweed feeding and to examine the chemical content and quality of the milk. Also whether it would be possible to use seaweed as a mineral source, for example for organic feed that could lead to a new product such as high-fat milk and therefore encourage innovation in
cattle breeding. The results showed that seaweed administration could have a positive effect
on milk production as the groups receiving seaweed showed a slight increase in milk production compared to the control group,
but the change was not significant. The results of the collection samples showed that the trace composition changed. Seaweed supplementation could be, for example
an interesting option for farmers who are interested in or already engaged
organic production but interest in organic farming is increasing among cattle breeders.

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Reports

Results of continuous monitoring of undesirable substances in seafood from the resource 2017 / Undesirable substances in seafood - results from the Icelandic marine monitoring activities in the year 2017

Published:

17/01/2018

Authors:

Sophie Jensen, Natasa Desnica, Erna Óladóttir, Branka Borojevic, Helga Gunnlaugsdóttir

Supported by:

Atvinnuvega- og nýsköpunarráðuneytið / Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture

Contact

Sophie Jensen

Project Manager

sophie.jensen@matis.is

Results of continuous monitoring of undesirable substances in seafood from the resource 2017 / Undesirable substances in seafood - results from the Icelandic marine monitoring activities in the year 2017

This report summarizes the results of monitoring of undesirable substances in edible parts of seafood in 2017. The monitoring began in 2003 with the help of the then Ministry of Fisheries, the current Ministry of Industry and Innovation, and Matís ohf. on the collection of data and the publication of reports for this systematic monitoring during the period 2003-2012. In recent years, there has been a lack of funds to continue work on this monitoring project, so this important data collection was suspended as well as the publication of results in the period 2013-2016. in edible parts of seafood from the resource intended for human consumption, but not fishmeal and fish oil for feed. For the same reason, no chemical analyzes were performed on PAH, PBDE and PFC substances this time. The aim of the project is to demonstrate the position of Icelandic seafood in terms of safety and health and to use the data in the risk assessment of food to ensure the interests of consumers and public health. The project builds a knowledge base on the amount of undesirable substances in economically important species and marine products, it is defined as a long-term project where monitoring and review is constantly necessary. In general, the results obtained in 2017 were in line with previous results from 2003 to 2012. The results showed that Icelandic seafood contains an insignificant amount of persistent organic pollutants such as dioxins, PCBs and pesticides. EU maximum levels for dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs (DL-PCBs) in food and feed were lowered on 1 January 2012 (EU Regulation No. 1259/2011) and maximum levels were set for "non-dioxin-like" PCBs (NDL-PCBs) for the first time ). The new maximum values are used in this report to assess how Icelandic seafood meets EU requirements. The results for 2017 show that despite the change in maximum levels for dioxins, DL-PCBs and NDL-PCBs, all samples of marine products for human consumption are below the EU maximum levels for persistent organic pollutants and heavy metals. The concentration of so-called ICES6-PCBs turned out to be low in the edible part of fish, compared to the new EU maximum values. The results also showed that the concentration of heavy metals, such as cadmium (Cd), lead (Pb) and mercury (Hg) in Icelandic seafood was always below the EU maximum values.

This report summarizes the results obtained in 2017 for the screening of various undesirable substances in the edible part of marine catches. The surveillance program began in 2003 and was carried out for ten consecutive years before it was interrupted. The project was revived in March 2017 to fill in gaps of knowledge regarding the level of undesirable substances in economically important marine catches for Icelandic export. Due to financial restrictions the surveillance now only covers screening for undesirable substances in the edible portion of marine catches for human consumption not feed or feed components. The limited financial resources also required that the analysis of PAHs, PBDEs and PFCs were excluded in the surveillance, and therefore this report provides somewhat more limited data than previously. However, it is considered to be a long-term project where extension and revision is constantly necessary. The main aim of this project is to gather data and evaluate the status of Icelandic seafood products in terms of undesirable substances and to utilize the data to estimate the exposure of consumers to these substances from Icelandic seafood and risks related to public health. Generally, the results obtained in 2017 are in agreement with previous results on undesirable substances in the edible part of marine catches obtained in the monitoring years 2003 to 2012. The results show that the edible parts of Icelandic seafood products contain negligible amounts of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) such as; dioxins, dioxin like PCBs and pesticides. As of January 1st 2012 Commission Regulation No 1259/2011, regarding maximum levels for dioxins, dioxin-like PCBs and non-dioxin-like PCBs in foodstuff came into force. This amendment to the existing regulation (No 1881/2006) resulted in changes in maximum levels for dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs for many food products due to changes in toxicological assessment of dioxins. Furthermore, maximum levels for non-dioxin-like PCBs have now been established in foodstuffs. In this report, we use these revised maximum levels for dioxins, dioxin-like PCBs and nondioxin-like PCBs in foodstuffs to evaluate how Icelandic seafood products measure up to limits currently in effect. The results obtained year 2017 reveal that all samples of seafood for human consumption were below EC maximum levels for POPs and heavy metals. Furthermore, the concentration of ICES6-PCBs was found to be low in the edible part of fish muscle, compared to the maximum limits set by the EU (Commission Regulation 1259/2011). The results showed that the concentrations of heavy metals, eg cadmium (Cd), lead (Pb) and mercury (Hg) in Icelandic seafood products was always well below the maximum limits set by EU.

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Reports

Ecological impact on bioactive chemicals in brown seaweeds and their utilization

Published:

01/09/2015

Authors:

Rósa Jónsdóttir, Ásta Heiðrún Pétursdóttir, Halldór Benediktsson, Hilma B. Eiðsdóttir, Karl Gunnarsson, Jóna Freysdóttir

Supported by:

Fisheries Project Fund

Contact

Rósa Jónsdóttir

Research Group Leader

rosa.jonsdottir@matis.is

Ecological impact on bioactive chemicals in brown seaweeds and their utilization

The aim of the project was to investigate the effects of environmental factors on the amount and bioactivity of polyphenols and polysaccharides in seaweed and kelp. The aim was to increase knowledge of the ecology and chemistry of these species for more efficient isolation of biological substances, their further analysis and utilization for bioactivity measurements. Samples of seaweed, marine core, pimples and claw seaweed were taken at three locations in the country; in the northern part of Reykjanes, in Breiðafjörður and Eskifjörður, a total of six times a year, from March to June, in August and October. A method was developed to isolate fucoidan and laminaran polysaccharides from bubble seaweed and claw seaweed. Total polyphenols were measured in all samples but bioactivity in selected samples. In addition, heavy metals and iodine were measured in selected samples. The amount of polyphenols was high in smallpox and seaweed, but low in marine nuclei and gillnets. Antioxidant activity, measured as ORAC and in the cellular system, was high in the samples containing high levels of polyphenols. Seaweed and seaweed showed anti-inflammatory activity. The results of the project significantly increase knowledge in the field of utilization of seaweed and kelp. They are useful in the development of seaweed processing for human consumption that is currently underway.

The aim of the project was to study the effect of environmental factors on polyphenols and polysaccharides in seaweed. Thereby be able to better recognize the ecology and chemistry of these species for more efficient isolation of the biochemical, their further analysis and utilization in bioactive measurements. Samples of Saccharina latissima, Alaria esculenta, Ascophyllum nodosum and Fucus vesiculosus were collected at three different locations, Reykjanes, Breiðafjörður and Eskifjörður, from March to October, in total six times. Method to isolate fucoidan and laminaran polysaccharides was developed. Total polyphenol content (TPC) was measured in all samples and bioactivity in selected samples. In addition, contaminants and iodine were analyzed in selected samples. The TPC was high in F. vesiculosus and A. nodosum but rather low in A. esculenta and S. latissima. The antioxidant acitivty, measured as ORAC value and in cells, was high in samples containing high amount of TPC. F. vesiculosus and A. esculenta had anti-inflammatory properties. The results of the project have increased the knowledge about the utilization of seaweed in Iceland substantially.

Report closed until 31.12.2017

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Reports

Undesirable substances in seafood products - results from the Icelandic marine monitoring activities in the year 2012

Published:

01/05/2013

Authors:

Sophie Jensen, Hrönn Ólína Jörundsdóttir, Natasa Desnica, Þuríður Ragnarsdóttir, Helga Gunnlaugsdóttir

Supported by:

Atvinnuvega‐ og nýsköpunarráðuneytið / Ministry of Industries and Innovation

Contact

Sophie Jensen

Project Manager

sophie.jensen@matis.is

Undesirable substances in seafood products - results from the Icelandic marine monitoring activities in the year 2012

This report summarizes the results of monitoring for undesirable substances in seafood, fishmeal and fish oil for feed since 2012. The EU maximum levels for dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs (DL-PCBs) in food and feed were recently lowered and maximum levels were set for the first time. set for "non-dioxin-like" PCBs (NDL-PCBs). The new maximum values are used in this report to assess how Icelandic seafood meets EU requirements. The monitoring began in 2003 with the help of the then Ministry of Fisheries, the current Ministry of Industry and Innovation, and has now been carried out for ten consecutive years. The project builds a knowledge base on the amount of undesirable substances in economically important species and marine products, it is defined as a long-term project where monitoring and review are constantly necessary. In 2012, emphasis was placed on gathering information on the organic compounds PFC and inorganic trace elements in edible seafood, but also in fishmeal and fish oil for feed. In general, the results obtained in 2012 were in line with previous results from 2003 to 2011. The results showed that Icelandic seafood contains insignificant amounts of persistent organic pollutants such as dioxins, PCBs, pesticides and PBDEs. This was the second year that PFCs have been detected in Icelandic seafood and perfluorooctane sulfon amide (PFOSA) was the only PFC substance that exceeded the detection limit, other PFC substances were not measured. The results from 2012 showed that despite the change in maximum levels for dioxins, DL-PCBs and NDL-PCBs (EU Regulation No. 1259/2011), all samples of seafood for human consumption are below the EU maximum levels for persistent organic pollutants and heavy metals. The concentration of reference PCBs (marker PCBs) turned out to be minimal in the edible part of the fish, compared to the new maximum EU values. The results also showed that the concentration of heavy metals, such as cadmium (Cd), lead (Pb) and mercury (Hg) in Icelandic seafood was always below the EU maximum values. In March 2012, EU Regulation No. 277/2012 entered into force, lowering maximum levels for dioxins and DL-PCBs in animal feed, but also setting maximum levels for NDL-PCBs. Despite this change, all samples of fishmeal and fish oil for feed were measured below maximum levels, with the exception of one blue whiting meal sample containing toxafen above EU maximum levels.

This report summarizes the results obtained in 2012 for the screening of various undesirable substances in the edible part of marine catches, fish meal and fish oil for feed. The newly established maximum levels for dioxins, dioxin ‐ like PCB and non dioxin ‐ like PCB in foodstuffs and animal feed are used to evaluate how Icelandic seafood products measure up to EC limits currently in effect. The surveillance program began in 2003 and has now been carried out for ten consecutive years. The project fills in gaps of knowledge regarding the level of undesirable substances in economically important marine catches for Icelandic export. It is considered to be a long ‐ term project where extension and revision are constantly necessary. In the year 2012 emphasis was placed on gathering information on the organic compounds PFCs and inorganic trace elements in the edible part of marine catches as well as in the fish meal and fish oil for feed. Generally, the results obtained in 2012 are in agreement with previous results from the years 2003 to 2011. The results show that the Icelandic seafood products contain negligible amounts of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) such as dioxins, dioxin like PCBs, pesticides and PBDEs. This is the second time PFCs are analyzed in Icelandic seafood and fish products and the results show that the main PFC compound, perfluorooctane sulfone amide (PFOSA) was the only congener detected. The results obtained in the year 2012 reveal that despite the recent change by the EC in maximum levels for dioxins, dioxin ‐ like PCB and non dioxin ‐ like PCB in foodstuffs, all samples of seafood for human consumption were below EC maximum levels for POPs and heavy metals. Furthermore, the concentration of marker PCBs was found to be low in the edible part of fish muscle, compared to the maximum limits set by the EU (Commission Regulation 1259/2011). The results showed that the concentrations of heavy metals, eg cadmium (Cd), lead (Pb) and mercury (Hg) in Icelandic seafood products was always well below the maximum limits set by EU. In March 2012 Commission Regulation No 277/2012, regarding maximum levels for dioxins and PCBs in animal feed came into effect and after the implementation of this regulation maximum levels are now also set for non dioxin ‐ like PCBs. Despite of this change all samples of fish meal and fish oil for feed measured were below the EC maximum limits for feed components of marine origin except for one blue whiting meal sample that exceeds the maximum limits for toxaphene.

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Reports

Gæðakræklingur er gulls ígildi / Icelandic blue mussels - A valuable high quality product

Published:

01/12/2011

Authors:

Natasa Desnica, Sophie Jensen, Guðrún G. Þórarinsdóttir, Jón Óskar Jónsson, Hörður G. Kristinsson, Helga Gunnlaugsdóttir

Supported by:

AVS

Contact

Natasa Desnica

Research Group Leader

natasa@matis.is

Gæðakræklingur er gulls ígildi / Icelandic blue mussels - A valuable high quality product

In order for Icelandic mussel farming to grow and prosper, it is important to carry out basic research into the safety and quality of fresh Icelandic mussels that can be used by producers in marketing and selling the products. The purpose of this eighteen-month research project was to collect information on the safety and quality of mussels (Mytilus edulis) in market size (> 45 mm) grown off the coast of Iceland. A total of thirteen market-sized mussel samples were collected at four different breeding sites inland (Hvalfjörður, Breiðafjörður, Álftafjörður and Eyjafjörður) at different times of the year. Market-sized mussels were not found in Eskifjörður and this breeding site was therefore excluded from the project. Instead, samples were taken more often at the other four breeding sites than originally planned. Mussels were collected from breeding lines and time and location recorded. Weight, height and body mass were measured. The mussel was sexed and the stage of puberty was estimated in each sample. In this project, significant information was collected on nutrient content (protein, water, fat, ash) as well as bioactive substances such as selenium, zinc, carotenoids and fatty acid compositions in mussels from different cultivation sites and at different seasons. Unwanted inorganic trace elements (lead, mercury, cadmium, copper, nickel, arsenic, chromium and silver) were also measured in all samples. Work was also done on setting up and testing rapid measurement methods for measuring three types of algae toxins, ie ASP, PSP and DSP. The measurement methods were optimized against the equipment available at Matís and also measured reference samples (ie mussels with a known amount of algae toxin) to assess the quality of the measurements. Two types of rapid tests available on the market were tested to assess their performance in algae toxicity measurements in mussels. On the one hand, so-called Jellet tests were tested and on the other hand ELISA tests. The result is that both tests are relatively simple to use, however, it is necessary to test them on slightly more samples than was done here, in order to make a better assessment of how best to use them in quality control of mussel farming. It is necessary to be aware of the limitations of these rapid tests as they will not completely replace measurements by approved research methods. These tests, on the other hand, could significantly reduce the number of samples sent for approved measurements, as no samples would be sent when the pre-tests show that algae toxins are present and no mussels were allowed to be harvested. The results indicate that Icelandic mussels have an optimal nutrient composition, which is subject to natural seasonal changes. Multivariate analysis (PCA) shows that mussels contain a higher percentage of fat and protein in the spring (May and June), probably because the mussel is preparing to spawn at this time of year. In early autumn, the protein content decreases while the amount of unknown substances increases. At this time of year, spawning is complete, if not complete. The analysis also shows a weak positive correlation between protein and fat, but a strong negative correlation between protein and unknown substances. The concentration of heavy metals (mercury, lead, cadmium) was generally low, but in some cases the concentration of cadmium was higher than permitted by Icelandic and European Union regulations (1 mg / kg). It is therefore important to monitor the concentration of cadmium in Icelandic mussels before they go on the market. The results of fatty acid analysis show that Icelandic mussels contain significant amounts of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA (C20: 5n3) and DHA (C22: 6n3) as well as Palmitoleate (C16: 1n7), all of which are known for their beneficial effects on health. The results of the project show that Icelandic mussels are competitive in terms of nutrient composition and also contain positive bioactive substances. These results will undoubtedly be useful to mussel farmers in marketing presentations and planning regarding the harvesting and sale of mussel products.

In order to enable the Icelandic blue mussel industry to grow, market and sell their product, there is a critical need to perform some fundamental studies. The purpose of this eighteen months long research project was to investigate the quality and value of Icelandic blue mussels (Mytilus edulis) grown at different growing sites of Iceland. A total of 13 samples were collected from blue mussel culture sites around Iceland (Hvalfjörður, Breiðifjörður, Álftafjörður and Eyjafjörður). The Eskifjördur sampling site was excluded from the project due to the lack of market sized blue mussels and resulted in sampling from growing lines of four different culture sites. The mussels were characterized according to location, time of year, weight, length, meat yield and reproductive status. This report summarizes the considerable amounts of data obtained regarding the chemical composition of Icelandic blue mussels, including trace metals (lead, cadmium, copper, zinc, mercury, arsenic, selenium, chrome, nickel and silver), nutrients (moisture, protein, lipid and ash content) and bioactive components (carotenoids and fatty acid profile). In addition, the presence of common algal toxins in blue mussels was investigated and concluded that further work will be needed to optimize the rapid assays tested for measuring algal toxins ie PSP and DSP toxins. The results obtained need to be further verified by using standard addition procedures or with certified reference material. It is important to keep in mind that these rapid tests for PSP and DSP only provide screening results. Further testing with reference analytical methods will be required to confirm the results from these rapid tests before the mussels are harvested and sold on market. The rapid tests are suitable for quality control and decision making regarding whether or not it is safe to harvest the mussel crop or if the mussels should be harvested later after purification in the ocean. The results obtained here indicate that Icelandic blue mussels compose well balanced nutritional and trace element levels. A moderate seasonal variation pattern was observed in all measured nutritional parameters. A principal component analysis (PCA) showed that mussels contained higher proportion of fat and protein during spring (May ‐ June). In the autumn the proportion of protein reduced while the proportion of other unknown substances increased. The PCA analysis also revealed a weak positive correlation between protein and fat and a strong negative correlation between protein and other unknown substances. Heavy metal concentrations were generally low. However, elevated levels of cadmium were measured in mussel samples from certain culture sites, which in some cases exceeded the maximum EU limits (1 mg / kg) for cadmium in bivalve molluscs. The fatty acid profile revealed significant levels of omega ‐ 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids such as Eicosapentaenoic (EPA, C20: 5n3) and Docosahexaenoic (DHA, C22: 6n3) as well as Palmitoleate (C16: 1n7), all recognized for their health beneficial effects . This fundamental information proves that Icelandic blue mussels is a market competitive product of high quality and will greatly aid in developing the Icelandic mussel industry and in making the best choices considering growing, harvesting, marketing and selling their products.

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