Compilation of life cycle assessments of cultivated blue mussels : recalculation of the inventory assessments

University essay from SLU/Department of Molecular Sciences

Abstract: With a growing world population there is an increased demand of sustainable and nutritious food. There is not much more land to farm on whether for food or for feed for livestock. Aquaculture increases more than any other production method, however there is still often a need for feed. Mussels are low trophic species that grow without input of feed, additives and antibiotics. They are filter feeding organisms consuming planktonic particles. Therefore, when harvested, nutrients are removed from the environment, reducing eutrophication. Life cycle assessment is a standardised method of calculating environmental impact. The goals of this thesis were to compile life cycle assessments about cultivated blue mussels through a literature review and to recalculate the carbon footprint and the marine eutrophication potential. The inventory assessments of six published mussel LCA studies and one dataset were analysed. Harmonization of methodologies was performed and a uniform functional unit of one tonne of Blue mussels produced was chosen. The recalculation resulted in a mean of 0,95 kg CO2-equivalents/kg mussel with shells at harvest and 5 mg N-equivalents/kg produced of mussels with shells at harvest. Hotspots identified were production of material used in cultivation, followed by energy and fuel use. Even though mussels have a low environmental impact, using more energy efficient boats or farmers sharing vessels could further reduce the emissions. Mussels have a high nutritional value and are relatively sustainable, making them an interesting future food product or ingredient in new products.

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