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Mussels based food supplements: evaluation of emerging marine toxins is a necessary evil
* 1, 2 , 3 , 3 , 3 , 3 , 3
1  Department of Production and Characterization of Novel Foods (Food Technology Area), Institute of Food Science Research (CIAL), Campus International Excellence UAM+CSIC,28049, Madrid, Spain.
2  Nutrition and Bromatology Group, CITACA, Faculty of Food Science and Technology, Ourense Campus, University of Vigo, 32004, Ourense, Spain.
3  University of Santiago de Compostela


Food supplements containing mussel extracts are becoming popular in human diet, providing high levels of proteins, omega-3 polyunsatured fatty acid (PUFAs), iodine and carbohydrates [1, 2]. Besides the beneficial effects and bioactives that mussels may yield, it is vital to consider the potential harmful phycotoxins that can be present in mussel extracts and marine dietary supplements. Recently, we have detected for the first time the marine toxin 13-desmethyl spirolide C in food supplements containing green lipped mussels of Perna canaliculus at levels up to 98 µg/kg [3]. In this work, we provide new data about the presence of pinnatoxin-G (trace amounts) in the dietary supplements intended for human consumption after the analysis of the green lipped mussel powder by UPLC-MS/MS. Moreover, the status of microalgae phycotoxin contaminants is also assessed in these products and in animal dietary supplements which contained 13-desmethyl spirolide C at levels up to 39 µg/kg. The mechanism of action of spirolides and pinnatoxins is associated with the blockage of the muscarinic and nicotinic receptors (mAChR and nAChR) on the nervous system. Despite the fact that human intoxications have not been reported, it is important to identify the impact of such toxins on public health since dietary products constitute an important part of the global market.


[1] C.S. Cobb, E. Ernst, Systematic review of a marine nutriceutical supplemnt in clinical trials for arthritis: The effectiveness of the New Zealand green-lipped mussel Perna canaliculus, Clin. Rheumatol., 25 (2006) 275-284.

[2] A. Treschow, L. Hodges, P. Wright, P. Wynne, N. Kalafatis, T. Macrides, Novel Anti-Inflammatory omega-3 PUFAs From the New Zealand Green-Lipped Mussel, Perna Canaliculus, Comp Biochem Physiol B Biochem Mol Biol., 147 (2007) 645-656.

[3] P. Otero, C. Vale, A. Boente-Juncal, C. C., M.C. Louzao, L. Botana, Detection of Cyclic Imine Toxins in Dietary Supplements of Green Lipped Mussels (Perna canaliculus) and in Shellfish Mytilus chilensis Toxins, 12(10) (2020) 613.

Keywords: Marine toxins; 13-desmethyl spirolide C; pinnatoxin-G; food supplements; Perna Canaliculus