Inclusion of mussel meal in diets to growing/finishing pigs

Last changed: 29 September 2013

K. Andersson1, M. Neil1, N. Lundeheim2 and A. Wallenbeck2

1Department of Animal Nutrition and Management, SLU, PO Box 7024, SE-750 07 Uppsala, Sweden (, 2Department of Animal Genetics, SLU, Box 7023, SE-750 07 Uppsala, Sweden

Background and objectives

Lysine and threonine have been shown to be the first and second limiting amino acids in cereal-based diets to pigs and both are essential. If the requirements of these amino acids are not fulfilled, performance, health and animal welfare can be negatively influenced. In order to assure an adequate supply of essential amino acids, pure (synthetic) amino acids are added to conventional diets. However, in organic diets such supplementation is not allowed and from 2015, 100% of the ingredients must be organically produced. Today, there are a limited number of organically produced protein feedstuffs available. Mussel meal can be an interesting alternative protein source for pig since it has high protein content and a balanced amino acid pattern. Thus, it has the potential to replace fish meal and other conventional protein feed ingredients in pig diets. Mussels are also extremely good filterers of water being an effective tool to clean sea waters from nitrogen and phosphorus that has leached into the water.

To the best of our knowledge, no study has yet investigated the effect of using mussel meal as a protein source to growing/finishing pigs. Therefore the objective of this study, which is a part of an EU-project (ICOPP), was to investigate the effect of inclusion of mussel meal in diets for growing/finishing pigs of two different genotypes. The hypothesis was that pigs will perform well with maintained production results when mussel meal replaces conventional protein feed


This study showed that inclusion of mussel meal in diets to growing/finishing pigs yielded growth rate similar to those obtained with a conventional diet, whereas feed conversion ratio was higher. This implies that mussel meal is a potential alternative protein source that can replace fish and soybean meal in organic diets. By using mussels it would be possible to compose diets with 100% organic feed ingredients. However, mussel meal is currently expensive to produce and in addition more research regarding optimal inclusion level and possible off-flavor of the meat is needed.