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Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2003;12(1):50-60.

Fatty acid and sterol composition of frozen and freeze-dried New Zealand Green Lipped Mussel (Perna canaliculus) from three sites in New Zealand.

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  • 1Department of Food Science, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia. karen.murphy@adelaide.edu.au


In view of previously reported anti-inflammatory bioactivity of the New Zealand Green Lipped Mussel (NZGLM), the overall lipid profile and fatty acid and sterol composition of the NZGLM from various sites in New Zealand (Hallam Cove, Port Ligar. Little Nikau) were investigated using thin layer chromatography (TLC) and gas liquid chromatography (GLC). Samples were either frozen (F) or freeze-dried (FD) soon after collection. It was also thought prior to the study, there may be differences in the dietary sources of phytoplankton between the sites, responsible for the bioactivity, however data collected in New Zealand reported no difference in the type of phytoplankton, but a difference in the quantity. There were no major significant differences in the major components of the lipid, fatty acid and sterol composition between FD or frozen samples, nor were there any significant differences in the major composition between sites. The only major difference was between total lipid composition of the freeze-dried and frozen samples due to the removal of water during freeze-drying. Total lipid content on a dry weight basis in FD samples was 8.4 g/100 g tissue and was significantly higher than frozen samples (P < 0.05) and there was no significant site variation. The lipid class content between sites was also not significantly different as judged by TLC. Triglyceride (TG) lipid fraction appeared to be the most prominent in the frozen and FD samples. The free fatty acid (FFA) band was the next most prominent band and was visually more prominent in the frozen samples. Sterol esters (SE) were detected in higher amounts in the frozen samples compared with the FD samples. Phospholipid (PL) and sterols (ST) were distributed throughout all samples. Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) were the main group of fatty acids in both FD and frozen samples (45-46%), most of which were omega-3 (n-3) fatty acids (40-41%). Saturated fatty acids (SFA) accounted for approximately one quarter of total fatty acids, with little variation between FD and frozen samples. The major fatty acids of the NZGLM were docosahexaenoic acid (DHA: 22:6 n-3) (19% in both FD and frozen samples), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA; 20:5 n-3) and palmitic acid (16:0) (15% in both FD and frozen samples). Cholesterol was the most prominent sterol (31% of total sterols). Other major sterols included desmosterol/brassicasterol (co-eluting), 24-methylenecholesterol, trans-22-dehydrocholesterol, 24-nordehydrocholesterol and occelasterol. This study is unique as it compares the lipid composition of the NZGLM from three sites in New Zealand with the additional effect of processing. This is the second comparative study investigating the lipid, fatty acid and sterol composition of the NZGLM with added interest in the effect of freeze-drying on the lipid content of the mussel. This study showed that there were no major significant differences in lipid, sterol and fatty acid composition between the FD and frozen samples of the NZGLM for three sites in New Zealand. Food chain studies and further research is warranted to investigate the presence and role of major and minor lipid components of the NZGLM.

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