The National Research Council of Thailand (NRCT) has commissioned a team of researchers, led by a professor at the Faculty of Science at Chulalongkorn University, to study and develop ways for green mussel shells (perna viridis) to be processed for agricultural and industrial applications.
NRCT Executive Director Dr. Wiparat De-ong said that, each year, tens of thousands of tonnes of green mussel shells are discarded in landfills and this has caused environmental and health problems.
One way to solve the problem would be to utilise the waste, by processing it into pure calcium carbonate, which can be used in agriculture and in the cosmetic manufacturing industry, she said.
The seafood processing industry in Samut Sakhon province is one of the largest locations for the production of processed mussel products.
Dr. Chutiparn Lertvachirapaiboon, one of the team’s researchers, said that people in Laem Yai sub-district are employed by the seafood processing factories to remove the mussel meat from the shells, resulting in a mountain of leftover shells, which are often dumped in nearby landfills.
She said that the shells could be processed into pure calcium carbonate, for use in cosmetics, health foods and other industries, adding that the process is not complicated and can be undertaken by community-based enterprises.
The residues from the calcium carbonate production process can also be used as fertiliser, while aragonite sand, which can be produced from the shells, can be used in tropical fish tanks.