Mussel with fucoidan as supplemented superfood – product development and clinical benefits


Research Team

Public Summary

Principal Investigator: Professor Jun Lu, Auckland University of Technology

Collaborating organisations: Beyond Capital MedTech Management Ltd, University of Auckland, National University of Singapore

The Greenshell mussel (GSM) Perna canaliculus is an iconic New Zealand seafood product that is highly valued by consumers in New Zealand and overseas for its unique flavour and visual appeal, and increasingly for its anti-inflammatory properties.  This project aims to develop a new GSM product supplemented with Fucoidan, a sulphated polysaccharide extracted from Undaria pinnatifida that contains bioactive compounds that have the potential to confer metabolic health benefits. 

Undaria pinnatifida – otherwise known as Wakameis a species of kelp that is native to Japan and forms a core part of the Japanese diet.  In New Zealand Undaria pinnatifida is classified as an ‘unwanted organism’ under the Biosecurity Act 1993 and as a pest in many regional pest management strategies due to its ability to grow invasively on any hard surface, including GSM mussel lines. 

In this project we will develop a new GSM-Fucoidan food product and scientifically validate its health benefits relating to anti-inflammatory properties, immune stimulation and glycaemic control in people with pre-diabetes or experiencing joint pain by conducting a clinical study in a Chinese population resident to New Zealand.  China is a major export market for GSM and the results from this study will provide the evidence needed to differentiate the product in the crowded Chinese market based on its established health benefits.

This project seeks to further elevate the status of GSM as a high-value food product for export and to support the development of a new Fucoidan industry in New Zealand by transforming what is currently a waste product into a high-value food with health benefits. 

The project is delivered in partnership with Beyond Capital MedTech Management Ltd (, who have co-funded the research and will produce the functional food product needed for the clinical study.  The research team is led by Professor Jun Lu and consists of a biomedical scientist, a clinical endocrinologist, a biostatistician, a physiotherapist, a rehabilitation health specialist from Auckland University of Technology and the University of Auckland, and an overseas food science expert from National University of Singapore.

Results are expected to be published by mid-2022.

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