Background: DNA-based technologies are reliable authentication methods for food
products, enabling the detection of fraud, non-intentional substitution and control of mislabeling.
The Chilean blue mussel (Mytilus chilensis) is a seafood commercialized in Chile under different
formats, including packages of frozen specimens. In this format, the valves of mussels are removed
during processing, thus impeding identification of the product by the consumer due to the lack of
Objective: To assess the authenticity of frozen Chilean blue mussels commercialized in southern
Chile, particularly in the town of Osorno.
Methods: Six commercial brands of frozen Chilean blue mussel were authenticated by the Polymerase
Chain Reaction-Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) method, based on
the analysis of an 18S rDNA fragment.
Results: Restriction patterns obtained indicate that three brands (50%) proved to be 100% authentic,
given that all specimens contained in the package were Chilean blue mussels. The other three
brands (50%) contained specimens of other commercial mytilids, particularly the cholga mussel
(Aulacomya ater), in a variable percentage (12.5-50%).
Conclusion: This study based on the PCR-RFLP method provides evidence that Chilean blue mussels
commercialized in a town located in southern Chile lack authenticity. This finding highlights
the necessity for national producers to improve the production and/or packaging processes of this
seafood. The authentication of commercial mussels is a matter of consumer interest and has been
described in a recent patent on this issue that proposes an alternative methodology.