Nutritional value and fatty acid profile of two wild edible limpets from the Madeira Archipelago


Patella aspera and Patella candei are two abundant limpet species commercially exploited and often used as a delicacy in the Madeira Archipelago, but there is a lack of scientific knowledge about these species. This study investigated the nutritional value and fatty acids of this species across the coast of Madeira Archipelago. The lipid content (7.71–12.60% dw), proteins (48.22–64.09% dw), ashes (11.12–23.12% dw) and carbohydrates (4.5–10.9% dw) were determined in P. aspera and P. candei at different collection sites. In the fatty acid composition, a total of 23 fatty acids (FAs) were identified. P. aspera showed the highest amount of monounsaturated FAs (MUFAs, 35.02%) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 12.59%), and P. candei presented the highest level of oleic acid (OA, 28.25%), polyunsaturated FAs (PUFAs, 27.26%) and arachidonic acid (AA, 11.38%). The Σω3/Σω6 dietary ratio presented levels > 0.25 suggesting that these marine molluscs are a good source of ω3 for dietary intake. Within each specie significant differences (p < 0.05) across sites were observed. High amounts of essential nutrients were shown in Patella species collected at Selvagens site while poorest levels were shown in Patella collected at Lido. The evaluation of the nutritional traits of P. candei and P. aspera shows that these limpets are good sources of essential fatty acids for human health and that the distribution of limpets is a key factor when determining its dietary value.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3


  1. 1.

    Fishery Statistical Collections: Consumption of Fish and Fishery Products (2018) Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation, Rome. Accessed 23 Aug 2018

  2. 2.

    Weber LI, Hawkins SJ (2002) Evolution of the limpet Patella candei d’Orbigny (Mollusca, Patellidae) in Atlantic archipelagos human intervention and natural processes. Biol J Linnean Soc 77:341–353

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Weber LI, Hawkins SJ (2005) Patella aspera and P. ulyssiponensis: genetic evidence of speciation in the North-east Atlantic. Mar Biol 147:153–162

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Pereira DM, Valentao P, Teixeira N, Andrade PB (2013) Amino acids, fatty acids and sterols profile of some marine organisms from Portuguese waters. Food Chem 141:2412–2417

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Reale A, Ziino M, Ottolenghi F, Pelusi P, Romeo V, Condurso C, Sanfilippo M (2006) Chemical composition and nutritional value of some marine species from the Egadi Islands. Chem Ecol 22:173–179

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Sirot V, Oseredczuk M, Bemrah-Aouachria N, Volatier J-L, Leblanc J-C (2008) Lipid and fatty acid composition of fish and seafood consumed in France: CALIPSO study. ‎J Food Compos Anal 21:8–16

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Almeida C, Karadzic V, Vaz S (2015) The seafood market in Portugal: driving forces and consequences. Mar Policy 61:87–94

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Fernandes T, Fernandes I, Andrade CAP, Cordeiro N (2016) Changes in fatty acid biosynthesis in marine microalgae as a response to medium nutrient availability. Algal Res 18:314–320

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Prato E, Biandolino F (2012) Total lipid content and fatty acid composition of commercially important fish species from the Mediterranean, Mar Grande Sea. Food Chem 131:1233–1239

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Nogueira N, Fernandes I, Fernandes T, Cordeiro N (2017) A comparative analysis of lipid content and fatty acid composition in muscle, liver and gonads of Seriola fasciata Bloch 1793 based on gender and maturation stage. J Food Compos Anal 59:68–73

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Saito H, Aono H (2014) Characteristics of lipid and fatty acid of marine gastropod Turbo cornutus: high levels of arachidonic and n-3 docosapentaenoic acid. Food Chem 145:135–144

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Tsape K, Sinanoglou VJ, Miniadis-Meimaroglou S (2010) Comparative analysis of the fatty acid and sterol profiles of widely consumed Mediterranean crustacean species. Food Chem 122:292–299

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Lund EK (2013) Health benefits of seafood; is it just the fatty acids? Food Chem 140:413–420

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Brazão S, Morais S, Boaventura D, Ré P, Narciso LS, Hawkins SJ (2003) Spatial and temporal variation of the fatty acid composition of Patella spp. (Gastropoda: Prosobranchia) soft bodies and gonads. Comp Biochem Physiol B Biochem Mol Biol 136:425–441

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Johns RB, Nichols PD, Perr GJ (1980) Fatty acid components of nine species of molluscs of the littoral zone from Australian waters. Comp Biochem Physiol B Biochem Mol Biol 6511:207–214

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Hermida M, Delgado J (2016) High trophic level and low diversity: Would Madeira benefit from fishing down? Mar Policy 73:130–137

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Ezgeta-Balić D, Najdek M, Peharda M, Blažina M (2012) Seasonal fatty acid profile analysis to trace origin of food sources of four commercially important bivalves. Aquaculture 334–337:89–100

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Kalogeropoulos N, Chiou A, Ioannou M, Karathanos VT, Hassapidou M, Andrikopoulos NK (2010) Nutritional evaluation and bioactive microconstituents (phytosterols, tocopherols, polyphenols, triterpenic acids) in cooked dry legumes usually consumed in the Mediterranean countries. Food Chem 121:682–690

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    Bligh EG, Dyer WJ (1959) A rapid method of total lipid extraction and purification. Can J Biochem Physiol 37:911–917

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    Fernandes T, Fernandes I, Andrade CA, Cordeiro N (2016) Marine microalgae growth and carbon partitioning as a function of nutrient availability. Bioresour Technol 214:541–547

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  21. 21.

    Lepage G, Roy CC (1986) Direct transesterification of all classes of lipids in a one-step reaction. J Lipid Res 27:114–120

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  22. 22.

    Cohen Z, Vonshak A, Richmond A (1988) Effect of environmental conditions on fatty acid composition of the red alga porphyridium correlation to growth rate. J Phycol 24:328–332

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  23. 23.

    Fernandes CE, Vasconcelos MA, Ribeiro Mde A, Sarubbo LA, Andrade SA, Filho AB (2014) Nutritional and lipid profiles in marine fish species from Brazil. Food Chem 160:67–71

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  24. 24.

    Sidwell VD, Bonnet JC, Zook EG (1973) Chemical and nutritive values of several fresh and canned finfish, crustaceans, and mollusks part I: proximate composition, calcium, and phosphorus. Mar Fish Rev 35:16–19

    Google Scholar 

  25. 25.

    Ackman RG (1990) Seafood lipids and fatty acids. Food Rev Int 6:617–646

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  26. 26.

    Pogoda B, Buck BH, Saborowski R, Hagen W (2013) Biochemical and elemental composition of the offshore-cultivated oysters Ostrea edulis and Crassostrea gigas. Aquaculture 400–401:53–60

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  27. 27.

    Karakoltsidis PA, Zotos A, Constantinides SM (1995) Composition of the commercially important Mediterranean finfish, crustacean, and molluscs. J Food Compos Anal 8:258–273

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. 28.

    Murray J, Burt JR (1983) The composition of fish. Ministry of Agriculture, Torry Research Station

  29. 29.

    Miletic I, Miric M, Lalic Z, Sobajic S (1991) Composition of lipids and proteins of several species of molluscs, marine and terrestrial, from the Adriatic Sea and Serbia. Food Chem 41:303–308

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  30. 30.

    Linehan LG, O’Connor TP, Burnell G (1999) Seasonal variation in the chemical composition and fatty acid profile of Pacific oysters (Crassostrea gigas). Food Chem 64:211–214

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  31. 31.

    Berto A, Silva AF, Visentainer JV, Matsushita M, Souza NE (2015) Proximate compositions, mineral contents and fatty acid compositions of native Amazonian fruits. Food Res Int 77:441–449

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  32. 32.

    Ventrella V, Pirini M, Pagliarani A, Trombetti F, Manuzzi MP, Borgatti AR (2008) Effect of temporal and geographical factors on fatty acid composition of M. galloprovincialis from the Adriatic sea. Comp Biochem Physiol B Biochem Mol Biol 149:241–250

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  33. 33.

    Piretti MV, Taioli F, Pagliuca G (1987) Investigation of the seasonal variations of sterol and fatty acid constituents in the bivalve molluscs Venus gallina and Scapharca inaequivalvis (Bruguiére). Comp Biochem Physiol B Biochem Mol Biol 4:1201–1208

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. 34.

    Zhukova NV (2007) Lipid classes and fatty acid composition of the tropical nudibranch mollusks Chromodoris sp. and Phyllidia coelestis. Lipids 42:1169–1175

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  35. 35.

    Phleger CF, Nelson MM, Groce AK, Cary SC, Coyne KJ, Nichols PD (2005) Lipid composition of deep-sea hydrothermal vent tubeworm Riftia pachyptila, crabs Munidopsis subsquamosa and Bythograea thermydron, mussels Bathymodiolus sp. and limpets Lepetodrilus spp. Comp Biochem Physiol B Biochem Mol Biol 141:196–210

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  36. 36.

    Misra S, Choudhury A, Ghosh A (1986) Lipids and fatty acids of the gastropod mollusc Cerithidea obtusa. Food Chem 22:251–258

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  37. 37.

    Williams CM (2000) Dietary fatty acids and human health. Ann Zootech 49:165–180

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  38. 38.

    Santos LP, Morais DR, Souza NE, Cottica SM, Boroski M, Visentainer JV (2011) Phenolic compounds and fatty acids in different parts of Vitis labrusca and V. vinifera grapes. Food Res Int 44:1414–1418

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  39. 39.

    Simopoulos AP (2016) An increase in the omega-6/omega-3 fatty acid ratio increases the risk for obesity. Nutrients 8(1–17):128

    Article  CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  40. 40.

    Simopoulos AP (2010) The omega-6/omega-3 fatty acid ratio: health implications. OCL 17:267–275

    Article  Google Scholar 

  41. 41.

    Ferreira SJF (2013) Contributo para o estudo das Macroalgas do Intertidal da ilha da Madeira: Diversidade, Distribuição e Sazonalidade. Master Thesis, University of Madeira, Funchal

Download references


This study was partially supported by the Oceanic Observatory of Madeira (M1420-01-0145-FEDER-000001-Observatório Oceânico da Madeira-OOM).

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Igor Fernandes.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Compliance with ethics requirements

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects.

Additional information

Publisher’s Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Fernandes, I., Fernandes, T. & Cordeiro, N. Nutritional value and fatty acid profile of two wild edible limpets from the Madeira Archipelago. Eur Food Res Technol 245, 895–905 (2019).

Download citation


  • Patella candei
  • Patella aspera
  • Lipid content
  • Fatty acid
  • AA
  • EPA