Why Don't Dead Clams Open?

16 August 2016, 16:36

Mussel Fisherman

Mystery Hour Question

I was having paella last week, and some of the clams weren’t open. Why don’t they open?

Jack, Chertsey 


Name: Nooruddean, Greenwich                                                                                                                                    

Qualification: Biomedical scientist, food poisoning from mussels                                                                                   

Answer: Mussels work with actin and myosin, these are two proteins that allow the muscles to move. These proteins work with ATP, Adenosine Triphosphate. ATP then turns into Adenosine Diphosphate, ADP. When the mussel is open you need to tap it to see if it closes. If it closes it means it’s still alive and you can cook it and whatnot. If it doesn’t open then you put it in water and warm it up a bit and that should help it relax and it should open up again in the water before you boil it and that shows you that it’s alive still but if it doesn’t open at all then it means it’s dead.

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