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Potential combinations of mabé, keshi and cultured pearl production from colourful hatchery-produced Pinctada margaritifera

Ky, Chin-Long, Leclerc, Nicolas, Broustal, Floriane, Nakasai, Seiji, Devaux, Dominique
Aquaculture 2019 v.505 pp. 235-241
Pinctada margaritifera, Pteria, animal tissues, aquaculture, biobased products, biomineralization, compensatory growth, experimental design, growth performance, hatcheries, industry, nacre, oysters, pearls
Aquaculture of nacreous gems, such as cultured pearls, mabé or keshi, is done mostly using different mollusc species grown in countries of the Indo-Pacific region. To date, no single species has been exploited for the simultaneous generation of more than one of these bioproducts, but all require animals with colourful shells. Historically, Pinctada species have mainly been used for nucleated pearl production, selecting the rarer colourful individuals to be used as graft donors. By contrast, colourful Pteria species have mostly been used for mabé production, as the grafting operation for pearl production is associated with low yield. In this study, we report the potential for cumulating cultured pearl and mabé (MP), or keshi and mabé (MK) production, using a colourful hatchery-produced G2 family of P. margaritifera. For these trials, MP and MK combinations were compared with the operations to produce pearls (P), mabé (M) or keshi (K) alone in an experimental design using groups of small and large recipients from the G2 family. Results showed no significant impact of combining operation types on subsequent pearl weight, keshi weight, or mabé thickness within recipient oyster size group. By contrast, significant differences were observed between the large and small recipients. The small group produced the thickest mabé, while the large group produced the heaviest pearls and keshi. These contrasting results revealed: 1) the relative independence between the two tissues capable of biomineralisation activities, the mantle (shell and mabé growth) and the pearl sac (pearl or keshi growth); 2) the potential compensatory growth of the small recipient oyster group, which had the highest shell growth performance; and 3) the regulation capacity of the larger oyster group of pearl sac activity. With the same growing area and number of cultured oysters, it would be possible for the P. margaritifera pearl industry to benefit from hatchery propagation of selected colourful shell and produce valuable keshi and mabé together with cultured pearls.