In the recent years, heliciculture has rapidly developed in Italy both in terms of number of companies (about 8000) and average extension of snail farms (5000–10,000 m2). Studies aimed to evaluate the whole environmental performance of heliciculture are still not available in literature. This paper presents a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) performed for Helix aspersa maxima snail production in the South of Italy. The system boundary (cradle to farm gate) of the production chain considered the following stages: indoor breeding, outdoor fattening, cleaning out and packaging. The outdoor fattening displayed the largest part of total burdens (about 90%) for all impact categories due to the relevant contribution of its processes (enclosures set-up, fodder cultivation, supplementary feeding and irrigation). The process that highly affected all impact categories was the supplementary feeding used in fattening pens which reached the highest value for Terrestrial acidification (84%) and the lowest one for Ozone depletion (41%). Nevertheless, the impact of enclosures set-up and fodder cultivation appeared marked in particular for Ozone depletion (46%) and Marine Eutrophication (30%), respectively.Results showed the key factors (supplementary feeding, HDPE mesh) to be considered and discussed to proper design a semi-intensive snail management in order to enhance benefits and constrain limitations.Moreover, the snail farming highlighted a lower environmental load, for almost all impact categories, compared to literature data on conventional meat (beef, pig and chicken).
Journal of Cleaner Production – Elsevier
Published: Jul 1, 2016
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