MadSci Network: Biochemistry

Re: What does the juice that is in raw meat consist of? Is it blood?

Date: Fri May 5 19:53:48 2000
Posted By: Robert LaBudde, Staff, Food science, Least Cost Formulations, Ltd.
Area of science: Biochemistry
ID: 957466404.Bc

Meat is the muscle tissue of animals.

Blood is the fluid which conveys oxygen, carbon dioxide, nutrients and 
waste products from point to point within the body.

Muscles process nutrients to expend energy, and use oxygen. You muscles 
get 'tired' when you use up the oxygen and start anerobic metabolism, 
which generates lactic acid as a byproduct. This lactic acid makes your 
muscles hurt after heavy use. 

How does oxygen transport in the body work? The oxygen is picked up by 
iron in the blood from the lungs. This 'heme' (=blood) iron is in the red 
blood cells in the form of hemoglobin, a protein-iron complex.

The blood carries the oxygen to the muscles via the vascular system 
(arteries) of the body and returns it via the veins. The vascular system 
of the muscles themselves delivers the oxygen directly to individual 
muscle fibers.

The fluid conveyed within the muscles is 'sarcoplasm'. It has to have iron 
in it to convey oxygen. This is in myoglobin and a smaller amount of 
hemoglobin. Hence the red color of muscles, and the red color of the 
liquid which oozes from meat.

Strictly speaking, sarcoplasm is not blood, which is almost entirely 
drained from the body after slaughter to help hygiene. Sarcoplasm is, 
however, functionally similar to blood, even though it's a natural 
constituent of muscle. It's a type of cytoplasm, an intrinsic component of 
every living cell.

That 'red stuff' that oozes out of the meat is packed with nutrition! It's 
full of iron, copper, selenium and other trace elements. It's got 
potassium and water-soluble vitamins. It's got a large chunk of the 
special nutritive properties of meat.

Blood is very nutritious too, but it spoils very fast because of it. (The 
microbes eat the same stuff we do.) The sacroplasm is more stable because 
of the lower pH due to rigor mortis generating the lactic acid during 

"What's in a word? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet." Do you 
not eat apples because they're the sexual organ of a plant?

All food can be made to sound unappetizing if described the right way. 
What's more important is that it tastes good and is nutritious. Meat and 
its sacroplasm are at the top of the food chain! Enjoy!

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