MadSci Network: Anatomy

Re: What colour does human flesh turn when cooked?

Date: Sun Sep 9 17:04:04 2007
Posted By: Erin Cram, Assistant Professor
Area of science: Anatomy
ID: 1189113840.An

The color of the meat depends on how much myoglobin is in there.  Myoglobin stores oxygen for 
muscle use, and is a dark pigment, especially when cooked. See:

The amount of myoglobin depends on the function of the muscle.  Muscles used for sustained activity 
have greater need of myoglobin, and are therefore darker as meat. (For example, the legs of chickens).  
Slow twitch (sustained activity) muscles have more myoglobin.  Quick movement (fast twitch) muscles 
have less.  (Chickens don't use their breast muscles much, so the meat is whiter).

Most human muscles are a mix of slow and fast twitch, so would probably be intermediate in color.  
The muscles of the lower leg and back are used for posture maintenance, and are mostly slow twitch 
fibers.  Therefore, they are probably darker muscles.  See

Thanks for your slightly morbid question.  
	Erin Cram, Moderator MadSci Network

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