Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

What does it mean for chicken meat to be “white” or “dark”?

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Ada McVean has an interesting note at the McGill Office for Science and Society a couple of years back:

Why is chicken breast white and dark meat dark?  It all has to do with different kinds of muscle.  Dark meat is a result of the predominant presence of slow oxidative muscle fibres used for sustained activity by active muscles such as found in the legs and thighs.  These fibres have a continuous rich supply of oxygen and generate low levels of force over long periods of time.  They contain high levels of a protein called myoglobin that helps facilitate oxygen transport from the blood.  This iron-rich, red-pigmented protein, when cooked, turns into metmyoglobin and is what gives dark meat its colour.  By contrast, fast glycolytic muscle fibres are mainly found in chicken breast and other muscle regions that are not used actively.  These muscle fibres lack myoglobin but are capable of generating a large force over a short time span.

This explains why duck, goose, and squab have dark meat for the breast: those birds fly, so they use their breast muscles much more than do chickens (and domestic turkeys), which just flap their wings from time to time.

Written by Leisureguy

19 October 2019 at 12:04 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food, Science

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