Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Is green sheen on bacon harmful? Nitrites in bacon and other meats explored

Date:
May 2, 2012
Source:
University of Oklahoma
Summary:
As with many concerned consumers, researchers wondered if the green color sometimes seen in bacon is, in fact, harmful to human health. Recently, these scientists took an important first step in answering this question by determining the structure of the green pigment responsible for this "nitrite burn."

As with many concerned consumers, a team of University of Oklahoma researchers wondered if the green color sometimes seen in bacon is, in fact, harmful to human health. Recently, these OU scientists took an important first step in answering this question by determining the structure of the green pigment responsible for this 'nitrite burn.'

The research team led by George Richter-Addo and Jun Yi, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in the OU College of Arts and Sciences, discovered that the green pigment seen in nitrite-cured bacon and other meats is due to an unusual chemical reaction of nitrites with the meat protein myoglobin. But more research is needed on the effects of 'nitrite burn,' particularly on the physiological function of myoglobin and other proteins.

"No one really knows if 'nitrite burn' is bad for you or not because there is so little information about the physiological effects on humans," remarks Richter-Addo. "But, we have discovered that a simple chemical process, which inhibits the flow of oxygen in the blood and degrades the blood protein hemoglobin, causes the blood to turn from red to green. Identifying the degraded blood components allowed us to characterize the related green pigment seen in bacon and other meats."

For centuries, nitrites have been used as a preservative to keep meats fresh, but very little is known about the harmful effects of nitrites on the body. While nitrites give meat its fresh color, add flavor and kill toxic bacteria, when used improperly, nitrites create cancer-causing chemicals. Naturally, consumers are concerned with the discoloration seen in bacon -- a concern OU researchers share, says Richter-Addo.

He and his team will continue to look for answers through research to determine if the discoloration of bacon and other meats, such as chicken, beef and pork, is an indication of a cancer-causing component. In the future, the OU research group will collaborate with agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to study nitrites in plants and vegetables.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Oklahoma. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Oklahoma. "Is green sheen on bacon harmful? Nitrites in bacon and other meats explored." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 May 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120502123433.htm>.
University of Oklahoma. (2012, May 2). Is green sheen on bacon harmful? Nitrites in bacon and other meats explored. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 3, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120502123433.htm
University of Oklahoma. "Is green sheen on bacon harmful? Nitrites in bacon and other meats explored." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120502123433.htm (accessed September 3, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Snack Attack: Study Says Action Movies Make You Snack More

Snack Attack: Study Says Action Movies Make You Snack More

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) You're more likely to gain weight while watching action flicks than you are watching other types of programming, says a new study published in JAMA. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Get A Mortgage, Receive A Cat — Only In Russia

Get A Mortgage, Receive A Cat — Only In Russia

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) The incentive is in keeping with a Russian superstition that it's good luck for a cat to be the first to cross the threshold of a new home. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) The U.N. says the problem is two-fold — quarantine zones and travel restrictions are limiting the movement of both people and food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sharks Off the Menu and on the Tourist Trail in Palau

Sharks Off the Menu and on the Tourist Trail in Palau

AFP (Sep. 2, 2014) Tourists in Palau clamour to dive with sharks thanks to a pioneering conservation initiative -- as the island nation plans to completely ban commercial fishing in its vast ocean territory. 01:15 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins