Myoglobin chemistry and meat color

Surendranath P. Suman, Poulson Joseph

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

522 Scopus citations


Consumers rely heavily on freshmeat color as an indicator of wholesomeness at the point of sale, whereas cooked color is exploited as an indicator of doneness at the point of consumption. Deviations from the bright cherry-red color of fresh meat lead to product rejection and revenue loss. Myoglobin is the sarcoplasmic heme protein primarily responsible for the meat color, and the chemistry of myoglobin is species specific. The mechanistic interactions between myoglobin and multiple extrinsic and intrinsic factors govern the color of raw as well as cooked meats. The objective of this review is to provide an overview of the current research in meat color and how the findings are applied in the meat industry. Characterizing the fundamentalbasis of myoglobin's interactions with biomolecules in postmortem skeletal muscles is necessary to interpret the chemistry ofmeat color phenomena and to engineer innovative processing strategies tominimizemeat discoloration-induced revenue loss to the agricultural economy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-99
Number of pages21
JournalAnnual review of food science and technology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2013


  • color defects
  • cooked color
  • heme protein
  • oxidation
  • pigment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science


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