Why most of fish meat white, whereas other meat is red? Isn’t fish also has blood? And why if you cook fish, it will cooked faster than other meat?

Of course, it’s not just because fish always in water in its whole life. Fish meat has different character than most other meat from walking animal, reptile, and flying animal coz of some reason.

First, swimming is not heavy thing for fish, at least compare with horse and deer who have to race in savannah or birds who have to clapped the wings continuously in the air. This is why fish muscles not develop as other animal’s muscle. Elephant for example, it has to work harder fighting back gravitation even when it want to step, that’s why elephant’s muscle is very growing and hard.


But, more important is the fact that fish has muscle tissue which fundamentally different than other ground animal. To fly away and escape from its enemy, fish need a snap movement which very powerful, that un-snap movement but in long term period like other animal when running. So, fish muscles made from fibers which can contraction very quick. Fish muscle is shorter and thinner than ground animal which has big fibers and slow to contraction. That’s why, fish meat is easily to ripped out, especially when chewed or cooked. Fish even soft enough to eat without cooked first, like the sashimi, but steak ala tartar should be pounded first to be chewed.

One another reason why fish meat is softer that other animal is because fish live in environment where basically no load. Fish don’t truly need binding tissue-cartilage, tendon, ligamen, and some other that needed by most other creature to support their weight and unity all the body part by main skeleton. Practically, fish composed as muscle without binding tissue which tough and hard to decomposable.
Because of all that, fish meat is too soft so the main problem is to keep it cooked not too long. We cook it just until its protein lump up and thick colored, like what happen with the albume protein. Fish meat will become though and too dry if you cooked it too long.

Then, why fish meat white? Fish blood is not to many, and the blood mostly centered in the fish gills. When fish served in table, almost all of its blood has been washed out. Coz muscle fish designed only to do quick and short contraction, fish muscle don’t need oxygen reserve like ground animal’s muscle who need lots of stamina for their activity. As we know, muscles need oxygen in myoglobin to contraction. myoglobin is a red substance that change become brown when contact with air or heat. Myoglobin is the one that make meat become red, not the blood.

Okada (1990) said that red meat contains myoglobin and hemoglobin which has pro-oksidant character and high in fat. While, red color in fish meat is caused by the high level of hemoprotein which composed of protein mioety, globin and. Among hemoprotein that exist, myoglobin is the highest hemoprotein. More than 80 % hemoprotein in red meat is myoglobin and hemoglobin. Myoglobin IN tuna fish meat can be more than 3500 mg/100 gram (Watanabe, 1990). This was the caused of quick rancidity on tuna meat (Okada, 1990).

The main cause between white meat and red meat is the pigment contented, where myoglobin become the main pigment consist is red meat (Winarno, 1984). He said myoglobin is similar with hemoglobin in smaller shape, it’s about one per four part from hemoglobin. One molecule of myoglobin consist of one chain of polypeptida which also consist of 150 amino acids. Myoglobin molecule consists of two parts: protein (globin)and nonprotein (heme).

According to its physical characteristic, myoglobin is part of sarcoplasma protein, it’s soluble in water and in dilute salt water (Clydesdale and Francis, 1976 and Kramlich et al (1973) explained some factors that influence the amount of hemoglobin and myoglobin in meat, 1) tissue activity level, 2) blood supply, 3)oxygen demand level 4) age and species.

Tuna meat has two kind of meat, white meat and red meat. The white meat has very high histamine while the red meat is low. For human consumption, red meat is safer than the white, if seen from histamine factor. Why the red meat has low histamine? It’s because red meat is high of trimethyl amina oxide (TMAO) which work to inhibit the process histamine production.

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