June 18, 2024 at 12:39 pm

Here’s The Chemical Reaction That Causes Bacon To Look Green

by Trisha Leigh

Source: Shutterstock

There’s nothing in this life that smells or tastes better than sizzling bacon first thing in the morning.

I mean, as long as you eat meat.

And as long as you can afford it in this economy.

So, if you grab a package and notice a green tinge, is it safe to eat? Will it taste the same?

Let’s find out!

A team of researchers from the University of Oklahoma looked into whether it could be harmful back in 2012. They found that it only has to do with how bacon is cured with nitrites and salt and sodium, nothing more.

Source: Shutterstock

The green color is a result of a chemical reaction between nitrites and myoglobin, a protein, called nitrate burn.

A biochemistry professor, George Richter-Addo, explained more in a press release.

“No one really knows it ‘nitrate burn’ is bad for you or not because there is so little information about the physiological effects on humans. 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.”

Nitrates have been used to cure meat for a long time, because they slow bacteria growth and delay spoiling, meaning it’s safe to eat for longer.

There has been a debate over whether or not it might be carcinogenic for awhile, with some evidence pointing to them interacting with amines and amides to form N-nitroso compounds known to be carcinogenic in certain animals.

This team plans to do more studies in attempt to learn whether or not this green color might be carcinogenic in nature.

Let’s hope they figure it out soon, because nitrates are in a ton of foods we consume in the US on a regular basis.

If you thought that was interesting, you might like to read a story that reveals Earth’s priciest precious metal isn’t gold or platinum and costs over $10,000 an ounce!