Tag Archives: birefringence

Cause of shiny, rainbow appearance on some cured meats

A natural phenomenon in cured meat (and some fresh meat) is the occurrence of iridescence or a rainbow appearance on the cut lean surface. Technically, this is referred to as birefringence. It is caused by the reflectance of light off of muscle proteins, and it is analogous to the color distribution produced by a prism. Muscle proteins are arranged in strands called myofilaments, which are bound together to form myofibrils. Myofibrils are bound together to form muscle fibers, which form together to form muscle bundles and finally whole… Read More →