Ground Beef Hearts

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by Orleander, Mar 23, 2010.

  1. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

    I don't think I need to worry too much about mad cow disease or prions in India. I'm sure there's lots of other stuff waiting to get me before that. Plus its not worth losing out on my enjoyment of bheja fry. Yummm!

    I didn't realise we had added selenocysteine and pyrrolysine, I'm not sure why they are not considered as variants of cysteine and lysine which are already included. /scratches head.
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  3. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    The greater the number of toxins in your environment, the greater the probability that any one of them will "get you." I rode a motorcycle every day for 18 years, but I still fastened my seat belt every time I was in a car. I knew at least one motorcyclist who was killed in a car.
    Well now you're performing rational cost-benefit analysis. The cost of eating this food is the risk of a prion-borne disease; the benefit is your own happiness. No one else can make that decision for you, despite the nanny states of the world insisting that they can and must.

    Besides, if you let someone else handle, butcher and cook the brain tissue, you're probably avoiding the largest components of the risk vector.
    You're the biologist, you tell me?

    Are the four molecules you name listed as "essential amino acids," meaning that our bodies cannot synthesize them by breaking down others? If so, then we would need all of them, because one variant could not substitute for the other in our metabolic processes and we'd end up with a protein deficiency.
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  5. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

    I think the risk of being in a motorcycle accident is far greater than dying of mad cow disease. I actually know several people who have had accidents while riding [and one who died from it] and I rode pillion on a guys bike for years without a helmet. I don't even remotely know anyone who has mad cow disease.

    No such luck, I do the handling cleaning and cooking.

    This is the realm of protein biochemistry which I have neglected since I did Kjeldahl studies in my third year of undergrad study over a decade ago.

    From the brief overview I gave the two amino acids, I determined that selenocysteine is produced by replacing the sulfur in cysteine with selenium. The coding for this is not done in the normal way, ie by the genetic code but utilises what is usually termed the stop codon. This implies that seleno cysteine may not be essential, but it is, so the coding must be specific to bacteria . Pyrrolysine on the other hand appears to be used by archea which makes agricultural microbiologists very excited [in my experience] - it has a pyrrol ring in addition to the usual lysine and seems to be intrinsically produced in the methanogenic archaea and the singular bacterium that utilises it.

    So, still not sure why they are considered separately. Cysteine is not considered essential but selenocysteine is. Lysine is essential
    [mnemonic for essential amino acids: Mttt Vil Phly [Matt will Fly] Methionine, Threonine, Tyrosine, Tryptophan, Valine, Isoleucine, Leucine, Phenyl Alanine, Histidine, Lysine and now, Selenocysteine]
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2010
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  7. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

    I can empathize with a yuck factor in eating brains, testicles, & various other parts of an animal.

    However, the heart is basically a muscle, like steak, leg of lamb, et cetera. Why a yuck factor with the heart?
  8. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    It's not a very high yuck factor. We eat the heart of every Thanksgiving and Christmas turkey in giblet gravy. The traditional recipe for scrapple includes pork hearts and other offal. Scottish haggis includes sheep hearts.

    If you Google "beef hearts" you'll get a zillion recipes, and at least some of them are obviously American.

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