Histology of processed meats


Just for fun I made a slide of a hot dog. I got the idea from one of the senior pathologists here- he fooled us by slipping it into a set of unknowns from a weekly slide conference.

Hot dog, brand unkown at low power

Hot dog, brand unkown at low power

Hot dog, brand unknown

Hot dog, brand unknown

Then later I found a piece of pepperoni in the stomach of a dog and I wondered how it differed from the hot dog.

Pepperoni at 20 x

Pepperoni at 20 x

Similarities: Both are composed mostly of necrotic protein and some recognizable striated muscle tissue. They both have pieces of cartilage and bone and a lot of fat.

Differences: The pepperoni has larger and more abundant fat particles. The hot dog appears more solid and has more larger chunks of muscle. The pepperoni is more stringy.

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About Brian

Anatomic Pathologist, VetPath Services, Stone Ridge, NY- musculoskeletal, oral/dental, and sinonasal diseases
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8 Responses to Histology of processed meats

  1. Stephen says:

    Would probably describe the protein as denatured or deteriorated, at a stretch autolytic, rather than necrotic. Necrosis refers to the premature death of cells or tissue within a living animal.

  2. Brian says:

    You are correct Stephen, in this intance I was referring to myocytes that appear as proeinaceous material.

  3. Vinicius Viana says:

    Oh my!!!
    Very curious!!!!
    I’ll try this with my students here in Brazil… I think that anyone would believe if you said that this is a necrotic muscle… Thank you Brian. Excelente site!

  4. Maria says:

    The cheaper the hot dog, the more interesting the results. For examples, the 8 for 99cents variety (you know, the red ones!) have plant fibers and pollen too. Yummy!

  5. Emmanuel says:

    Hi Brian
    I think that at the peperoni the basophilic stuff is all plant material. I am not sure about the hot dog. Usually plant material (pepers, onion, garlic, chives, etc) is basophilic and resembles enough cartilage which usually varies from pale basophilic to eosinophilic due to the heating process (that causes also the denaturation of proteins as Stephen said correctly). The blue homogenous stuff at the first photo is definetely bone; you can stain it with alizarin red to confirm this. Also I am not sure from this magnification but I think that in the hot dog I saw also soya protein (which usually is round and looks like the proteinaceous homogenous casts at the medullary tubules of the kidney, during proteinuria).
    Thank you

    • Brian says:

      You know, I hadn’t considered that there would be plants, herbs etc in pepperoni. Makes a lot of sense though, thanks for posting.

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