A Meat Science professor at the University of Melbourne and her collaborators studied what actually happens to meat cells when the meat is being cooked. Previously, researchers believed that the connective tissue was causing meat to shrink during the cooking process, but now it seems that the proteins in the meat cell are shrinking and pushing water out of the cells.

Professor Robyn Warner from the university’s Department of Agriculture and Food Systems watched meat cells under a microscope while they were being cooked and noticed that the process does something particularly surprising.

“We know meat shrinks when it's cooked but we saw something surprising; meat shrinks not just once but twice and we have captured it in video,” Warner said. “Our observation is two separate meat proteins must change shape during the cooking process, one at about 55-60 degree Celsius and another at about 75.”

The purpose of the study was to understand why meat tenderness varies between muscle and animal types.

To read more about the study, click here.