Not all meat juice is the same

I’ve always wanted to use the phrase, meat juice, in a peer-reviewed journal article, but researchers from Sweden beat me to it.

meat.juiceMeat juice samples are used in serological assays to monitor infectious diseases within the food chain. However, evidence of inferior sensitivity, presumably due to low levels of antibodies in the meat juice compared to serum, has been presented, and it has been suggested that adjusting the dilution factor of meat juice in proportion to its blood content could improve sensitivity.

In the present study, the agreement between Toxoplasma gondii–specific immunoglobulin G (IgG) levels in meat juice and serum was evaluated, and whether the level of immunoglobulins in meat juice was dependent on its blood content.

Serum and meat juice from diaphragm, heart, tongue, Musculus triceps brachii and M. semitendinosus were collected from 20 pigs experimentally infected with T. gondii. Analysis of total IgG, heme-containing proteins (hematin), and hemoglobin (Hb) revealed significant differences between samples from different muscles, with the highest levels in samples from heart and tongue, and the lowest in samples from leg muscles. Comparison of T. gondii–specific antibody titers in meat juice and serum revealed a strong positive correlation for meat juice from heart (rs=0.87; p<0.001), while it was lower for M. semitendinosus (rs=0.71; p<0.001) and diaphragm (rs=0.54; p=0.02). Meanwhile, the correlation between total IgG and T. gondii titer ratio (meat juice/serum) was highest in diaphragm (rs=0.77; p<0.001) followed by M. semitendinosus (rs=0.64; p=0.005) and heart (rs=0.50; p=0.051). The correlation between Hb and T. gondii titer ratio was only significant for diaphragm (rs=0.65; p=0.008), and for hematin no significant correlation was recorded. In conclusion, the specific IgG titers in meat juice appeared to depend on the total IgG level, but the correlation to blood (Hb or hematin) was poor.

Importantly, large significant differences in total IgG levels as well as in specific antibody titers were recorded, depending on the muscle the meat juice had been extracted from.

 “Meat juice” is not a homogeneous serological matrix

Foodborne Pathogens and Disease. April 2015, 12(4): 280-288

Wallander Camilla, Frössling Jenny, Vågsholm Ivar, Burrells Alison, and Lundén Anna