Muscle Fibers: The real form of Machismo - Examination of a Bovine Hamstring
The following experiment was conducted in order to see how muscle fibers are structured, and in return relate this to how our body's muscles use them. This was connected to our study of chapter 38 because it allowed us to examine muscle fibers- the tissues that bind our skeletal muscles together. My partner and I were given a sample of a bovine hamstring, and we used probes to delicately remove fibers small enough to be studied under a microscope. From here we made observations on how the fibers appeared and where they were in relation to the nuclei of the muscle. We discovered that after placing toluidine blue liquid on the sample, we were able to identify the fibers as dark colored ridges along the muscles. It was determined that the bovine fibers were striated and had many nuclei, which is the same format as human skeletal muscle.
The purpose of this experiment was to do an in-depth examination of muscle fibers, which form the different parts of muscles in our body. This particular skeletal muscle that we were studying, was a hamstring, which is connected to the upper part of the leg. Chapter 38 of the Biology textbook discusses how bones and muscles cooperate with each other in order to move certain parts of the body. Studying the muscle fibers allows me to see how durably built our muscles are, and shows how easily they can control an arm of a leg.
My partner and I received the bovine hamstring, and immediately began to dissect smaller pieces of it for observation under a microscope. We first took time to familiarize ourselves with the microscope, and determined that the average magnification to see the muscle fibers would be 100X Magnification.
Using a dissecting needle, I carefully ran it several times across the hamstring; in order to get a small piece that would be thin enough to examine under the microscope. After several unsuccessful attempts, I finally found a piece that would easily fit onto the glass slide.
Using the medicine dropper provided, I then proceeded to carefully place two drops of toluidine blue, and completely cover the hamstring sample.
After waiting for two more minutes, I absorbed the liquid with a paper towel, and then placed two drops on water onto the sample. I repeated this step again after two more minutes, in order to ensure that the sample would stick to the coverslip easily.
I first examined the sample at all 3 magnification levels, but determined that 100X magnification was the best suitable level for studying the fibers. I was able to locate the fibers running diagonally across the sample, and the difference in color between them and the rest of the sample. Further examination also noted the presence of nuclei and their proximity to one another. The results were noted, and the experiment was then concluded.
[Image]Bovine Muscle Fibers as seen at 100 X Magnification
When dyed in toluidine blue liquid, it was easy to tell that the skeletal muscle was striated, due to the fact that it contained many nuclei per cell. The muscle fibers (the large dark lines that are arranged in vertical columns across the sample) are the primary structures of these cells, and they were revealed due to the fact that they absorbed the most toluidine blue.
The experiment was very useful at showing that bovine and humans share many of the same bodily structures, including muscle fibers. This experiment showed that Bovine skeletal muscles are striated, and have many nuclei within their cells. This description is also typical of human skeletal muscles as well. The main difference between the two species is that humans can utilize their limbs in much more complex ways than bovine, and are capable of having their muscles permanently set into a fixed set of contractions called muscle tone. Bovine are not exactly 'macho men' but nevertheless their basic skeletal muscle structure is the same as even the strongest humans. The fibers of this particular bovine showed no signs of major damage or disease, meaning that this area of the bovine was healthy when it died. Naturally, meat manufacturers would not want to sell damaged or diseased meat to the public, knowing that this action will eventually end in a massive lawsuit.
Knowing the descriptions of muscle fibers can be very useful to people like doctors or physical trainers, for they can use their equipment to check the fibers for superficial or even cellular damage. If an athlete complains about muscle injuries, the trainer should know that skeletal muscles are striated and have many nuclei, as well as are under voluntary control of the peripheral nervous system. This way, the trainer can run tests to see what problems could be causing pain or whether any serious damage is present.
Doctors can examine muscle fibers and determine if they are healthy, or if the fibers are damaged and the patient requires surgery or other means to relieve their pain.
Over all, this experiment was useful, but at the same time difficult. Challenging experiments are always good for studying, as they make the student work to complete their goal. In this case, the challenge was using a dissecting probe to remove a muscle fiber small enough for examination. A sample that is too large will not show up on the microscope, and a sample that is too small may not contain any meaningful pieces of evidence that can get results that are relevant to the experiment. However, after much trial and error, my partner and I were able to find excellent sources of muscle fibers, therefore allowing us to collect excellent data about the bovine fibers.
952 words / 5 pages