A pig died, and it became 185 goods and a book.
A pig died, and it became 185 goods and a book.
It is not only the braised meat on the table and the sausage on the shelf, but also the behind-the-scenes hero supporting modern life.

(this article is first published on Guoshul.com)

this is a book with a very simple cover design, and it seems easy for readers to ignore it if it is placed on the shelf of a bookstore. But its spine is decorated with something unusual: a bright yellow round plastic label.

(photo source: dezeen.com)

this is actually an ear tag. It is used in farms and is proof that a pig has lived. And if you take the book off the shelf, you will see a quarantine seal on its back cover, a sign of a pig's death: it was slaughtered in a slaughterhouse, passed quarantine, and then entered the market as a commodity.

this book called PIG 05049 tells the story of a pig. There is no biography of it here, but it has all that happened after its death.

in 2007, a Dutch designer named Christine Maindesma tracked the pig, which was randomly selected from a Dutch farm, and recorded the final destination of all parts of its body. In the end, 05049 was processed into a total of 185 products-many of which people would not have thought of when they mentioned pigs.

(photo source: christienmeindertsma.com)

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I don't make steak, I just glue it well

first of all, as we can imagine, 05049 has been processed into a variety of meat products, which account for nearly half of the book.

is this probably the most boring part of the book? Not necessarily. Look at this piece of beef below. Yes, it is a piece of beef, but 05049 also contributes to its production. This kind of meat is called "controlled cutting meat". It is actually the product of "gluing" bits and pieces of beef and then slicing them. How do you stick it exactly? One way is to use fibrin extracted from pig blood.

(photo source: vimeo.com/10717795)


gelatin is obtained by hydrolyzing collagen from animal tissue. The skin and bones of many pigs, cattle and fish are processed into gelatin, and 05049 is no exception.

gelatin is widely used in food processing. Anyone who is familiar with dessert making will be familiar with "Jili Ding", which is the transliteration of Gelatine. Those sweet and smooth mousse cakes are solidified by gelatin, which is also the source of the texture of fruit fudge and marshmallow Q-balls. Low-fat butter also uses it to maintain the thick texture of the product.

(a cheesecake with gelatin. Photo Source: christienmeindertsma.com)

there are also some things that use gelatin in production, but you don't feel it at all in the final product-such as wine. Gelatin is a commonly used clarifier in wine production, which can help precipitate the suspended particles that lead to the turbidity of the wine.

(photo source: christienmeindertsma.com)

Gelatin is also useful in medicine: it is the main component of the shell of both hard and soft capsules. Here is a soft capsule that turns a liquid oily drug into an easy-to-take pill.

(photo source: christienmeindertsma.com)

but of all the gelatin uses tracked by Maindesma, the most unexpected is probably the bullet below. It is said that pig bone gelatin can "help put propellants such as gunpowder into bullets".

(photo source: christienmeindertsma.com)

the fate between weapons and gelatin does not stop there. To test the power of bullets, people make a "ballistic gel" that simulates human soft tissue-which is also made of gelatin.

(this is the ballistic gel. Friends who like to watch MythBusters should be no stranger to it. Photo Source: vimeo.com/10717795)

in addition, the hydrolysate of porcine bone collagen can also be made into a kind of adhesive-bone glue, which is similar to gelatin. Bone glue has many uses, it can stick to the particles on the sandpaper, it can also be used to bind books, this book itself also uses bone glue.

(the book itself is also one of the destinations of 05049. Photo Source: vimeo.com/10717795)

Burning ash is also useful

among the 05049 destinations, the following deer should be the most beautiful one, it is a bone porcelain handicraft. As the name suggests, "bone porcelain" is a kind of porcelain with animal ashes added to its production, but in order to avoid bad associations among consumers, manufacturers prefer to call these raw materials "bone powder". Bone porcelain is stronger than ordinary porcelain, so it can also be made thinner.

(photo source: christienmeindertsma.com)

not only bone porcelain, but pig ashes can also appear in more unexpected places-such as the casting site of metal aluminum. According to the product description I found, these "heat-resistant", "non-infiltrating" and "inert" powders can be used in the protective layer of the mold and make demoulding easier.

(photo source: christienmeindertsma.com)

is the heartClose the valve

products from pigs are also active on the operating table. The picture below shows a heart valve from a pig.

(photo source: vimeo.com/10717795)

the valve is a "one-way valve" between the atrium and ventricle of the heart, which maintains the order of blood circulation. In some diseases, heart valves become difficult to use and require surgical replacement.

there are two options for replacing heart valves, one is a mechanical artificial valve, and the other is a bioartificial valve made from animal tissue. Porcine or bovine valve tissues can be used in such surgeries. Although they are not as durable as mechanical valves, they are closer to physiology and have better "compatibility" with blood.

"Pig's whole body is full of treasures". I learned this sentence from school when I was a child. However, in the face of highly subdivided modern industry, as consumers, it is still difficult for us to imagine how much impact a kind of livestock and its products can have on our lives. They are not only the braised meat on the table and the sausage on the shelf, but also the behind-the-scenes heroes supporting modern life.