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oxymyoglobin Myoglobin is the oxygen‐binding protein in muscle; it takes up oxygen to form oxymyoglobin, which is bright red, while myoglobin itself is purplish‐red. The surface of fresh meat that is exposed to oxygen is bright red from the oxymyoglobin, while the interior of the meat is darker in colour where the myoglobin is not oxygenated.