Bacon is a cured meat prepared from a pig. It is first cured in a brine or in a dry packing, both containing large amounts of salt; the result is fresh bacon (also green bacon). Fresh bacon may then be further dried for weeks or months (usually in cold air), boiled, or smoked. Fresh and dried bacon must be cooked before eating. Boiled bacon is ready to eat, as is some smoked bacon, but either may be cooked further before eating.

Bacon is prepared from several different cuts of meat. In the United States, it is almost always prepared from pork belly. Elsewhere, it is more often made from side and back cuts, and bacon made from bellies is referred to as “streaky”, “fatty”, or “American style”. The side cut has more meat and less fat than the belly. Bacon may be prepared from either of two distinct back cuts: fatback, which is almost pure fat, and pork loin, which is very lean. Bacon-cured pork loin is known as back bacon.

Bacon may be eaten smoked, boiled, fried, baked, or grilled, or used as a minor ingredient to flavor dishes. Bacon is also used for barding and larding roasts, especially game birds. The word is derived from the Old High German bacho, meaning “buttock”, “ham” or “side of bacon”, and cognate with the Old French bacon.

In continental Europe, this part of the pig is usually not smoked like bacon is in the United States; it is used primarily in cubes (lardons) as a cooking ingredient, valued both as a source of fat and for its flavor. In Italy, this is called pancetta and is usually cooked in small cubes or served uncooked and thinly sliced as part of an antipasto.

Meat from other animals, such as beef, lamb, chicken, goat, or turkey, may also be cut, cured, or otherwise prepared to resemble bacon, and may even be referred to as “bacon”. Such use is common in areas with significant Jewish and Muslim populations. The USDA defines bacon as “the cured belly of a swine carcass”; other cuts and characteristics must be separately qualified (e.g., “smoked pork loin bacon”). For safety, bacon must be treated for trichinella, a parasitic roundworm which can be destroyed by heating, freezing, drying, or smoking.

Bacon is distinguished from salt pork and ham by differences in the brine (or dry packing). Bacon brine has added ingredients, most notably sodium nitrite, and occasionally sodium nitrate or saltpeter, are added to cure the meat; sodium ascorbate or erythorbate are added to accelerate curing and stabilize color. Flavorings such as brown sugar or maple are used for some products. If used, sodium polyphosphates are added to improve sliceability and reduce spattering when the bacon is pan fried. Today, a brine for ham, but not bacon, includes a large amount of sugar. Historically, “ham” and “bacon” referred to different cuts of meat that were brined or packed identically, often together in the same barrel.


The bacteria are a large group of unicellular, prokaryote, microorganisms. Typically a few micrometres in length, bacteria have a wide range of shapes, ranging from spheres to rods and spirals. Bacteria are ubiquitous in every habitat on Earth, growing in soil, acidic hot springs, radioactive waste, water, and deep in the Earth’s crust, as well as in organic matter and the live bodies of plants and animals. There are typically 40 million bacterial cells in a gram of soil and a million bacterial cells in a millilitre of fresh water; in all, there are approximately five nonillion (5×1030) bacteria on Earth, forming much of the world’s biomass.

Bacteria are vital in recycling nutrients, with many steps in nutrient cycles depending on these organisms, such as the fixation of nitrogen from the atmosphere and putrefaction. However, most bacteria have not been characterized, and only about half of the phyla of bacteria have species that can be grown in the laboratory. The study of bacteria is known as bacteriology, a branch of microbiology.

There are approximately ten times as many bacterial cells in the human flora of bacteria as there are human cells in the body, with large numbers of bacteria on the skin and as gut flora. The vast majority of the bacteria in the body are rendered harmless by the protective effects of the immune system, and a few are beneficial. However, a few species of bacteria are pathogenic and cause infectious diseases, including cholera, syphilis, anthrax, leprosy and bubonic plague.



A bactericide or bacteriocide is a substance that kills bacteria and, ideally, nothing else. Bactericides are either disinfectants, antiseptics or antibiotics.

Beef Cattle

Beef cattle are cattle raised for meat production (as distinguished from dairy cattle). The meat of cattle is known as beef. When raised in a feedlot a [cow, calf, heifer, bull, steer] are known as feeder cattle, and are larger than other cattle.



Bentonite is an absorbent aluminium phyllosilicate, generally impure clay consisting mostly of montmorillonite. There are a few types of bentonites and their names depend on the dominant elements, such as K, Na, Ca, and Al.

As noted in several places in the geologic literature, there are some nomenclatorial problems with the classification of bentonite clays. Bentonite usually forms from weathering of volcanic ash, most often in the presence of water. However, the term bentonite, as well as a similar clay called tonstein, have been used for clay beds of uncertain origin. For industrial purposes, two main classes of bentonite exist: sodium and calcium bentonite.


In inorganic chemistry, bicarbonate (IUPAC-recommended nomenclature: hydrogencarbonate) is an intermediate form in the deprotonation of carbonic acid. Its chemical formula is HCO3−.

Bicarbonate serves a crucial biochemical role in the physiological pH buffering system.


In anatomy, the urinary bladder is the organ that collects urine excreted by the kidneys prior to disposal by urination. A hollow muscular, and distensible (or elastic) organ, the bladder sits on the pelvic floor. Urine enters the bladder via the ureters and exits via the urethra.


The biological subfamily Bovinae includes a diverse group of 10 genera of medium to large sized ungulates, including domestic cattle, the bison, African Buffalo, the water buffalo, the yak, and the four-horned and spiral-horned antelopes. The evolutionary relationship between the members of the group is obscure, and their classification into loose tribes rather than formal sub-groups reflects this uncertainty. General characteristics include cloven hoofs and usually at least one of the sexes of a species having true horns.

In most countries, bovines are used for food. Cattle are eaten almost everywhere except in some parts of India and Nepal, where bovines are considered sacred by Hindus.