Color Formation

Raw fermented sausages are usually manufactured with curing salt, in earlier times and in some cases also today with KNO3, but mostly with nitrite (NaNO2), or a mixture is applied. If nitrate is used it has to be reduced by microorganisms to nitrite, which then reacts with myoglobin to give nitroso-myoglobin. The more stable pigment is formed most likely by denaturation through increasing salt concentration during drying. Dry sausage can also be manufactured with common salt only, yet the microbiological risk is higher if the antibacterial effect of nitrite cannot be relied on. This is even more pronounced if for health purposes sodium content is reduced. In this case, safety requirements can be met only if other aw-reducing substances are applied. In the absence of curing salt, color stability of sausage is reduced, but intensive smoking improves it to some extent because NO-compounds from smoke deposit and diffuse inside (7).

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