A wide variety of spices, seasonings, and other flavoring agents are often added to fermented sausages. These include pepper (black and red), paprika, garlic, mustard, mace, and car-damom.These flavorings can be added in their natural form or as extracts. Levels vary, depending on the nature of the product and consumer preferences. In general, moist, smoked sausages that are popular in Germany and northern Europe are only slightly spiced, whereas the dried, non-smoked products consumed in southern Europe (e.g., Italy and Spain) and other Mediterranean regions are more heavily spiced (Table 6-1). Among the optional ingredients commonly added to fermented meats, ascorbate and erythorbate are
Box 6—4. Nitrite as an Anti-botulinum Agent
Using nitrate and nitrite salts as ingredients in fermented and non-fermented sausage is a rather recent practice, adopted only within the last century. It is likely, however, that sausage products have long contained nitrate salts, due to the contamination of salt with potassium nitrate, in the form of saltpeter (Cammack et al., 1999).
The development of the desirable cured meat color and flavor by nitrate, and more specifically, the nitrate reduction product, nitrite, must have certainly led to widespread use of saltpeter in meat processing. However, the discovery that nitrite also had inhibitory activity against Clostridium botulinum eventually led to the routine addition of nitrite salts in these products. The physiological mechanisms by which this organism is inhibited by nitrite, however, have yet to be established, although several possible explanations have been proposed (reviewed in Cammack et al., 1999 and Grever and Ruiter, 2001).
As noted previously (Box 6-1), when nitrite (NO3-) is added to foods, it is quickly converted to nitric oxide (NO) via dissimilatory nitrite reductases produced by the indigenous flora. It is also possible that chemical reduction of nitrite to nitric oxide can also occur. Nitric oxide is a reactive species, especially in the presence of metal ions.When nitric oxide-metal ion complexes are formed, the biological and chemical availability of those metals is decreased. Thus, microorganisms would be unable to acquire iron and other essential minerals from the medium.
In muscle systems, iron is present in the form of the heme-containing proteins, myoglobin, oxymyoglobin (oxidized), and metmyoglobin (reduced). When these proteins react with nitric oxide, the resulting nitrosyl myoglobin products give nitrite-cured meats their characteristic color.The strong binding of heme iron (which is enhanced by heating) is considered to be one of the factors responsible for nitrite-mediated inhibition of Clostridium botulinum and other bacteria.
Not only does nitric oxide react with heme iron, but it also binds to other iron- and iron-sulfur-containing proteins and enzymes. In particular, clostridia depend on ferridoxin and the enzymes pyruvate-ferridoxin oxidoreductase and hydrogenase for pyruvate metabolism and ATP generation (Figure 1). The nitrosyl-protein complexes that are formed in the presence of nitric oxide block pyruvate metabolism and subsequent ATP synthesis.The suggested net result, therefore, is the inhibition of outgrowth by germinated spores.
perhaps the most important. Both provide similar functional roles as nitrite in that they inhibit autooxidation and increase color and flavor intensity.
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