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J Med Food. 2004 Spring;7(1):38-44.

The depletion of sodium nitrite by lactic acid bacteria isolated from kimchi.

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Department of Tourism Hotel Culinary Art, Jeju College of Technology, Jeju, Korea.


Nitrites, whether added or naturally occurring in foods, are potential carcinogens, and controlling their concentrations is important for maintaining a safe food supply. In this study we investigated the depletion of sodium nitrite (150 microg/mL) during the fermentation in Lactobacilli MRS broth at 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, and 36 degrees C by lactic acid bacteria (LAB-A, -B, -C, and -D) isolated from kimchi and Leuconostoc mesenteroides strain KCTC3100. The four species of lactic acid bacteria isolated from kimchi were identified as L. mesenteroides, and all produced depletion of less than 20% of sodium nitrite after 10 days of incubation at 5 degrees C. There was less than 40% depletion after 9 days at 10 degrees C, 86.4-92.8% after 7 days at 15 degrees C, 81.4-87.8% after 4 days and more than 90.0% after 5 days at 20 degrees C, 76.3-85.7% after 3 days and more than 90.0% after 5 days at 25 degrees C, and more than 90.0% after 2 days at 30 and 36 degrees C. The depletion by LAB isolates was similar or higher than that by L. mesenteroides strain KCTC3100, and in particular, the LAB-D strain showed the highest depletion effect of all the strains tested, up to 15 degrees C. From these results, the strains isolated from kimchi were very effective for the depletion of sodium nitrite at high temperature, and all sodium nitrite was depleted at the initial period of incubation (1-2 days) at 30 and 36 degrees C. But as the temperature was lowered, the depletion effect of sodium nitrite was decreased in all the strains tested from kimchi. This illustrates that the depletion of nitrite by each strain is subject to the influence of temperatures.

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