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Anal Chim Acta. 2010 Jan 11;657(2):123-30. doi: 10.1016/j.aca.2009.10.028.

Evaluation of the influence of proline, hydroxyproline or pyrrolidine in the presence of sodium nitrite on N-nitrosamine formation when heating cured meat.

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Research Group for Technology and Quality of Animal Products, Catholic High School Sint-Lieven, Technology Campus Gent, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Gebroeders Desmetstraat 1, 9000 Gent, Belgium.


N-nitrosamines are meant to be probable or possible carcinogenic components, possibly formed out of a reaction between nitrite and N-containing substances such as amino acids and secondary amines. Nitrite is often used for processing meat products because of its colouring and antimicrobial properties. During this experimental setup, the influence of proline, hydroxyproline or pyrrolidine on N-nitrosamine formation in meat samples was evaluated. The N-nitrosamines concentrations were measured with gas chromatography-thermal energy analyzer. Only the concentrations of N-nitrosodimethylamine and N-nitrosopyrrolidine were found above the limit of detection in a number of tested experimental conditions. The concentration of these two N-nitrosamines was modelled as a function of temperature and nitrite concentration for different situations (presence or absence of added natural N-containing meat components). It could be concluded that proline and pyrrolidine promoted the formation of N-nitrosopyrrolidine. It could also be confirmed that the higher the temperature of the meat processing procedure and the higher the sodium nitrite amounts added, the higher were the yields of the respective N-nitrosamines.

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