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Nitric Oxide. 2011 May 31;24(4):176-83. doi: 10.1016/j.niox.2011.03.307.

Nitric oxide and quality and safety of muscle based foods.

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Food Chemistry, Department of Food Science, Faculty of Life Science, University of Copenhagen, Rolighedsvej 30, DK-1958 Frederiksberg C, Denmark.


Preservation of meat with nitrite or nitrate has become important to mankind in controlling meat spoilage and in producing safe and palatable meat products with good keeping properties even at ambient temperature. Nitric oxide was early recognised as pivotal for colour and colour stability of such meat products. Later specific effects on microbial growth became evident, followed by an understanding of nitric oxide as an antioxidant in processed meat, while a future recognition of nitric oxide as modulator of transmetallisation reactions in meat seems possible. Central for all these functions of nitric oxide in meat is the heme cavity in the meat pigment myoglobin with its facile conversions among reactive oxygen and nitrogen species in certain cases assisted by curing additives such as ascorbate and with a possible involvement of nitroxyl.

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