Effects of Dongchimi Powder as a Natural Nitrite Source on Quality Properties of Emulsion-Type Sausages

Su Min Bae1, Da Hun Jeong1, Seung Hwa Gwak1, Seonyeong Kang1, Jong Youn Jeong1,*
Author Information & Copyright
1Department of Food Science & Biotechnology, Kyungsung University, Busan 48434, Korea
*Corresponding author: Jong Youn Jeong, Department of Food Science & Biotechnology, Kyungsung University, Busan 48434, Korea, Tel: +82-51-663-4711, Fax: +82-51-622-4986, E-mail:

© Korean Society for Food Science of Animal Resources. This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Received: Jan 31, 2023 ; Revised: Mar 08, 2023 ; Accepted: Mar 10, 2023

Published Online: May 01, 2023


The use of nitrite as a conventional curing agent is decreasing because of the negative consumer perception of synthetic compounds in foods. Therefore, this study was conducted to investigate the efficacy of dongchimi as an alternative to synthetic nitrite and its effect on the qualitative properties of emulsion-type sausages. Under all tested fermentation conditions, both nitrite and nitrate contents were the highest when dongchimi was fermented at 0°C for 1 wk. The fermented dongchimi was powdered and added to the sausages. Emulsion-type sausages were prepared with 0.25% (treatment 1), 0.35% (treatment 2), 0.45% (treatment 3), or 0.55% (treatment 4) dongchimi powder, with 0.01% sodium nitrite-treated (control 1) and 0.40% celery powder-treated (control 2) sausages as controls. There were not different (p>0.05) in the pH, cooking yield, CIE L*, and CIE a* between the control 1 and treatments 2, 3, and 4. CIE b* was significantly higher (p<0.05) in the control 2 and lower (p<0.05) in the control 1 than that in the other groups. Treatment 4 and control 1 had similar contents of residual nitrite, nitrosyl hemochrome, and total pigment. Additionally, treatment 4 exhibited a significantly better (p<0.05) curing efficiency than the control 1. However, naturally cured sausages showed higher (p<0.05) lipid oxidation than the control 1. This study suggests that the use of more than 0.35% dongchimi powder could replace sodium nitrite or celery powder as curing agents for emulsion-type sausages.

Keywords: fermented dongchimi; dongchimi powder; nitrite replacement; emulsion-type sausages


Nitrite has been used as a conventional curing agent to improve the color and flavor of meat products as well as to inhibit lipid oxidation and growth of pathogenic bacteria (Alahakoon et al., 2015; Sebranek and Bacus, 2007). However, considering the negative consumer perception of foods containing synthetic compounds (Carocho et al., 2014; Shim et al., 2011), several studies have been attempted to identify potential replacements for synthetic nitrite in meat products (Jeong et al., 2020; Riel et al., 2017; Sindelar et al., 2007a). An alternative method for the synthetic production of nitrite is the treatment of natural ingredients containing high concentrations of nitrate with nitrate-reducing bacteria, such as Staphylococcus carnosus and Staphylococcus xylosus (Sindelar and Houser, 2009). Natural ingredients with high nitrate contents include cabbage, celery, radish, spinach, parsley, and beetroot (Bahadoran et al., 2016; Gassara et al., 2016; Prasad and Chetty, 2008). Meat products using these natural ingredients to replace synthetic additives are preferred associated with the health concerns of consumers (Aschemann-Witzel et al., 2019; Delgado-Pando et al., 2021). However, celery powder, which is commercially used in the meat industry as a synthetic nitrite replacement (Sebranek et al., 2012), and several other synthetic nitrite substitutes may be offensive to consumers because of their inherent color and flavor (Sebranek and Bacus, 2007).

Kimchi is a traditional food in Korea (Jang et al., 2015), and its flavor is familiar to Korean consumers. Kimchi contains vitamins, organic acids, minerals, dietary fiber, probiotics, and unique flavoring compounds, which can help improve its nutritional, functional, and sensory properties (Cheigh et al., 1994; Park et al., 2014). Additionally, napa cabbage and radish, which are the main ingredients of kimchi, are known for their high nitrate contents (Bahadoran et al., 2016; Prasad and Chetty, 2008). In particular, radish root, which is the main ingredient for dongchimi, is generally white in color (Goyeneche et al., 2015) and has a high nitrate ion content of 1,939–6,260 mg/kg (Munekata et al., 2021). Dongchimi has various advantages of kimchi and can suppress the unique spicy taste of radish by reducing isothiocyanate during aging (Lee and Rhee, 1990). Owing to these properties, dongchimi, possessing various health benefits, has the potential to be an alternative ingredient for synthetic nitrite. However, because dongchimi may have different compositions based on fermentation conditions, such as the temperature and aging period (Cho and Na, 2020; Noh et al., 2008), it is necessary to examine the possibility of dongchimi powder as an alternative to synthetic nitrite in meat products.

Therefore, this study investigated the qualities of emulsion-type sausages after treatment with different concentrations of dongchimi powder, which was employed as an alternative natural curing agent.

Materials and Methods

Preparation of dongchimi powder

Dongchimi was prepared using a recipe for kimchi (Institute of Traditional Korean Food, 2013; Table 1) and fermented at 0°C or 20°C for 4 wk. Our preliminary analyses of dongchimi fermented at different temperatures and for different aging periods revealed that dongchimi fermented at 0°C for 1 wk had the highest nitrate and nitrite ion contents (average 2,051 and 7.56 ppm, respectively). Therefore, dongchimi fermented at 0°C for 1 wk was powdered and used as a synthetic nitrite substitute in emulsion-type sausages.

Table 1. Formulation of the dongchimi preparation used in this study
Ingredients % (w/w)
Radish 24.13
Solar salt 0.36
Refined salt 1.65
Green onion 0.35
Garlic 0.69
Ginger 0.41
Pear 3.45
Water 68.96
Total 100.00
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Dongchimi ground for 5 min was dried in a hot-air dryer (EN-FO-392S, Enex Science, Goyang, Korea) set at 60°C for 12 h. The dried dongchimi was pulverized and screened with a sieve (600 μm), and then dongchimi powder was stored at −18°C. The pH and moisture content of the dongchimi powder used in this study were 4.75% and 2.92%, respectively. The concentrations of nitrate and nitrite ions were 16,905 ppm (23,158 ppm sodium nitrate) and 1.04 ppm (1.57 ppm sodium nitrite), respectively.

Manufacture of emulsion-type pork sausages

Six experimental groups were included in this study, as follows: Control 1 (0.01% sodium nitrite), control 2 (0.40% celery powder), treatment 1 (0.25% dongchimi powder), treatment 2 (0.35% dongchimi powder), treatment 3 (0.45% dongchimi powder), and treatment 4 (0.55% dongchimi powder; Table 2). Control 2 was prepared using celery powder (Vegstable 502, Florida Food Products, Eustis, FL, USA; 22,049 ppm nitrate ion and 11.53 ppm nitrite ion), which is a commercially available natural source of nitrate, for comparison with the samples produced using dongchimi powder prepared in this study. Celery powder was used at a maximum concentration of 0.4% by the supplier’s recommendation as excessive use of celery powder may cause off-flavors in meat products. The experimental groups treated with celery powder or dongchimi powder (control 2 and treatments 1 to 4) were also treated with 0.03% mixed-strain starter culture (TEXEL® NatuRed LT; S. carnosus and Staphylococcus vitulinus, Danisco France, Paris, France) to convert nitrate to nitrite.

Table 2. Formulation of naturally cured emulsion-type pork sausages treated with dongchimi powder
Ingredients (%, w/w) Treatments1)
Control 1 Control 2 Treatment 1 Treatment 2 Treatment 3 Treatment 4
Pork ham (3 mm) 60.00 60.00 60.00 60.00 60.00 60.00
Pork backfat (3 mm) 20.00 20.00 20.00 20.00 20.00 20.00
Ice/water 20.00 20.00 20.00 20.00 20.00 20.00
Subtotal 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00
Sodium chloride 1.50 1.50 1.50 1.50 1.50 1.50
Sodium tripolyphosphate 0.30 0.30 0.30 0.30 0.30 0.30
Dextrose 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00
Sodium ascorbate 0.05 0.05 0.05 0.05 0.05 0.05
Sodium nitrite 0.01 - - - - -
Celery powder - 0.40 - - - -
Dongchimi powder - - 0.25 0.35 0.45 0.55
Stater culture - 0.03 0.03 0.03 0.03 0.03
Total 102.86 103.28 103.13 103.23 103.33 103.43

1) Treatments: Control 1 (0.01% sodium nitrite), control 2 (0.40% celery powder+0.03% starter culture), treatment 1 (0.25% dongchimi powder+ 0.03% starter culture), treatment 2 (0.35% dongchimi powder+0.03% starter culture), treatment 3 (0.45% dongchimi powder+0.03% starter culture), and treatment 4 (0.55% dongchimi powder+0.03% starter culture).

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Fresh pork ham and fat were purchased from a local market. The raw materials were separately ground to a size of 3 mm using a chopper and then randomly separated into six batches to form the six experimental groups. The ground meat, sodium chloride, sodium tripolyphosphate, and half of the ice were placed in a food cutter and chopped. And then backfat, dextrose, sodium nitrite or the alternative curing ingredients (celery powder or dongchimi powder with a starter culture), sodium ascorbate, and the remaining ice were added to the food cutter and emulsified until the temperature of the meat batter reached 12°C. The meat batter was stuffed into 24 mm cellulose casings. Before cooking, samples with the starter culture (control 2 and treatments 1–4) were placed for 2 h at 40°C to allow for the conversion of nitrate into nitrite, whereas control 1 was left at 4°C for 2 h. All samples were then cooked to 75°C in a 90°C water bath. The cooked samples were rapidly cooled and stored at 2°C–3°C in the dark until analyses.

Determination of pH values and cooking yields

After homogenizing 5 g of the sample in 45 mL of distilled water, the pH values of the homogenized sausages were measured using a pH meter. The cooking yield was determined using the differences of sample weight before and after cooking.

Color measurements

Color measurements (CIE L*, CIE a*, and CIE b*) were performed using a chromameter (CR-400, Konica Minolta Sensing, Osaka, Japan) set at illuminant C and an observer angle of 2°. The chromameter was calibrated using a white calibration plate prior to measuring. The surface color of the samples was measured following immediately cutting.

Residual nitrite, nitrosyl hemochrome, total pigment, and curing efficiency determination

The residual nitrite content of the sausages was measured using the AOAC method 973.31 (AOAC, 2016) and reported in ppm. Nitrosyl hemochrome and total pigment contents were measured using the method described by Hornsey (1956), respectively. The curing efficiency was expressed using the percentage of nitrosyl hemochrome to total pigment (AMSA, 2012).

Thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) values

Lipid oxidation of the samples was analyzed using the method described by Tarladgis et al. (1960). TBARS values were reported as mg malondialdehyde (MDA)/kg of sample.

Statistical analysis

Data were analyzed using general linear models employing the SAS software (SAS, 2012). Differences in the model were considered significant at p<0.05. Differences in means were compared using the Duncan’s multiple range test.

Results and Discussion

pH values and cooking yields

The pH values of the samples treated with dongchimi powder (treatments 1 to 4) was similar to those of the control groups (p>0.05; Table 3). The concentration of dongchimi powder used for the treatment did not affect the pH values of sausages (p>0.05). In a previous study, Choi et al. (2020) found no changes in the pH values of naturally cured sausages treated with varying concentrations of white kimchi powder.

Table 3. Effects of different concentrations of dongchimi powder on the pH, cooking yield, and CIE color in emulsion-type sausages
Treatments1) Dependent variables
pH Cooking yield (%) CIE L* CIE a* CIE b*
Control 1 6.22±0.03A 98.59±0.04A 75.07±0.13A 8.45±0.06A 7.04±0.03D
Control 2 6.21±0.02A 98.66±0.04A 74.76±0.13AB 8.07±0.03B 8.13±0.03A
Treatment 1 6.26±0.02A 98.12±0.14B 74.23±0.28B 8.51±0.09A 7.47±0.02C
Treatment 2 6.24±0.02A 98.45±0.09A 74.67±0.15AB 8.37±0.07A 7.49±0.02C
Treatment 3 6.24±0.02A 98.46±0.06A 74.50±0.21AB 8.40±0.03A 7.57±0.03B
Treatment 4 6.24±0.02A 98.53±0.08A 74.51±0.15AB 8.36±0.03A 7.60±0.03B

All values are means±SEs.

1) Treatments: Control 1 (0.01% sodium nitrite), control 2 (0.40% celery powder+0.03% starter culture), treatment 1 (0.25% dongchimi powder+ 0.03% starter culture), treatment 2 (0.35% dongchimi powder+0.03% starter culture), treatment 3 (0.45% dongchimi powder+0.03% starter culture), and treatment 4 (0.55% dongchimi powder+0.03% starter culture).

A–D Within a column, different superscripts indicate the significant difference (p<0.05).

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Treatment 1 showed the lowest cooking yield among all experimental groups (p<0.05; Table 3), although the numerical difference was small. Naturally cured sausages from other groups (control 2 and treatments 2 to 4) showed no difference in the cooking yield, compared to control 1 (p>0.05). This result was consistent with those of Bae et al. (2020) and Jeong et al. (2020), who obtained similar results for pork products treated with radish powder as a nitrite replacer.

CIE color

The CIE L*, CIE a*, and CIE b* of the emulsion-type sausages are listed in Table 3. Except for treatment 1, naturally cured sausages (control 2 and treatments 2 to 4) did not differ in CIE L* from control 1 (p>0.05). However, treatment 1 showed lower CIE L* than control 1 (p<0.05). Similarly, other studies on synthetic nitrite replacement using vegetable-based ingredients have shown that the CIE L* of the final products was not affected, even with high concentrations of substitutes (Riel et al., 2017; Sindelar et al., 2007b). However, results from several studies have shown that decreases in CIE L* could occur because of the difference in the color of synthetic nitrite substitutes (Kim et al., 2019; Ko et al., 2017). The dongchimi powder used in this study was white in color and therefore may not reduce the CIE L* of emulsion-type sausages.

Regardless of the concentration of dongchimi powder added, treatments 1 to 4 had CIE a* similar to that of control 1 (p>0.05). Previously, Bae et al. (2020) reported that the CIE a* of pork products did not change, regardless of the level of radish powder added. The lowest CIE a* were found in the control 2 (p<0.05). Jeong et al. (2020) showed that pork products treated with Chinese cabbage or spinach exhibited lower CIE a* than sodium nitrite-treated products. It may be possible that leafy vegetables, such as celery, spinach, and Chinese cabbage, are rich in chlorophyll (Bohn et al., 2004; Butnariu and Butu, 2015), which is the main green pigment in plants and may reduce the CIE a* of meat products.

All naturally cured sausages (control 2 and treatments 1 to 4) had higher CIE b* compared to control 1 (p<0.05), and CIE b* was the highest in control 2 (p<0.05). This may be due to differences in chlorophyll and carotenoid contents between celery powder and dongchimi powder. Celery has a higher chlorophyll and carotenoid contents than radish root (Cho et al., 2007; Kim et al., 2007). Similarly, Jeong et al. (2020) had reported that meat products treated with leafy vegetable powders had higher CIE b* than those with radish powder. Nevertheless, in this study, CIE b* increased with the concentration of dongchimi powder (p<0.05), as was previously reported by Lee et al. (2008) for sausages with kimchi powder.

Residual nitrite

The residual nitrite content of dongchimi-treated samples increased as the concentration of dongchimi powder increased (p<0.05; Table 4). A similar result was found by Riel et al. (2017), who reported that treatment with higher levels of parsley extract increased a residual nitrite content in sausages. Control 2 had a higher residual nitrite content than treatments 1–3 (p<0.05). With the exception of treatment 4, the residual nitrite content was lower in naturally cured sausages (control 2 and treatments 1 to 3) than that in control 1. Sindelar et al. (2007b) showed that hams cured with 0.2% and 0.35% celery powder exhibited a lower residual nitrite content (19.3 to 36.0 ppm) than 200 ppm sodium nitrite added hams (63.4 ppm residual nitrite), which is consistent with our results. However, the residual nitrite content in treatment 4 was similar to that of control 1 (p>0.05). This may be caused by the high concentration of added dongchimi powder in treatment 4.

Table 4. Effects of different concentrations of dongchimi powder on residual nitrite, nitrosyl hemochrome, total pigment, curing efficiency, and TBARS in emulsion-type sausages
Treatments1) Dependent variables
Residual nitrite (ppm) Nitrosyl hemochrome (ppm) Total pigment (ppm) Curing efficiency (%) TBARS (mg MDA/kg)
Control 1 59.35±3.87A 32.58±0.37A 39.55±0.48A 82.37±0.30B 0.042±0.002B
Control 2 44.55±1.74B 33.40±0.42A 40.12±0.47A 83.25±0.51AB 0.049±0.002A
Treatment 1 18.52±0.87D 32.48±0.55A 40.35±0.63A 80.50±0.40C 0.054±0.006A
Treatment 2 29.15±2.33C 33.21±0.25A 39.78±0.54A 83.55±0.55AB 0.053±0.004A
Treatment 3 34.73±1.19C 33.55±0.32A 40.01±0.65A 83.96±0.66A 0.052±0.002A
Treatment 4 58.14±1.23A 33.30±0.46A 39.55±0.62A 84.23±0.40A 0.052±0.003A

All values are means±SEs.

1) Treatments: Control 1 (0.01% sodium nitrite), control 2 (0.40% celery powder+0.03% starter culture), treatment 1 (0.25% dongchimi powder+0.03% starter culture), treatment 2 (0.35% dongchimi powder+0.03% starter culture), treatment 3 (0.45% dongchimi powder+0.03% starter culture), and treatment 4 (0.55% dongchimi powder+0.03% starter culture).

A–D Within a column, different superscripts indicate the significant difference (p<0.05).

TBARS, 2-thiobarbituric acid reactive substances; MDA, malondialdehydes.

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Nitrosyl hemochrome, total pigment, and curing efficiency

None of the emulsion-type sausages showed differences in nitrosyl hemochrome and total pigment contents (p>0.05; Table 4), as was previously noted by Sindelar et al. (2007b) for hams with vegetable juice powder. Treatment 2 showed no difference in the curing efficiency, compared to control groups (p>0.05), whereas treatments 3 and 4 showed higher curing efficiencies than control 1 (p<0.05; Table 4). Notably, Bae et al. (2020) found that the curing efficiency increased when the amount of radish powder added to meat products increased from 0.15% to 0.30%. The curing efficiency required to obtain well-cured meat has been found to be greater than 80% (AMSA, 2012). In this study, the curing efficiency of the dongchimi powder ranged from 80.50% to 84.23% (treatments 1 to 4). Therefore, it is possible to produce naturally cured meat products with an excellent curing efficiency using dongchimi powder. Our results showed that using a minimum dongchimi powder concentration of >0.35% in emulsion-type sausages, a curing efficiency comparable to that obtained with sodium nitrite treatment could be achieved.

Thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) values

The naturally cured emulsion-type sausages (control 2 and treatments 1–4) had higher TBARS values than control 1 (p<0.05; Table 4). Based on results from previous studies, meat products cured with vegetables have higher TBARS values than traditionally cured products containing nitrite (Jeong et al., 2020; Kim et al., 2017; Kim et al., 2019). This may be due to the lower residual nitrite content in naturally cured products (7.04 ppm to 9.19 ppm) versus sodium nitrite added products (41.56 ppm; Bae et al., 2020). However, the sausages treated with dongchimi powder (treatments 1 to 4) showed similar levels of TBARS values as those of celery powder-treated sausages (control 2), regardless of the dongchimi powder concentration (p>0.05). In general, kimchi is known to contain antioxidants, but the amount of dongchimi powder used in this study did not seem to have sufficient antioxidant effect to reduce the TBARS value of emulsion-type sausages. However, Hwang et al. (2017) found no differences in TBARS values between frankfurters with fermented red beet extracts and synthetic nitrites. Additionally, Sindelar et al. (2007b) reported that celery powder-treated hams showed similar TBARS values as those of sodium nitrite-treated hams, although TBARS values decreased with the incubation time. The inconsistency in these results may be attributed to a variety of factors, such as the type of natural nitrite substitutes, their concentrations, and the manufacturing formulation and processes.


In conclusion, this study indicated that dongchimi powder can be a potential alternative to commercially available celery powder and synthetic sodium nitrite in meat processing. The use of more than 0.35% dongchimi powder could ensure a curing efficiency comparable to that obtained utilizing traditionally curing agents. Future studies in the field should focus on the safety aspect, particularly in regard to the growth of microorganisms during storage, and sensory properties of the cured meat products. Further research on these topics would be necessary to commercialize meat products treated with dongchimi powder for industrial applications.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no potential conflicts of interest.


This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korea government (MSIT) (NRF-2022R1A2C1010636), Korea Institute of Planning and Evaluation for Technology in Food, Agriculture and Forestry (IPET) through Innovative Food Product and Natural Food Materials Development Program, funded by Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) (119028-03-3-HD040), and the BB21+ Project in 2022.

Author Contributions

Conceptualization: Jeong JY. Data curation: Bae SM. Formal analysis: Bae SM, Jeong DH, Gwak SH, Kang S. Methodology: Bae SM, Jeong DH, Gwak SH, Kang S. Software: Bae SM. Validation: Bae SM, Jeong JY. Investigation: Bae SM, Jeong DH, Gwak SH, Kang S, Jeong JY. Writing - original draft: Bae SM. Writing - review & editing: Bae SM, Jeong DH, Gwak SH, Kang S, Jeong JY.

Ethics Approval

This article does not require IRB/IACUC approval because there are no human and animal participants.



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FSAR Special Section Invitation

We are pleased to invite you to submit special section paper for Food Science and Animal Resources (FSAR). Both full-length research articles and review articles are welcome for the following issues.

 - Benefits: All the accepted papers for the special topics are eligible for the 50% article processing charge (APC) discount.
 - Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 May 2023

The topics of interest for the special issue include:
 ■ Innovative strategies to improve the quality of animal-based products
  (Editor: Dr. Young Min Choi)
  - Application of proteomics and lipidomics in quality of meat and milk products
  - Functional ingredients and additives for structure formation
  - Meal kits and home meal replacement (HMR), Etc.

 ■ Innovative safety and freshness control of animal-based products
 (Editor: Dr. Changsun Choi)
  - High pressure processing
  - Plasma technology
  - Advanced active packaging and sensor technology (quality indicator, time-and temperature indicator, etc)
  - Edible coating, etc.

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