Nitrate/Nitrite Discussion

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"There is NO celery and ZERO NITRITES/NITRATES in the EcoCure #1 or #2"

False advertising. Rosemary extract clearly contains nitrates and is on the FDA GRAS list.


They are purposely cutting out the nitrate on a molecular level, just like they are cutting out the oils that would give flavor of rosemary and everything else that’s in this product.
 
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Well, after spending some time in the rabbit hole I have emerged with an understanding of how this eco cure works, as stated.

- Chromatography isolates molecular structures
- Polyphenols are extracted by chromatography.
- Polyphenols contain both antioxidants and antibodies.
- Antioxidant = maintains pink color
- Antibody = neutralizes antigens

Just because one or more of the extracts are derived from plants that also contain nitrite or nitrate is irrelevant. The polyphenols are isolated.

Here are the links, Note this in the polyphenol article : Polyphenols are seldom evaluated by antibody technologies.[23]


The science says that yes it can work, however major hurdles exist with batch to batch consistency and flavor issues. Botulism is a very serious thing, it’s one of the most lethal toxins known on planet earth. I’m hoping they have this figured out 100% so nobody gets sick or worse. Up until now only nitrite was known to eliminate botulism toxin formation, so question is, is there an element of nitrite involved or not? If not this is truly ground breaking meat science. If not it’s just a repackaged celery powder. I’ll keep using my #1 and #2 cures until enough folks have tried it, even then it’s just to expensive.
 
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They are purposely cutting out the nitrate on a molecular level, just like they are cutting out the oils that would give flavor of rosemary and everything else that’s in this product.
I think I said way back there somewhere that they had to be doing that if this, in fact, free of nitrates, so that just leaves the question of how the remaining compounds do the same thing as traditional cures. How they are taken into the meat, etc.
 
The cost difference is actually even worse than I had thought with my original comparison. Prague powder #1 from the right place up here can be had for (in Canadian) $5/kg. That's roughly $1.60-1.70 USD per pound. I'm sure similar sources exist everywhere.
Add 4x the usage rate and 50x the cost was an understatement
 
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I think I said way back there somewhere that they had to be doing that if this, in fact, free of nitrates, so that just leaves the question of how the remaining compounds do the same thing as traditional cures. How they are taken into the meat, etc.
This is the nuts and bolts of the discussion. My research has found that curing can in fact be done with just polyphonic and antioxidants. But all of the success was with commuted meats, no whole muscle, and the success is random. No clue how this product will work in a brine, what will be the carrier? And will dilution effect the cure?

Another note is that it is thought that nitric oxide is the primary curing agent with nitrites , it’s not the driver of curing my research shows. Meat was pumped with NO gas then cooked. That meat exhibited some pink color but not the standard pink we all know and love. There is much more at work. I’ve also seen lab testing that suggests that nitrous acid is the real driver in controlling pathogenic bacteria with nitrite. If this is so then it is possible that another acid will do the same. This can be derived from a multitude of herbs and spices, but how does that acid get into the meat . With nitrite it’s a clean deal, the NO2 follows sodium into the muscle through diffusion, once there it just does it’s magic. But acid from herbs or spices? How and why could they diffuse that deep into muscle.

Sorry this is a deep subject, but understanding requires a deeper thought. This comment is for all who read this thread.
 
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$40.00 a pound in US $$$ for ecocure, $5.00 a pound for cure #1
The cost difference is actually even worse than I had thought with my original comparison. Prague powder #1 from the right place up here can be had for (in Canadian) $5/kg. That's roughly $1.60-1.70 USD per pound. I'm sure similar sources exist everywhere.
Add 4x the usage rate and 50x the cost was an understatement
 
I’ve also seen lab testing that suggests that nitrous acid is the real driver in controlling pathogenic bacteria with nitrite. If this is so then it is possible that another acid will do the same. This can be derived from a multitude of herbs and spices, but how does that acid get into the meat . With nitrite it’s a clean deal, the NO2 follows sodium into the muscle through diffusion, once there it just does it’s magic. But acid from herbs or spices? How and why could they diffuse that deep into muscle.
The 50 dollar question, as they say around here, that needs cleared up for me to even consider alternatives to what I now use.
 
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The 50 dollar question, as they say around here, that needs cleared up for me to even consider alternatives to what I now use.
The problem really for us is the secrecy. I understand the product is proprietary but giving the old “trust us this works” don’t fly with me, especially given that specifically because the product contains no nitrate/nitrite, they have ZERO oversight from the FSIS/FDA that is a whole lot of trust. I like Eric a lot, but he is stuck promoting and selling this stuff prettier much on his own reputation, fine enough, but I’ve seen no lab tests or anything concrete to effectiveness or safety other than Eric saying that it works. That does carry weight but I’d sure like to see the how and why from a lab.

Head to head I have read many laboratory studies on herb/spice extracts head to head with nitrite, none can preserve as well as nitrite.
 
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If we hash out the exact curing properties of this stuff, it will help them to make more informed decisions on what curing agents they want to use. So far, all my research says that rosemary extract is a source of nitrates. If somehow this product has eliminated them from the rosemary extract and yet still has the same curing properties of color fixing and botulism protection, I want to know how, that's important.
DougE DougE , Doug, evening... Could you please cite the articles that state it is a source of nitrates...
Thanks... Dave
 
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DougE DougE , Doug, evening... Could you please cite the articles that state it is a source of nitrates...
Thanks... Dave
Mostly secondary sources, so I retract that, but I swear I found an actual journal article stating such, but haven't been able to find it. All that aside, about all plants contain some level of nitrates they uptake from the soil, so it would at least contain some; whether or not enough to have any curing effect, I don't know. Eric (edge) said a little while back that part of the process they use in making eco involves removing any nitrates at a molecular level, so there should not be any, naturally occurring or otherwise. So that just points us back to how and why it achieves the same effect as traditional curing salt, how the compounds penetrate into the meat in solid muscle. I'm not against the product and if we can achieve the same results sans nitrates, that's great, but I need a little more. Open minded, but need a little more than what TSM and Two Guys to convince me that it's really a replacement for traditional cures.
 
I watched but tried to stay out of this thread.

Sodium nitrate and nitrite is our base because it is much better than the potassium nitrite and nitrate origins. Will the new Eco cure be the next generation?

Then the misleading sidebar comments.
Organic in base definition means carbon-based compounds.
Pure fertilizer is not carbon based.
Nitrogen fertilizer be it natural or manmade is what it states. Nitrogen, not carbon based. Plants need nitrogen along with potassium, phosphorous and trace elements to grow. Once a plant grows and provides animal food, there is no difference if natural or manmade, except in marketing to the underinformed.
The application of nitrogen bearing fertilizer is under scrutiny because of the leaching property. Abundant rainfall or irrigation will send it deep into lighter soils and potentially into the aquafer.
Manure is already liquid and soaks faster. Urea or Ammonium sulphate (AMS) is granular and takes time to dissolve. I farm in heavy silt soil so we are allowed fall application of urea. Potassium and phosphorous don't leach.

Ok, this isn't the thread topic, but somewhere it dissolved into disinformation.


Here’s my totally subjective, I’ll-informed, non-scientific comment. I immediately ordered Ecocure after watching the video because I was curious. No agenda or strong opinions. I thought, I have no curing meat ego, I’ll give it a shot and report back.

I’ve never liked the smell of cure #1 or #2. To me it’s a potent chemical/metallic odor. I’ve used both for years. The only thing I make in which I can semi taste it is cured beef jerky. Since my beef jerky never lasts long I stopped using cure. I often refrigerate it anyway.

My Ecocure arrived Friday. I immediately opened it to smell it. It instantly reminded me of cocoa. There wasn’t a hint of a chemical smell. It tastes like salt and some kind of spice or herbs. Tasting it is ever-so-slightly metallic and the aftertaste lasted a good 30 minutes. Keep in mind I’m the guy who thinks cilantro tastes like soap.

On the bottle it says it’s for those who do not like the taste of celery and “…are trying to avoid synthetic chemical nitrates.” It does not say it does not contain nitrates or that it contains them. I’m assuming the bottle, by law, needs to say it has nitrates? Maybe I’m totally wrong on that. Reading this maybe since it’s natural nitrates it doesn’t need to be mentioned? The Ecocure amount is 1% of total weight to be mixed in after all other ingredients are combined.

Again, this is purely subjective and I’m not a smart man. I can’t even smoke a brisket and one of my beautiful chickens fell off the rotisserie once. My first attempt at bacon tasted like a tire fire. And I can’t remember the last time I stayed at a Holiday Inn.
Thank you.
Salt to me has always had a bitter taste as it should because it is sodium chloride. Sodium chloride once disolved in water turns into sodium and chloride ions. Pure sodium is a metallic element.
After a bout with Covid a year ago, all salt products tasted extremely metallic to me. Salted butter was terrible. Took a month to tolerate.

Far AS I know CO gas will diffuse just a well as NO gas through meat.

As far as I know this is true from the surface of the meat as in a pink ring, but there is no carrier for a gas such as CO into the core of a piece of meat. Not like NO which is carried into the meat by nitrite NO2 then converts to NO once inside. Otherwise we could cure meat with just smoke, but we cannot. Smoke alone, a source of CO, will not turn meat pink deep inside, but meat cured with nitrite, NO2, does turn the deep interior of meat pink even when no smoke is applied.
Carbon monoxide (CO) has been used as a color enhancer in meat for 50 years.
 
Carbon monoxide (CO) has been used as a color enhancer in meat for 50 years.
surface only of meat. Not through the meat. I just read a study where they used nitric Oxide and pumped it into meat to obtain the pink color of cured meat. No joy, while the meat internal took some color it did not have a clear color profile of pink. This I believe is because as a gas both CO and NO will and can effect the surface of meat, as in a pink ring or smoke ring, but to go Deep into the meat the gas needs a carrier. CO really has no carrier, but NO does because it is first NO2 and that diffuses into the meat with sodium chloride, then once inside and deeper into the meat structure the magic happens and NO2 transforms into NO gas. This is the main difference between CO and NO gas, that and CO has less of a color effect than does NO on red meat generally.
 
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Too new, so many unanswered questions.

I will continue to use #1, #2 and TQ until the many questions have been answered and verified.
 
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One can certainly use Google and/or Pubmed to find research articles as I did. Of course many only provide abstracts vs the full article. Clearly the extracts are prepared by solvent extraction based on what I have researched. I am not sure you would find any large food producer suing this product despite consumers clamoring for "all natural" food.
 
What a great thread on this topic!! I'd like to add a few thoughts on the issue (with study links).

For starters, I'm not being paid to talk about EcoCure by any party. It's a product that I've been using for several months, and after a tremendous amount of research and due diligence I feel like I can suggest this product to others who are looking for an alternative to using traditional nitrite cures. I will say that when I first got EcoCure I was a bit sticker shocked! The price per pound is not even close to what traditional curing salts cost. With that being said I also realize that EcoCure isn't for everyone. If you don't have a problem with conventional curing agents that are nitrite based, then this is more than likely not a good option for you.

With that being said, let's start with some foundation. This product (EcoCure), isn't a new product. It's actually been around for a bit over 10 years and has been used commercially in bacons and hams in Europe and in the US. Here is a company out of Ireland (https://www.producer.com/news/worlds-first-bacon-without-nitrites-developed/) that's been using this product to make their bacons - sold throughout the UK (https://www.betternaked.com/products/better-naked-unsmoked-back-bacon-rashers/). In the United States, Pederson Farms is using this product to produce some of their bacon (https://pedersonsfarms.com/products/no-sugar-added-hickory-smoked-uncured-bacon-4-pack) and if you look at the label you will see that it contains no nitrites. As a comparison here is a different style of bacon that Pederson sells using a different curing agent (https://pedersonsfarms.com/products/organic-no-sugar-added-uncured-smoked-bacon-4-pack). Looking at this we can read that there ARE nitrites in this second product, and they come from celery powder. I talked to the folks at Pederson, and they also confirmed this.

In order to understand EcoCure and how it works we must dissolve the idea that nitrites/nitrates are the only ingredients that can prevent harmful pathogens from growing. I must admit that in my journey of understanding this product I was faced with this dilemma. I HAD to find those hidden nitrites/nitrates in this product. I needed to understand the chemical breakdown that takes place in order to cure the meat and preserve the color, because after all it's impossible to cure meat and keep that pink color without nitrites, right? My mind had such a narrow focus that anything outside of traditional nitrite curing didn't seem possible. It wasn't until I came a few studies about polyphenols and how they compare to nitrites when curing meats. I will post the links to these studies at the end of this post.

The two big issues I am reading through this thread is about control of harmful pathogens and color retention. I'll try to address both of these issues with links to sited studies. I highly recommend you not only read the studies posted in their entirety to get a better understanding of what this product is and how it works, but also use this as a base to do your own research and come to your own conclusion. If you can get through the science, it's quite eye opening!!

Control of harmful bacteria is where we will start. Salt can prevent the growth of C. botulinum when used at a ratio of 10% and traditional synthetic nitrite-based curing salts as well as natural nitrite-based curing salts can effectively prevent the formation of these spores when nitrite levels are between 72 to 150 ppm. The process looks like this:

"Nitrite attacks bacteria at numerous sites by blocking metabolic enzymes, restricting oxygen absorption, and breaking the gradient of protons. Furthermore, nitric oxide binds to iron and reduces the availability of iron which is required for enzyme activity as well as bacterial metabolic activity and development [70]. Because of the strong reactivity of Fe and nitrite, heme ion centers of enzymes and Fe-sulfur complexes are the major target of nitrite. The antibacterial activity of nitrite may be due to the peroxynitrite (ONOO) formation and nitric oxide formation from nitrite [71]. Acid catalysis may cause oxymyoglobin to be autoxidized, generating superoxide radicals. The interaction of nitric oxide with superoxide radicals as well as the reaction of nitrite with hydrogen peroxide can produce peroxynitrite. Under physiological environments, peroxynitrite and peroxynitrous acid (ONOOH) stay in equilibrium. These two compounds are strong oxidants as well as nitrating agents [72]. They penetrate the bacterial cells by passive anionic diffusion and disrupt the microorganisms by causing protein and lipid oxidation or by damaging DNA [72,73]. Nitric oxide (NO) can also inhibit microbial growth by forming protein-bound dinitrosyl iron complexes when it reacts with iron-sulfur proteins, which are engaged in critical physiological activities including energy metabolism & DNA synthesis [74]."

When it comes to EcoCure the science is completely different. It uses polyphenols and the antioxidant properties of polyphenols to prevent the growth of these harmful pathogens. The studies (linked below) indicate that the use of polyphenol compounds can effectively inhibit the growth of these unwanted spores as good if not better than the use of nitrite-based curing agents (especially after 27 days). Thankfully it's not a complicated process so it's not hard to understand.

The process begins by extracting polyphenols from fruits, herbs/spices, and some vegetables. This extraction process isolates the polyphenols. These PRE's (polyphenol rich extracts) are high in antimicrobial, antibacterial, as well as antioxidant properties. Different fruits and herbs/spices all have different forms of polyphenols that do different things. EcoCure #1 has one specific formulation and EcoCure #2 has a different formulation. The polyphenols and their antimicrobial/antioxidant properties effectively inhibit the growth of C. botulinum as well as other harmful bacteria. This process happens naturally when PRE's are added to meat.

"The ability of polyphenols to interact with bacterial cell wall components and the bacterial cell membrane can prevent and control biofilm formation, as well as inhibit microbial enzymes, interfere in protein regulation, and deprive bacterial cell enzymes of substrates and metal ions." See study link below (Inhibition of C. botulinum through polyphenols and antioxidants).


Color preservation is accomplished quite interestingly and in the same simple manner though the antioxidants found in polyphenols. The long and short of it is that they prevent the formation of Metmyoglobin (MetMb), they inhibit lipoxygenase, and are reactive species scavengers. (see study link below)

Unlike Nitrites which bond with myoglobin forming a compound called nitrosylhemocrome. Here's the full conversion process that nitrites have to undergo in order to preserve the color of meat, "The nitrous acid reacts with Mb (myoglobin) and oxidizes it to MetMb. The bound nitrous acid is converted to heme-bound NO in MetMb. NO-MetMb is brown and under anaerobic environment is reduced to nitrosyl-Mb (red color). The nitrosyl-Mb is denatured upon cooking and is converted to nitrosyl hemochrome, which is a pink pigment (Honikel 2008).

The studies that I have read indicate that color preservation using a 1% polyphenol curing agent preserves the pigment as well as nitrite-based curing agents, and the same goes for bacterial protection. At 1% this product prevents the growth of unwanted bacteria. (study linked at the bottom)

An interesting aside, the same studies also looked at nitrites found in the cured meats using different ingredients. The tests used celery, synthetic nitrites, salt only, and polyphenol rich extracts. What was found is that meats that used salt only and meats that used polyphenol rich extracts had no quantifiable nitrites detected in any of their samples (tests were done at .5%, 1%, and 2% for meats with PRE'S).

So, in a nutshell, that's the scoop on this product. The exact formulation and types of polyphenols/antioxidants that are used in this product are proprietary, but the science surrounding it is sound. The use of PRE's in cured meats has been found to not only inhibit the growth of unwanted bacteria but also effectively preserve the color (all without nitrites/nitrates). The one thing that I haven't noticed too much is that "cured flavor" that comes from using nitrites (which I don't mind).

As a side note (in case anyone is curious). The amount of salt in EcoCure #1 is 34.4% and the amount of salt in EcoCure #2 is 49%.

Links:

(Nitrite curing vs polyphenol curing) https://www.researchgate.net/public...s_Natural_Preservatives_in_Fermented_Sausages
(Color preservation using nitrites)
(Color Preservation and Nitrite Content using polyphenols)
(The use of Polyphenols in Meat Preservation)
(Effectiveness of using polyphenols to inhibit harmful pathogens)
(Nitrites used for Microbiological Safety)
(Inhibition of C. botulinum through polyphenols and antioxidants)
 
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The one sausage study had not true control (i.e. sausage made with no cure of any type). After all folks had been making sausage for hundreds of years before nitrate/nitrite cures were discovered.
One has yet to determine are these polyphenols in high concentrations harmful.
 
The one sausage study had not true control (i.e. sausage made with no cure of any type). After all folks had been making sausage for hundreds of years before nitrate/nitrite cures were discovered.
One has yet to determine are these polyphenols in high concentrations harmful.
Don't forget, sausages made hundreds (even thousands) of years ago used salt with lots of impurities. One of those impurities was Potassium Nitrite 😉. It wasn't until the late 1800's that scientist realized the salt that was being used to make sausage was actually curing the meat as well. Go Figure
 
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