The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of binding agents like microbial transglutaminase (MTG) and fibrinogen/thrombin protein isolate (FB) on the oxidative stability and the residual nitrite (RN) level in thermally processed ground beef during cold (4 degrees C) storage (0, 1, 7, 15, 30 days). Samples were evaluated for cooking loss (CL), pH, color, texture, thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS), and RN levels. Although using MTG or FB reduced CL, FB was more effective for lowering CL (p < .05). Both MTG and FB prevented lipid oxidation (p < 05), whereas FB was found to protect samples against oxidative degradation as well as sodium nitrite (SN, p < 05). RN levels varied depending on the amount of SN used and storage time. Treatments containing SN plus MTG or FB had lower RN than those with only SN in each storage day (p < 05). It can be stated that the amount of SN used may be reduced by using MTG and FB in meat product formulations. Practical applications Sodium nitrite is the critical ingredient used in the process of manufacturing cured meat. However, nitrites or nitrates may react with secondary amines in the product or in acidic conditions in the stomach to form nitrosamines, which are carcinogenic. Even though much research was conducted regarding nitrosamine formation, carcinogenicity of nitrite, and finding alternatives for nitrite, no alternative to nitrite was found. Since it is impossible to eleminate the use of nitrite, or to reduce it drastically in order to solve the problem without giving up its vital functions in cured meat products, it is important for meat industry to find methods to reduce the amount of residual nitrite in meat products.