The Environics, Inc. Post

Gas Mixtures for Food Packaging Applications

Posted by Dr. Rachel Stansel on Thu, Dec 06, 2018 @ 06:27 AM

Global transit capabilities enable the rapid transport of perishable goods across the world to be enjoyed by consumers far from their country of origin. This is a complicated process that requires storage conditions to be continuously monitored and maintained within tight degrees of tolerance. Livestock products must be constantly refrigerated to avoid spoiling, while fresh fruit and vegetables must be kept in strictly controlled atmospheres to limit the rates at which they metabolize oxygen (O2).

Tightly-controlled gas mixtures are integral for transportation and food packaging of fresh produce post-harvest, as these goods continue respiring through the process of senescence. These respiratory rates accelerate after crops have been removed from the plant as they have limited carbon (C) reserves available for the intercellular redox reactions of metabolization. This contributes to the short shelf lives of perishable goods.

Limiting the oxygen content of food packaging materials and storage containers using inert gas mixtures is one of the primary methods of safely extending the shelf life of fresh fruit and vegetables. This requires careful consideration of the tight margin between aerobic and anaerobic respiration in perishables. Limiting the oxygen content of containers between 2-30% diminishes the generation of lactic acid while considerably slowing the process of senescence.

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Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) uses a similar principle to holistically blend gas mixtures within food packaging media to preserve fruit, vegetables, meat, and other perishables while guaranteeing desirable end-product qualities.

Gas Mixtures for MAP Applications

MAP systems are used to prolong the shelf-lives of perishable goods while maintaining their recognizable colors, tastes and fragrances. Actively-modified atmosphere packaging uses a sensitive delivery system capable of accurately combining bulk gases into desirable gas mixtures. Typically, MAP applications are concerned with reducing the O2 content of food packaging with a suitable inert gas mixture. This helps reduce the rate of maturation and decomposition of a broad range of perishable products.

The Series 3000 Gas Mixing and Delivery system enables on-site gas mixing of 100% pure bulk gases comprising multiple gaseous constituents. This is achievable using distinct canisters of pure gases, reducing processing costs associated with pre-prepared mixtures. Environics’ system provides accurate gas mixtures for MAP applications with a demonstrable repeatability of within 0.05%, ensuring batch-to-batch consistency in high throughput food packaging applications.

Gas Mixtures from Environics

Environics specializes in computerized gas calibration for a broad range of application areas, including: advanced food packaging; gas chromatography calibration; explosive gas dilution; and much more.

If you would like any more information about developing gas mixtures with Environics products, please do not hesitate to contact us.