Semipermeable Component That Increases Efficacy of Modified Atmosphere Packaging

Technology #15939

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Researchers
Bruce A. Welt Ph.D.
Ziynet Q. Boz Ozdemir
Managed By
John Byatt
Assistant Director 352-392-8929

Maintains Pressure and Concentration of Gaseous Atmospheres in Enclosed Volumes to Protect Food and Reduce Waste

These packaging components charged with specific gas mixtures at predetermined pressures could radically change the way Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) is applied. These semipermeable components supplement gas requirements within flexible, semi-rigid and rigid packaging to protect food products and reduce waste. Modified atmosphere packaging is typically a “pillow” type of package initially filled with carbon dioxide gas to protect contents from external abuse. Since CO2 permeates out of the packaging faster than oxygen permeates into it, packages tend to deflate during transportation and storage. Hundreds of billions of dollars of food are lost annually in the United States because of this inadequate packaging, and meat, respiring vegetables, and dairy products result in the highest monetary loss. Researchers at the University of Florida have developed a device that can supplement or replace the gaseous atmosphere within an environment to maintain, increase, decrease or modify composition of gas levels within the packaging. These semipermeable packaging components can modify the atmosphere or maintain the volume of the packaging containing fresh meats or respiring produce. It is also applicable to products outside of the food and agriculture industry, such as inflatable tires.

Application

Semipermeable polymeric capsule that improves packaging performance by regulating concentration and pressure within enclosed volume

Advantages

  • Increases shelf-life of ready-to-eat packaged food products, decreasing monetary loss from food spoliation
  • Maintains tire pressure, reducing need to check and adjust tire pressure

Technology

These components will help to preserve and protect products in flexible, semi-rigid, or rigid packaging. Researchers at the University of Florida developed this capsule for modified atmosphere packaging, commonly used for produce. Initially filled with a specific gas concentration, modified atmosphere packages protect the package contents from external abuse, but too often the packages deflate and products spoil. The semipermeable polymer capsule holds gas at a higher pressure than atmospheric pressure. The pressure difference causes the device to deliver gas from the capsule to the modified atmosphere package in order to both maintain desired gas concentrations as well as package volume. Simple modifications to the device allow varying rates of gas transfer to the enclosed environment based on the need of the application. Varying the material used in constructing the semipermeable polymer capsule controls the material permeability coefficient. The material thickness, gas and vapor concentration, and total pressure also control the rate of gas transfer. In addition, these capsules are useful in applications where delivery of specific quantities and types of gasses are beneficial.