NEWS: Visual Oxygen indicator for food packaging


The main cause of most food spoilage is oxygen where aerobic food-spoiling micro-organisms grow and thrive. Using modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) it is possible to reduce the concentration of oxygen to very low levels which means an increase of shelf-life of the product.

But MAP can not guarantee 100%  integrity of the food. Therefore, the detection of oxygen inside the package is of great interest. Maria Dolores Gomez Jimenez  a researcher at the Functional Printing and Coating Department  of Aimplas – the Spanish centre for innovation and plastics technology – will explain to Congress delegates about an exciting new visial oxygen indicator it has developed for food packaging.

An oxygen indicator should be cheap, non-toxic, with components approved for food contact, with an irreversible response towards oxygen and easy to integrate into the food packaging process.

Different kind of oxygen indicators have been developed: luminescence and colourimetric based indicators. The first ones are expensive, the colour change is not easily discernible and are reversible which could give a false negative. The second ones, based on redox reactions, are cheaper, with a visible colour change and irreversible (activated by UV light).

Currently, the effort is mainly focused on the latter of these options. The main problem is that they are based on Methylene Blue (MB) which is not accepted for food contact.

Aimplas has now developed a colourimetric indicator able to make an irreversible visual colour change at low oxygen concentrations where all the components used comply with the food contact legislation. Come and learn about it in Amsterdam.

More about this at AIPIA World Congress REGISTER!