Packaging under protective atmosphere
An overview of Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP)
In order to be successful on the market, manufacturers of sensitive or perishable products must be able to guarantee first-class quality over a long period of time. This applies, in particular, to the food industry but also the electronics, pharmaceutical or cosmetics industry. Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) plays a decisive role in this. Typical protective gases are nitrogen (N2), carbon dioxide (CO2) and oxygen (O2) as well as a mixture of these gases. These are natural components of the ambient air but in modified concentrations that need to be checked. In most food packages, the oxygen concentration is reduced while the carbon dioxide concentration is increased in order to inhibit the growth of aerobic microorganisms. That also allows you to slow down oxidation processes that change the ingredients and thus the taste and colour of the products. Other foodstuff, however, requires a certain oxygen content inside the packaging so it can stay fresh or keep its colour. But protective gases are not only used in the food industry. Electronic components are also packaged under nitrogen in order to prevent oxidation and corrosion processes. The same applies to pharmaceutical or cosmetic products, for example, in vials or blister packages. In addition, the modified atmosphere stabilises the packaging providing the product with a mechanical protection.
Analysis of headspace volume
In order to check the mixture ratio of the protective gases inside a package, a self-adhesive septum is applied to a sampling point. The suction needle of the gas analyser
is then inserted through the septum into the headspace of the package. A simple touch on the touch-screen of the device will ensure that the required sample is automatically drawn in. Within a very short time, the oxygen and carbon dioxide content is measured, the nitrogen content calculated, and the results are shown on the display.