Iron-based Oxygen-Scavengers

Application of iron-based oxygen-scavengers for foods

Workgroup: Preservation of Food Quality

Scientific Partners and Guidance:
Fraunhofer-Institut für Verfahrenstechnik und Verpackung (IVV), Doris Gibis

Financiation: IVLV
Duration: 2015

Many foodstuffs (e.g. sausages, dairy products, nuts) get influenced by oxidation reactions which lead to a fast loss in quality. This is due to reactions with valuable substances in the foodstuff. Consequences are e.g. a rancid odour or taste, loss in the vitamin content or colour changes. If these changes occur during distribution in retail, the products get unsalable which means a huge decrease in sale. For that reason it is very important to protect the food from deteriorative oxidative changes. This can be done by packaging under oxygen-free conditions. Conventionally, modified atmosphere packaging is used to remove the oxygen from the headspace of the package. However, oxygen contents of up to 2 % v/v still remain in the headspace of the package which is still enough to cause a deterioration of the foodstuff. These reactions are catalyzed very often under presence of light.

To reduce a further reduction in oxygen (< 0.01 % v/v O2) oxygen-scavenger systems can be used. The advantage of iron-based oxygen-scavenger systems is an easy processing (integrated in the film or separately added to the package, like sachets or labels) and a cost-effective production compared to other oxygen-scavenger systems (e.g. polymer-based systems). Recent studies demonstrated the stabilization of quality for some foodstuffs such as sausages or dairy products by the use of iron-based oxygen-scavenger-systems. This means that the quality of these products could be maintained over a long period of time.

The aim of the project is to investigate the use of iron-based oxygen-scavenger-sachets for further oxygen-sensitive products like mayonnaise, oil or pastry products which form rancid notes in presence of oxygen. Storage trials with prepared packages are planned in combination with quality tests (analytical tests / sensory evaluation). Based on these data a positive effect of an iron-based oxygen-scavenger on the quality retention should be investigated and proved.