Natural oxygen scavenger

Determination of the antioxidant activity and oxygen scavenging potential of natural plant extracts

Workgroup: Preservation of food quality

Scientific Partners and Guidance:
Fraunhofer-Institut für Verfahrenstechnik und Verpackung IVV; Dr. Carolin Hauser / Doris Gibis

Financing: IVLV
Duration: 2014

A lot of foods, such as sausages, cheese or bakery products are very sensitive towards oxidative quality changes. These can rapidly lead to quality losses such as greying of sausages or rancidity of cheese. This deterioration can again lead to high food losses in the supply chain. In order to protect the food from oxidative changes, it is important to completely remove the oxygen from the package. For this purpose oxygen-scavengers are often used in food packaging. Commercially available systems are often based on polymers or iron. They have the disadvantage that they must not be in direct contact with the food. Thus, an additional barrier to protect the food from the scavenger is needed. This leads to a slower oxygen consumption of the scavenger, higher material costs and worse recyclability.

In the food-sector the general trend goes towards natural products. The philosophy of many enterprises is “clean labelling”, i.e. disclaiming synthetic additives and using natural components instead. Fort the packaging industry this also means that the packages should be natural based, sustainable and recyclable. Chemically based oxygen scavengers (polymer- or iron-based) cannot fulfill these demands. Therefore the use of natural antioxidant substances such as polyphenols or anthocyanidins, which are often applied for preserving foods yet, seem to have a high potential. These should be characterized towards their scavenging potential as well with the aim to use them as potential oxygen scavengers in packaging.

Aim of the research project is to determine the antioxidant and oxygen scavenging potential of natural plant extracts such as grape-pomace, olive-press-cake or polyphenols from hop plants. Subsequently a correlation between the antioxidant activity and the oxygen scavenging properties should be established. On this basis the potential use of natural oxygen-scavengers in food packaging should be evaluated.