Modified Atmosphere Packaging, also known as MAP, is referred to as a process of modifying the atmosphere inside the package to increase shelf life of the product. This packaging is specifically beneficial for the foods because many of the perishable food items need to be kept fresh until they are used up by the customers. Now, removing oxygen from the package is the way to preserve those foods in an ideal way. And MAP allows you to remove the oxygen quite effectively.
A few things that you may need to know about MAP are worth mentioning in this regard.
How does this packaging method work?
When there is oxygen in the package, it can initiate lipid oxidation reactions. Moreover, the rate of respiration in fruit and vegetables is higher when there is oxygen in the package. And this presence of oxygen is the major reason for the shortened shelf life of the product.
This presence of oxygen can lead to the aerobic spoilage of the food items. Moreover, it can be also encourage the production of unwanted microorganisms in the package.
The Modified Atmosphere Packaging basically involves the replacement of oxygen with other gases in order to delay or reduce the unwanted reactions which can spoil the foods. Oxygen needs to be removed from the package in order to change the atmosphere of the package for good.
The gases used in the process mainly include normal atmospheric gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen (N2) and oxygen (O2). Another way to inhibit the microbial growth is to use the gases such as nitrous oxide (N2O), argon (Ar) and hydrogen (H2).
You can apply these gases either individually or in the mixed form using a certain proportion. Talking about CO2, it is the most effective option when it comes to inhibition of microorganisms which mainly include mold and other common aerobic bacteria. The inhibition mainly involves penetration of gases into the liquids contained by the foods. This penetration reduces the pH level.
Nitrogen is an inert gas which is used for the replacement of oxygen in the package. This way, the oxidation can be prevented. Moreover, nitrogen offers low solubility in water. This characteristic helps in preventing package collapse as internal volume of the package is maintained well.