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Food Addit Contam. 2002 Mar;19(3):303-13.

Influence of flavour absorption on oxygen permeation through LDPE, PP, PC and PET plastics food packaging.

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  • 1Department of Agrotechnology and Food Sciences, Wageningen University, The Netherlands.


The effect of flavour absorption on the oxygen permeability of low-density polyethylene (LDPE), polypropylene (PP), polycarbonate (PC) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) was studied using an isostatic continuous flow system. Polymer samples were exposed to a model solution containing limonene, hexyl acetate, nonanone and decanal at 40 degrees C. After exposure, one part of each sample was analysed for absorbed flavour compounds using a Large Volume Injection GC Ultrasonic 'in vial' extraction method, and from the other part, oxygen permeability was measured in a permeation cell at 25 degrees C. After 8 h of exposure, LDPE and PP samples showed a significant linear (R2 = 0.82 and 0.99) increase in oxygen permeability of 21 and 130%, respectively. Owing to swelling of the polymer samples resulting from flavour absorption, the structure of the polymeric network changed (i.e. opened) and consequently increased oxygen permeability. The oxygen permeability of exposed PC showed a significant linear (R2 = 0.78) decrease of 11% after 21 days. PC obviously did not swell like LDPE or PP. Therefore, it was suggested that absorbed flavour compounds occupied or blocked 'microcavities' through which normally oxygen is transported. Absorption of flavour compounds by PET did not affect the oxygen permeability of PET significantly.

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