Ammonia Gas Permeability of Meat Packaging Materials



Abstract:  Meat products are packaged in polymer films designed to protect the product from exterior contaminants such as light, humidity, and harmful chemicals. Unfortunately, there is almost no data on ammonia permeability of packaging films. We investigated ammonia permeability of common meat packaging films: low-density polyethylene (LDPE; 2.2 mil), multilayer polyolefin (MLP; 3 mil), and vacuum (V-PA/PE; 3 mil, 0.6 mil polyamide/2.4 mil polyethylene). The films were fabricated into 10 × 5 cm pouches and filled with 50 mL deionized water. Pouches were placed in a plexiglass enclosure in a freezer and exposed to 50, 100, 250, or 500 ppm ammonia gas for 6, 12, 24, and 48 h at −17 ± 3 °C and 21 ± 3 °C. At freezing temperatures, no ammonia residues were detected and no differences in pH were found in the water. At room temperature, ammonia levels and pH of the water increased significantly (P < 0.05) with increasing exposure times and ammonia concentrations. Average ammonia levels in the water were 7.77 ppm for MLP, 5.94 ppm for LDPE, and 0.89 ppm for V-PA/PE at 500 ppm exposure for 48 h at 21 ± 3 °C. Average pH values were 8.64 for MLP, 8.38 for LDPE, and 7.23 for V-PA/PE (unexposed ranged from 5.49 to 6.44) at 500 ppm exposure for 48 h. The results showed that temperature influenced ammonia permeability. Meat packaging materials have low ammonia permeability and protect meat products exposed to ammonia leaks during frozen storage.