• food contact packaging;
  • FT-IR/ATR spectroscopy;
  • polymer gas permeability;
  • thermal behavior

Abstract:  This work reports an experimental study on the permeability and thermal behavior of commercial polypropylene (PP) film used for fresh-cut potatoes packaging. The permeability was tested using oxygen, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, mix of these 3 gases, normally used for modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) and Air, to understand if it would be possible to extend the shelf life of this food product designed for the catering field in respect to the packaging behavior. The temperature influence on permeability data, from 5 to 40 °C, was analyzed, before and after 4, 8, 12, 15, and 20 d of food contact, pointing out the dependence between temperature and gas transmission rate (GTR), solubility (S), diffusion coefficient (D), and time lag (tL) parameters. The activation energies (E) of the permeation process were determined with the different gases used in the experiments. The thermal behavior of PP film was studied by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and thermogravimetric analysis (TG) to well understand its thermal stability. Fourier transformed-infrared with attenuated total reflectance (FT-IR/ATR) spectroscopy was also performed in order to study the influence of the food contact on the chemical characteristics of the polymer film. The results obtained were discussed and compared each other. Studied samples showed, for all investigated gases, an increase of gas permeability and S values at higher temperature. Heat resistance classification among the sample as it is and stored in modified atmospheres was made. Finally all performed experiments have showed good polymer stability for the shelf-life storage potatoes under study.

Practical Application:  Study of packaging material was performed in a range of temperature, which can simulate the service condition to assess the suitability of a commercial polymer film for modified atmosphere packaging of fresh-cut potatoes minimally processed designed for catering purpose.