Modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) is a useful preservation system that allows to significantly increase the shelf life of fruits and vegetables. The MAP results of changing the composition of the atmosphere in the packaging headspace due to the dynamic interaction between the metabolic processes of the packaged product on the one hand, in which O2 is consumed and another gases such as CO2 and water vapor are generated, and on the other hand, by transferring all of these gases through the package. The aim of the system is to balance these two processes in such a way that constant levels of these different gases are reached in the packaging headspace and that these equilibrium levels are as favorable as possible to preserve the product. This chapter describes design strategies to obtain a satisfactory gas transfer capacity in the MAP system through the configuration of several related variables such as the type of packing material, its thickness, the transfer surface area and the required number and diameter of perforations. For this, the necessary steps are proposed to estimate the appropriate transfer capacity according to the equilibrium gas concentrations desired to longer preserve the product by using the mass balance equations of the MAP system.
Part of the book: Postharvest Handling