Source: UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA submitted to
Sponsoring Institution
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Project Status
Funding Source
Reporting Frequency
Accession No.
Grant No.
Project No.
Proposal No.
Multistate No.
Program Code
Project Start Date
Oct 1, 2010
Project End Date
Sep 30, 2015
Grant Year
Project Director
Welt, B. A.
Recipient Organization
Performing Department
Agricultural and Biological Engineering
Non Technical Summary
Packaging serves many functions required to deliver food products to consumers. Packaging helps to contain, protect and preserve foods while providing other value to consumers such as information and convenience. Food packaging failures can lead to widespread illness and death and/or financial loses. Improvement to any role of packaging adds value to society in the form of new or improved capabilities, new products and services and/or improved resource utilization efficiencies. This research program targets four areas for improvement of food packaging including testing and measurement, materials, product-package interactions and distribution.
Animal Health Component
Research Effort Categories

Knowledge Area (KA)Subject of Investigation (SOI)Field of Science (FOS)Percent
Goals / Objectives
Packaging serves many functions required to deliver food products to consumers. Packaging helps to contain, protect and preserve foods while providing other value to consumers such as information and convenience. Food packaging failures can lead to widespread illness and death and/or financial costs. Improvement to any role of packaging adds value to society in the form of new or improved capabilities, new products and services and/or improved resource utilization efficiencies. This research targets four areas for improvement of food packaging including testing and measurement, materials, product-package interactions and distribution. Testing and measurement -Since oxygen affects many foods, measurement of oxygen transmission rates of packaging materials and oxygen content of packages is critical to optimal food package design. Improving measurement cost, time and accuracy are necessary to improving food packaging. Materials - Use of plastics has been increasing for combinations of properties including durability, light weight, variable opacity and flexibility. When one material fails to provide all necessary properties, multilayer structures may be designed. Current sustainability trends do not favor multilayer materials because they are difficult to recycle or reuse. Efforts in this area include evaluation of new packaging biopolymers, development of nano-barrier coatings to improve properties of existing monolithic materials, development of new packaging biopolymers and sourcing precursor molecules for common materials from sustainable sources. Product-Package Interactions - Products should not interact with packaging. However, intimate and prolonged contact makes interactions unavoidable. Little data have been published on migration of packaging material additives and adjuvants from microwavable and/or ovenable materials into foods. Additionally, pathogenic bacteria continue to be implicated in many food product recalls. Irradiation continues to offer promise as a final pathogen "kill-step" for packaged foods, such as meats, poultry, fish and other foods. While food irradiation is becoming increasingly recognized as a safe and effective means of ensuring pathogen-free foods, relatively little work has been done on the fate of packaging film additives after irradiation. Therefore, work is needed to better understand the nature, quantity and migration properties of radiolytic products from packaging materials and their additives. Distribution - Food product recalls often result in enormous quantities of otherwise good product to be discarded resulting in major supply chain disruptions and financial losses. Improving accuracy and scope of food product recalls is a significant area of focus of this research program. Methods for carrying data include one and two dimensional barcodes, radio frequency identification (RFID), human readable data, geometric symbologies, etc. Work is needed to ensure efficient and accurate data transfer from package to supply chain intelligence systems. Additionally, supply chains are physically demanding to products. Food packaging is often viewed as primary, secondary and tertiary.
Project Methods
Gas permeation projects - Our laboratory uses steady-state and dynamic methods for determining gas permeation properties of materials. The steady state method used is described in detail in ASTM -D3985 titled, "Standard test method for oxygen gas transmission rate through plastic film and sheeting using a coulometric sensor." The steady state method is the principle of operation of our laboratory's Mocon 2/20 Oxtran instruments. Our laboratory is also continuing development of a dynamic accumulation method for measuring gas permeation of packages and materials. This method is described in Abdellatief and Welt (2007). Our laboratory uses permeation instruments from Oxysense, Inc. that use the dynamic accumulation method as well as in-house fabricated instruments for these measurements. Our laboratory is currently working to develop a new ASTM standard to properly define application of the dynamic accumulation method. Product-Package Interactions - This work will involve identification of radiolytic products, radiolytic product generation kinetics and evaluation of radiolytic product migration into food simulating solvents. Identification of radiolytic products and kinetic parameter estimations will involve exposure of chemical additives to different doses of ionizing radiation in the range of 0 to 50 kGy. Exposures will be done at commercial, governmental and academic gamma and electron beam irradiation facilities. Dosimetry will be done using commercially acceptable dosimetric methods and may involve, chemical, Perspex and/or Alanine dosimeters. Exposed chemical samples will be dissolved in appropriate solvents and analyzed using standard HPLC and HPLC+MS techniques. Migration studies will be performed in an accelerated manner at elevated temperatures using FDA prescribed food simulating solvents (i.e. aqueous, alcohol and fatty solvent solutions). Distribution - Development of Critical Tracking Event Analysis methodology will involve close interactions with industry. We intend to work closely with food handling and processing companies to help to identify and categorize critical tracking events (CTE) and associated key data elements (KDE). These will be developed into case studies and training materials in order to help the food industry achieve farm-to-fork food traceability.

Progress 10/01/12 to 09/30/13

Target Audience:Submitted patent application for "high performance" version of dynamic accumulation technology. Developed automated prototype of high performance dynamic accumulation system. Further developed automated prototype for delivery, testing and evaluation by US Army Food Laboratory. Changes/Problems: Nothing Reported What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided?Machine automation and ergonomic design of instruments. How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest?Conferences, scientific andtrade journals. What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals?Continue development of this technology and expand capabilities into testing at different relative humidities. Also develop a dynamic accumulation based test for water vapor transmission.

What was accomplished under these goals? Improved method for measuring oxygen transmission rate of packaging materials. Technique drastically reduces time required to obtain measurment via dynamic accumulation. Technique also boosts resolution of steady-state method for performing the measurement.


  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Accepted Year Published: 2014 Citation: Abdellatief A, Welt BA, Butler J, McLamore E, Teixeira AA, Shukla S. 2014. Predictive modeling of oxygen transmission through micro-perforations for packaging applications. Journal of Applied Packaging Research. 7(2):17-31.
  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Accepted Year Published: 2014 Citation: Kurniawan Y, Purwanto YA, Welt BA, Purwadaria HK, Abdellatief A, Sunarti TC, Purwanto S. 2014. Effect of plasticizer on oxygen permeability of cast polylactic acid (PLA) films determined using dynamic accumulation method. Journal of Applied Packaging Research. 6(2):51-57.

Progress 10/01/11 to 09/30/12

OUTPUTS: Activities: Conducted experiments on gas permeation of food packaging and other materials. Conducted experiments on algae growth for purpose of biomaterials. Taught and mentored graduate and undergraduate students in methods related to packaging permeability. Events: Attended conferences related to food packaging, food traceability and agricultural and biological engineering. Services: Served on expert food traceability panel for the Institute of Food Technologists. Products: Developed new technology to accelerate package permeation testing. PARTICIPANTS: Commercialization partner for dynamic accumulation gas permeation technology is Oxysense, Inc., Dallas, TX. TARGET AUDIENCES: Target audience for gas permeation technology is the packaging and materials industries. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Proof-of-concept second generation technology was successful, therefore commercialization of technology is proceeding.

Changes in knowledge: Discovered new method to accelerate gas permeation testing. Changes in actiona: Licenced permeation technology. Involved in commercialization of technology.


  • Welt BA, Blanchfield JR. 2012. Food Traceability IUFost Scientific Information Bulletin.
  • Aso SN, Welt BA, Teixeira AA, Achinewhu SC. 2012. Effects of radiation processing on sensory quality of food. Journal of Applied packaging Research. 6(2):93-110.
  • Ji W., Welt BA. 2012. Concise Review: Irradiation of food packaging materials. Journal of Applied packaging Research. 6(1):55-65.
  • Abdellatief A, Welt BA. 2012. Comparison of new dynamic accumulation method for measuring oxygen transmission rate (OTR) of packaging against the steady-state method described by ASTM D3985. Journal of Packaging Science and Technology. DOI: 10.1002/pts.1974.
  • Li Y, Yang W, Chung SY, Chen H, Ye M, Teixeira AA, Gregory JF, Welt BA, Shriver S. 2012. Effect of Pulsed Ultraviolet Light and High Hydrostatic Pressure on the Antigenicity of Almond Protein Extracts. Food and Bioprocess Technology. 05/2012. DOI:10.1007/s11947-011-0666-8.

Progress 10/01/10 to 09/30/11

OUTPUTS: My research in the area of food packaging was in three areas including food traceability, packaging material permeation testing and developing renewable sources for packaging polymer precursor molecules via algal diatoms. Outputs related to food traceability include development and proposal of a novel framework for a global food traceability system revolving around the concept of "Critical Tracking Events" or CTEs. A Critical Tracking Event is defined as "any occurrence involving an item within the supply chain at a specific location and time that is associated with collection and storage of data useful for associating an item or related items to the specific occurrence at a later time and is determined to be necessary for identifying the actual path of an item through the supply chain." The beauty of the CTE concept is that it is a bottom-up approach rather than a top-down, one size fits all solution. Since each supply chain participant is most knowledgeable about their own operations, they are in the best position to know which food handling operations, or events, are critical to ultimately tracing food products and their ingredients through their operation. Additionally, since different supply chain participants use different types and levels of technology, they are most knowledgeable about how best to collect CTE data. Finally, since every event is specific to a particular item, and data required to identify the event is minimal (e.g. What Where When), CTE based food traceability inherently provides a structure for effective data security. Reports, emails and documents describing the CTE concept have been created in conjunction with my involvement serving on an expert panel for the Institute of Food Technologists. Outputs related to food packaging permeation testing include continued development of a new, patent pending technique for measuring oxygen permeation in packaging materials. Outputs have been mostly in the form of progress reports to my corporate sponsor, Oxysense, Inc. Additionally, research results have been reported in international and national scientific conferences. A related publication is currently under review in a packaging related scientific journal. Outputs related to sustainable packaging involved selection of a promising marine diatom species to study further for its potential to provide molecular precursors that may be used to produce common commodity plastics that until now are derived from petroleum. A unique model has been developed to predict both biomass and lipid productivity of the organism under various conditions. PARTICIPANTS: Nothing significant to report during this reporting period. TARGET AUDIENCES: Nothing significant to report during this reporting period. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Nothing significant to report during this reporting period.

Food Traceability - The food traceability concept known as "Critical tracking Events" is being well received by industry, government and academia. The phrase "Critical Tracking Events" is now commonly used by the Institute of Food Technologists and the Food and Drug Administration. The concept is being further developed by a consortium of industry, government and academics under an FDA sponsored project led by the Institute of Food Technologists. Packaging Material Permeability - Improvements in our technique for measuring gas transmission rates through packaging films has expanded from perforated to non-perforated films and whole packages. These advances have been incorporated in the latest commercial products currently being marketed by Oxysense, Inc.


  • Kim Y, Welt BA, Talcott ST. 2011. The impact of packaging materials on the antioxidant phytochemical stability of aqueous infusions of green tea (Camellia sinensis) and Yaupon Holly (Ilex vomitoria) during cold storage. Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry. Web: 24 March 2011.
  • McCombie WC and Welt BA. 2011. Radio Frequency Identification Technology. Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology. Wiley & Sons, Inc., NJ.
  • Vargas LF, Welt BA, Pullammanappallil P. 2011. Biodegradation of steam-treated polylactic acid (PLA) under composting conditions. Journal of Applied Packaging Research. 5(2)107-119.
  • Welt BA, Wright SL. 2011. When you hear biofuels think plastics. Packaging World. 11:30.