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Package indicators of microorganism growth


Key words food packaging, intelligent packaging, indicator, microorganism, acidification, biosensor, quality, microbial growth
Latest version 2010/12/26
Completed by FRIP

How does it work?

Primary objective to monitor the growth of microorganisms in packaged food product
Working principle Chemical, physical principle: Intelligent packaging systems in food processing include the application of different indicators which are able to monitor the state and quality of the product. The indicators monitoring the microorganisms growth in packaged products can facilitate the visual differentiation of quality and spoiled products.

Working principle of microorganism growth indirect indicators consists of visible monitoring of gas and/or volatile substances produced in the package (CO2, H2S, volatile amines, ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, diacetyl, etc.), change of pH value of the packaged foodstuff, etc.[3,6,11,16].

Biological principle: Packaging indicators with visual response based on immunochemical reactions (antibody reaction based indicators), (antibody is gained from blood of immunised experimental animal (e.g. rabbit)) were already developed for the monitoring of the growth of particular type of microorganisms, e.g. Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas. Some indicators are based on detection of specific metabolites (microbial enzymes, toxins, etc.). Application of biosensors in this context could be expected in the future [2, 10, 21].

Further details of the topic can be received by the studying the literature, see e.g. [1,4,5,7,8,9,12,13,14,15,17,18,19,20,22,23].

Additional effects Instant information about the microbiological quality of packaged product, consumer convenience.
Important process parameters Design of the indicator, package suitability for indicator application, treshold level of indicator, qualitative or quantitative output, range of validity.
Important product parameters Composition of the product should be related to indicator selected.

What can it be used for?

Products All perishable food products, e.g. minimally processed food, ready to eat products that are stored chilled
Operations Packaging, storage of packaged products.
Solutions for short comings Food shelf-life extension, food safety

What can it NOT be used for?

Products Not known
Operations No
Other limitations Hygienic restriction, acceptable price
Risks or hazards Food contamination


Maturity Production of packaging indicators based on chemical reactions with microorganism metabolites is the mature process. Other packaging indicators monitoring microorganism growth in packaged food are in the stage ranging from theoretical speculation to laboratory testing.

At the commercial level: - Application of CO2 indicators, e.g. Reflex (Cryovac Sealed Air), volatile amine indicators, e.g. FreshTag (Cox Recorders), hydrogen sulfide (VTT) - Application of immunochemical indicators for detection of Escherichia coli growth (Food Seantinel System) or Pseudomonas contamination (Toxin Guard).

At the research level: - Immunochemical indicators for wider scale of pathogenic microorganisms.

Indicators on the base of biosensors and/or nano-sensors.

Modularity /Implementation Production of the indicators of microorganisms’ growth suitable for application on food package can be inserted in existing production lines.
Consumer aspects It can be expected that consumers will accept food packaging systems with the indicators of microorganisms’ growth.
Legal aspects There is a general hygienic legislation on practical application of active and intelligent packaging systems for food processing in EU (Regulation No. 1935/2004 and 450/2009)
Environmental aspects There is little information concerning environmental impact of wide scale indicator production.

Further Information

Institutes VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
Companies Toxin Alert, SIRA Tech, Sealed Air Corp., ITS, COX Recorders
References [1] Amor M.S., Argyri A., Nychas GJ.E.: Rapid monitoring of the spoilage of minced BEF stored under conventionally and active packaging conditions using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy in tandem with chemometrics. Meat Science 81, 507-514, 2009.

[2] Aikio S., Grönquist S., Hakola L., Hurme E., Jussila S., Kaukoniemi O.V., Kopola H., Känsäkoski M., Leinonen M., Lippo S., Mahlberg R., Peltonen S., Quintus-Leino P., Rajamäki T., Ritschkoff A.C., Smolander M., Vartiainen J., Viikari L., Vilkman M. (2010): Bioactive paper and fibre products. Patent and literary survey.

[3] Balamatsia C.C., Rogga K., Badeka A., Kontominas M.G., Savvaidis I.N.: Microbilogical, chemical and sensory characteristics of chicken meat at 4 °C: Effect of low dose irradiation. Journal of Food Protection 69, 1126-1133, 2004.

[4] Balamatsia C.C., Paleologos E.K., Kontominas M.G., Savvaidis I.N.: Correlation between microbial flora, sensory changes and biogenic amines formation in fresh chicken meat stored aerobically or under modified atmosphere packaging at 4 °C: Possible role of biogenic amines as spoilage indicators. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek Journal 89, 9-17, 2006.

[5] Byun J.S., Min J.S., Kim I.S., Kim J.W., Chung M.S., Lee M.: Comparison of indicators of microbial quality of meat during aerobic cold storage. Journal of Food Protection 66, 1733-1737, 2003.

[6] Chu Y.I., Penland R., Wilhelmus K.: Colorimetric Indicators of Microbial Contamination in Corneal Preservation Medium. Cornea 19 (4), 517-520, 2000.

[7] Drbohlav J., Roubal P., Pecháčová M., Peroutková J., Šalaková A. (2010) Indicator of bacteria growth (in Czech)

[8] Ellis D.I., Broadhurst D., Goodacre R.: Rapid and quantitative detection of the microbial spoilage of beef by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and machine learning. Analytica Chimica Acta 514, 193-201, 2004.

[9] Ellis D.I., Broadhurst D., Clarke S.J., Goodacre R.: Rapid identification of closely related muscle foods by vibrational spectroscopy and machine learning. Analyst 130, 1648-1654, 2005.

[10] Goldsmith R.M., Goldsmith C., Woodaman J., Park D.l., Ayala C.E.: Food Sentinel SystemTM. International Patent WO 99/14598.

[11] Gontard N. (2010) Active and intelligent food packaging: technological evaluations and safety evaluation.

[12] Hong S.I., Park W.S.: Use of colour indicators as an active packaging system for evaluating kimchi fermentation. Journal of Food Engineering 46, 67-72, 2000.

[13] Hurme E.(2010) Current situation and future research needs in active and intelligent food packaging.

[14] Industrial Test Systems, Inc. [1].

[15] Nopwinyuwong A., Trevanich S., Suppakul P.: Development off a novel colorimetric indicatora label for monitoring freshness of intermediate-moisture dessert spoilage. Talanta 81, 1126-1132, 2010.
[16] Pacquit A., Lau K.T., McLaughlin H., Frisby J., Quilty B., Diamond D.: Development of a volatile amine sensor for the monitoring of fish spoilage. Talanta 69, 515-520, 2006.

[17] Pacquit A., Frisby J., Diamond D., Lau K.T., Farrela A., Quilty B., Diamond D.: Development of a smart packaging for the monitoring of fish spoilage. Food Chemistry 102, 466-470, 2007.

[18] Rokka M., Earola S., Smolander M., Alakomi H., Ahvenainen R.: Monitoring of the quality of modified atmosphere packed broiler chicken cuts stored at different temperature conditions. B. Biogenic amines as quality-indicating metabolites. Food Control 15,601-607, 2004.

[19] Silva C.M.G., Gloria M.B.A.: Bioactive amines in chicken breast and thigh after slaughter and during storage at 4 ± 1 °C and in chicken-based meat products. Food Chemistry 78, 241-248, 2002.

[20] Smolander M., Hurme E., Latva-Kala K., Louima T., Alakomi HL. Ahvenainen R.: Myoglobin-based indicators for the evaluation of freshness of unmarinated broiler cuts. Innovative Food Science and Emerging Technologies 3, 279-288, 2002.

[21] Toxin Alert Inc. (2010). Toxin Guard.

[22] Vaikousi H., Biliaderis C., Koutsoumanis K.P.: Applicability of microbial Time Temperature Indicator (TTI) for monitoring spoilage of modified atmosphere packed minced meat. Intermational Journal of Food Microbiology 133, 272-278, 2009.

[23] Velusamy V., Arshak K., Korostynska O., Oliwa K., Adley C.: An overview of foodborne pathogen detection: In the perspective of biosensors. Biotechnology Advances 28, 232-254, 2010.

Design of the indicator, package suitability for indicator application, treshold level of indicator, qualitative or quantitative output, range of validity. Composition of the product should be related to indicator selected. Packaging of liquids 2.2.5 physical, chemical, biological stabilizing, packaging ICT, biotechnology, nanotechnology Seven databases were used, i.e. FSTA, ISI Web of Knowledge, ScienceDirect, SpringerLink, Wiley InterScience, and FOODnetBASE, as well as Google programme. The publications after 2000 were searched, general keywords were tested in title, abstract and keywords: food packaging AND microorganisms indicators food packaging AND immunochemical indicators intelligent packaging AND indicator AND microorganisms WikiSysop :Template:Review document :Template:Review status

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Created by WikiSysop on 29 January 2011, at 01:32