Steady- and Unsteady-State Determination of the Water Vapor Permeance (WVP) of Polyethylene Film to Estimate the Moisture Gain of Packed Dry Mango
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© 2017, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.The water vapor permeance (WVP; g m¿2 d¿1 Pa¿1) of packaging films quantifying the water vapor transfer rate between foods and its surroundings is usually determined in units operating under steady-state conditions that do not necessarily reflect food handling scenarios. This study evaluated the determination of the WVP of a polyethylene (PE) film by steady-state method ASTM F1249-06 using a permeability cell and unsteady-state method ASTM E96/E96M in which 102 vacuum-sealed PE bags containing silica gel were stored (37.8 °C, 75% relative humidity) and weighed over 25 days. Average steady-state WVP (2.935 ± 0.365 × 10¿3, n = 4) fell within the 95% quantiles of unsteady-state WVP values (1.818¿3.183 × 10¿3, n = 2142). Moisture uptake of dehydrated mango stored at 37.8 °C and 75% relative humidity was predicted with WVP values obtained by both methods. Predictions were validated by monitoring over 25 days the weight gain of 100 PE bags with dry mango. Experimental moisture averages during storage fell within one standard deviation of predictions using the unsteady-state WVP (R2 = 0.974). The same was observed only until day 15 for predictions obtained with the steady-state WVP. Calculations for days 20¿25 overestimated the moisture uptake by 6.0¿7.2%, resulting in registered R2 = 0.924. The unsteady-state WVP determination is low-cost, uses large numbers of film samples, and allowed more accurate predictions of dry mango moisture uptake. Knowledge of the moisture uptake controlled by the film WVP is essential when predicting the safety and quality changes limiting the shelf-life of foods.