Desiccants Vs Oxygen Absorbers: The Differences


Are you looking to extend the shelf-life of your products by protecting them from moisture and oxygen contamination? Did you know that different products are available depending on whether you want to protect your product specifically from moisture or oxygen?

Yes—desiccants and oxygen absorbers are two terms that are often confused with each other. While they both work to preserve perishable products, each has a different role. Over the course of this article, we’ll discuss how desiccants and oxygen absorbers work, and how they differ from each other.

Oxygen Absorbers

Commonly used by food manufacturers to extend the shelf-life of their products, oxygen absorbers come in the form of packets that contain a mixture of salt, water, natural zeolite powder, and iron powder. When these packets are exposed to oxygen, a chemical reaction occurs, in which the oxygen is absorbed by the iron fillings. The benefits of oxygen absorbers include:

  • Preventing the growth of microorganisms, such as fungi and aerobic bacteria
  • Safe and easy to use
  • Preventing oxidation in food products (oxidation is known to negate the benefits of Vitamins A, C and E in foods)

Oxygen absorbing packets are commonly used in the packaging of food products such as:

  • Pet food
  • Salami
  • Cakes
  • Doughnuts


Exposure to moisture can lead to bacterial growth in food products, which can lead to food borne illnesses and spoilage. This is where desiccants come in. They are agents or compounds that facilitate dry environments by removing moisture from air.

Desiccants are made from porous materials that have the capability to absorb and hold moisture. Some common examples of industrial desiccants include:

  • Silica gel
  • Activated alumina
  • Calcium sulphate
  • Bauxite
  • Montmorillonite clay

Food and pharmaceutical companies use desiccants in a wide variety of ways. They can be incorporated into product packaging in the form of sachets, canisters, tablets, or pouches. The unique benefits of desiccants include:

  • Protecting potentially expensive product from mold growth caused by dampness and moisture.
  • Easy and safe to use.


A renowned provider of high-quality absorbents and desiccants, Sorbead India can provide the right solution for your products. We offer a wide variety of industrial-grade products, including molecular sieves, activated alumina balls, oxygen absorber packets, and more. Get in touch with us to learn more about the products we offer.

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