Oxygen Absorbers: Their Function and Use


Other than keeping food fresh, food additives also need to control discoloration, bad odors, and enzymatic activity.

According to research, oxidative degradation is a major cause of food spoilage and reduced shelf life. This is why food preservation has included oxygen removal since time immemorial.

Oxygen absorbers do just that. Widely used for pharmaceutical products, oxygen absorbers are also used for food products.

They help preserve the texture, color, and flavor of food, so it remains healthy and safe to consume for a long time. Other than that, it also bolsters customer satisfaction with the product and helps companies prevent spoilage costs.

What do oxygen absorbers do?

Oxygen absorbers are small packets of iron powder that are packaged in a way that allows oxygen and moisture to be absorbed. The iron powder absorbs any oxygen in the space, forming iron oxide.

Oxygen absorbers help protect dry foods against spoilage and bacterial growth. They do so by removing oxygen from the container, leaving nitrogen behind. These oxygen absorbers are placed inside containers to increase the shelf life of the product.

These absorbers are considered to be far more effective than ordinary vacuum packaging, because they only remove oxygen.

Most manufacturers also mix up oxygen absorbers with ethanol emitters to reduce oxidation and prevent molding.

According to research, the shelf life for bread without preservatives is close to four days, but with preservatives, this can be pushed to six days. Oxygen absorbers turn it up to eleven, making its shelf life 30 days.


Why are oxygen absorbers needed?

Oxygen and moisture are largely responsible for diminishing the value of freeze-dried and dehydrated food. Not only do they have a detrimental impact on the product’s content, flavor, and color, but they also lead to the growth of mold, bacteria, and insects. Oxygen absorbers are a viable safety option for both short- and long-term food storage.

There are a lot of factors that could lead to food spoilage. The most common are leaks, broken seals, processing errors, and temperature fluctuations in storage.

Oxygen absorbers delay the effects of food oxidation by donating hydrogen atoms to the radicals.

This results in the formation of stable antioxidant radicals that can no longer participate in propagation reactions. This consequently slows down the oxidation process.


Sorbead India is a top-of-the-line manufacturer and supplier of industrial absorbents and desiccants. Oxygen absorbers are one of our top-selling commercial products.

Get in touch to place an order or to learn more.


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