Canning and Dissolved Oxygen
It’s easy to become caught up in the creation, testing, and tweaking of new and exciting drinks. But as exciting as launching a new beverage may be, it’s also easy to forget the technical nuances surrounding production, filling, and packaging.
More specifically, it can be easy to forget the role that oxygen plays throughout the process.
Too much oxygen in your product can spell disaster, but having insight into dissolved oxygen, how it enters a product, and how it affects tastes and flavor is a great starting point to ensure quality and consistency throughout your beverage lineup.
Dissolved Oxygen in Canning
Dissolved oxygen (DO) is the amount of oxygen integrated into a product during the canning process. The amount varies based on the canning procedure, type of beverage, and style of the can or container.
In canning, dissolved oxygen is incorporated under a variety of circumstances, some more obvious than others. We will explore ways that dissolved oxygen can be introduced throughout the canning process, as well as how to limit the amount in your final product.
Concerns When Managing Dissolved Oxygen
While oxygen is necessary to create and produce certain beverages, incorporating too much oxygen during canning can lead to a chemical process called oxidation. Oxidation can lead to flavor degradation and reduced shelf life.
Dissolved oxygen can be incorporated in many steps of the filling process, both intentionally and unintentionally.
In order to maintain consistency across production, it’s essential to understand and monitor amounts of dissolved oxygen throughout the entire process and understand in which steps unwanted oxygen might be introduced.
Know the DO number in your brite tank
There are many opportunities for oxygen to be incorporated when transferring beer to a brite tank. Minimize exposure by strictly adhering to procedure guidelines and making sure all transfer hoses and elements are secure, sanitized, and dried.
Leaks are very common in the beverage packaging industry. Oxygen can enter through residual air from bright tank hoses, pinhole leaks, or through unsecure clamps or ill-fitting O-rings.
When it comes to liquid leaks, remember that where liquid is coming out, oxygen is coming in. Leaks may not always be so obvious though, so it is important to narrow down the source of incoming oxygen and replace any tubing or fittings that show signs of damage. Proper inspection and examination of the brite tanks and the surrounding environment will help decrease chances of added dissolved oxygen.
Temperature affects the solubility of oxygen. For example, cold liquids can hold more dissolved oxygen than warm liquids. Therefore, maintaining a constant desired temperature will decrease the chance of unwanted oxygen being added.
Some cleaning agents, such as oxygenated sanitizer or residual rinse water can lead to increased amounts of dissolved oxygen. Be mindful of proper sanitation protocols, as failure to do so can introduce trace amounts of oxygen.
Control Over CO2
Maintain consistent control during pre-CO2 purge. CO2 is both heavier and more dense than water, so introducing the gas delicately will help avoid intaking trace amounts of oxygen.
Exposure to Air
Slight variations in air, even from heaters, air conditioners, ceiling fans, or outside weather have noticeable impacts on dissolved oxygen levels.
Canning Machines and Dissolved Oxygen
Canning machines from Wild Goose are engineered to minimize dissolved oxygen pickup. This starts with a pre-purging of the can with CO2. CO2 is heavier than air and this step purges the can of virtually all oxygen.
From there, the proprietary filling method of a Wild Goose system ensures that the fill is fast, controlled, and doesn’t allow for excess oxygen to be introduced into the can. Additionally, the filling process creates beautiful, small-bubble foam caps that are critical to keeping oxygen out.
Immediately after the fill cycle, the can goes through the Wild Goose “DO Buster” CO2 Tunnel where it receives a laminar blanket of CO2 while simultaneously leveling foam or breaking large oxygen-rich bubbles. Then the can is topped with an end immediately after filling to avert oxygen intake.
Finally, the patented Wild Goose pneumatically-actuated and cam-driven seamer delivers a consistent, repeatable seam to protect long shelf life.
The way in which beverages are packaged, handled, and filled can impact dissolved oxygen in the final product. However, knowing and understanding how oxygen can be introduced during the canning process is the first step to controlling dissolved oxygen in your final product.
Most importantly, make sure the canning machine you purchase has technology to reduce dissolved oxygen and keep excess oxygen from spoiling your beverage quality.
For an in-depth look at dissolved oxygen, check out our webinar on Dissolved Oxygen in Packaging.