Gases and Vapors
Gases and vapors are naturally associated with foods and food processing systems. The equilibrium between food and water vapor determines temperatures achieved during processing. Dissolved gases in foods such as oxygen affect shelf life. Gases are used to flush packages to eliminate oxygen and prolong shelf life. Modified atmospheres in packages have been used to prolong shelf life of packaged foods. Air is used for dehydration. Gases are used as propellants in aerosol cans and as refrigerants. The distinction between gases and vapors is very loose because theoretically all vapors are gases. The term “vapor” is generally used for the gaseous phase of a substance that exists as a liquid or a solid at ambient conditions.
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