The preservation of leaves & herbs is contingent on moisture absorption, oxygen, heat, sunlight exposure, and lack of contact with exterior aromas. Leaf preservation can be achieved through a flexible hermetic packaging such as VacQPack’s, where organically compliant fumigation takes place, kept away from common threats such as insect infestations and high levels of humidity.
Leaf storage and preservation requires a dark and airtight environment with 2% to 4% moisture.
The VacQPack system grants, with flushes of Nitrogen (N2) alternated with vacuum — the optimal atmospheric conditions for packaging tea leaves, pharma leaves, aromatic leaves, tobacco, and other herbs. Its software monitors and records the treatment delivered, and its liner’s thickness of 200 microns can hold up even to the sharp edges of twigs.
Insect infestation and cross contamination at the warehouse are always threats to the preservation of tea and pharma leaves. In the case of a detected infestation, the fastest way to fight it is using flushes of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) alternated with vacuum until the inner package atmosphere has only the residue of oxygen. This organically compliant method uses the toxicity of the CO2 along the absence of oxygen — the anoxia effect.
Meanwhile the most important and challenging goal in leaf & herb preservation is to retain their original flavor and sensory qualities. In fact, a bad preservation policy can affect total phenols, flavonoid content, and may cause degradation of antioxidant compounds and the destruction of the active metabolites. Freshly extracted leaves show high levels of phenols and flavonoid content, and the highest levels of antioxidants. It is important to retain this, as it is a factor in extending the shelf life of tea and pharma leaves and herbs.
Modified atmospheric packaging (MAP), combined with low pressure, low oxygen levels, and using the correct storage temperature (>75ºF), are of great help in facing these challenges.