Sunflower seed preservation is related to the successful stabilization of oil, moisture, and free fatty acids content. Sunflower seed preservation is also linked to a good prevention policy from insect outbreaks, which may cause depreciation and weight losses.
Sunflower seeds are sensitive to exceptional levels of moisture, because fat-cleaving enzymes are activated by water. By the same token, the hydrolytic/enzymatic fat cleavage promoted by excess moisture will potentiate respiration and consequent self-heating.
So, for either storage or transportation purposes, sunflower seeds must be packaged in watertight containers for protection against rain, sea water, and condensation.
The packaging of sunflower seeds should also act as a barrier against the senses of insects, and constitute an effective physical barrier against their penetration into the cargo. VacQPack liners correspond to such parameters and provide assurance as preventive tools against merchant grain beetles, peanut weevils, sawtoothed beetles, meal moths, dried fruit moths, and mites. Likewise this same system is prepared to fight a detected insect infestation or cross infestation, using flushes of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) alternated with low pressure by vacuum.
Lastly, sunflower seeds are sensitive to atmospheric oxygen (O2), which will react with the unsaturated fatty acids and cause rancidity. In fact, oxidative fat cleavage is common in shelled sunflower seeds, because the shelling stresses the kernels in contact with atmospheric oxygen.
On the other hand, sunflower seeds’ metabolic activity is strong, even after harvest, absorbing oxygen (O2) and expelling carbon dioxide (CO2). Explicitly CO2 concentrations can be at a very dangerous level for human health (TLV: 0.49 vol.%), which requires ventilation and gas measurement.
To protect sunflower seeds, excess moisture level, insect presence, and oxidation phenomena must all be kept at bay. In the event of an extended length of storage or cargo care, the opted packaging solution must be not only airtight and watertight, but also fully palletized for easy maneuverability.
The VacQPack system creates a hermetic flexible bulk package, under controlled atmospheric (CA) conditions and is designed for the common standard pallet dimensions. An added benefit is the absence of metals that may catalyze oxidation in sunflower seeds.
VacQPack liners are composed of 7 layers, with an Ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH) gas barrier and a thickness of 200 microns — meaning that inner moisture content remains stable, and that the desired level of residual oxygen (O2) is achieved. This allows the seed to keep breathing in a very low activity and will manage at the same time the release of carbon dioxide (CO2).