Optimization of Head Space Pressure Using Liquid Nitrogen in Hot-packed BBQ Sauce

Praveen Yerramsetti1, Timothy Bowser2, *, Ranjith Ramanathan1
1 Department of Animal and Food Sciences, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK, USA
2 Department of Biosystems Engineering, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK, USA

© 2019 Yerramsetti et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Oklahoma State University 148 FAPC, Stillwater, OK 74078, USA; Fax: 405-744-6313; Tel: 405-744-6688; Email:



BBQ sauce was hot-filled at 54°C (130°F) in plastic PET, 567 g (20 oz) bottles. The PET bottles paneled, due to the temperature and pressure of the hot-fill process. Liquid nitrogen was used as a processing aid to optimize the headspace pressure to prevent paneling.


The objective of the research was to eliminate paneling of the PET bottles due to hot-filling.


A micro dosing system was used to inject nitrogen into the container just after filling and immediately prior to capping. Headspace pressure was measured using a custom-designed pressure sensor. Nitrogen dosage time was plotted against headspace pressure. The relationship between nitrogen dosage time and headspace pressure was linear, with a coefficient of determination of 0.84, and slope of 1.36 kPa/ms, with an intercept of -12.21 kPa.

Results & Conclusion:

Results were analyzed using analysis of variance. Visual inspection of the bottles for defects resulted in the determination of the optimum headspace pressure of 30 kPa (4.4 psi).

Keywords: BBQ sauce, Headspace, Pressure, Paneling, PET bottle, Optimize.