Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Food Science and Technology

Major Professor

Melvin R. Johnston

Committee Members

Leon E. McCarty, W. W. Overcart


On March 3, 1962, a liquid-ammonia line broke in the frozen food storage room at the University of Tennessee Food Technology Department, and exposed the foods in the 0° F storage room to ammonia. Customers of the Department complained that the flavor and odor of the foods had been ruined.

In January 1964, the same type of accident occurred on a commercial scale. A liquid-ammonia line broke in the 0° F storage room at a commercial company in Knoxville, Tennessee. The room was 30 by 60 by 15 feet (approximately 2700 cubic feet), and the amount of ammonia liberated was estimated to be 100 pounds. The break was in the corner of the room next to the door, which appeared to expose the stored food to different concentrations of ammonia. Experiments were made to compare the foods with similar fresh-frozen foods and to measure the effect on the foods' acceptability.

This study was made in an attempt to (1) illustrate the buffer effect on foods, (2) determine the effect of ammonia on the physical characteristics of three different foods: ground beef, strawberries, and green beans, (3) determine the effect of ammonia on the organoleptic qualities of these three foods, (4) compare the permeability of four different package materials to ammonia, and (5) elucidate the rate at which ammonia is able to penetrate into these three foods wrapped in wax paper.

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