CO2 & O2 Headspace Analyzer (in 2024)

CO2 & O2 Headspace Analyzer (in 2024)

Introducing the CO2 and O2 headspace analyzer, a powerful tool for assessing modified atmosphere packaged (MAP) products. Built on a robust industrial platform, this device accurately measures oxygen and/or carbon dioxide levels. Its built-in pump enhances portability and ease of use, allowing for precise control and adjustability to accommodate various packaging headspace volumes. The user-friendly color screen, large digits, and real-time graphing provide instant, clear results. Equipped with an advanced electrochemical oxygen sensor and a 32-bit microprocessor, this analyzer offers accurate detection, user calibration, and customizable test management. Experience swift and precise assessments in less than 30 seconds.


Headspace Analyzer Options?

CO and CO2 are two different compound gases. Many people confuse these two gases. CO2 is carbon dioxide and CO is carbon monoxide. Our other headspace analyzers include:




headspace MAP analyzer

Who Needs a CO2/O2 Headspace Analyzer?

In the food packaging industry, Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) headspace analyzers play a vital role in upholding the quality and safety of food products.

These analyzers are designed to precisely measure the gas composition in the headspace, the air between the food and its packaging. This analysis ensures that the environment inside the packaging remains optimal for preserving the food product's freshness and integrity.

Food manufacturers, processors, and distributors utilize these analyzers to extend the shelf life of their products, effectively preventing spoilage and maintaining overall product quality. By creating an ideal atmosphere within the packaging, these companies can safeguard the food's condition during transportation and storage.

Moreover, the use of MAP headspace analyzers is essential for compliance with food safety regulations and industry standards. It helps ensure that food products meet specific quality criteria and adhere to safety guidelines, further enhancing consumer confidence in the products they purchase.

Various food items benefit from modified atmosphere packaging headspace analysis, including meat, poultry, seafood, dairy products, as well as fruits and vegetables. These perishable goods are particularly susceptible to deterioration, making the precise control of their packaging atmosphere crucial for preservation and customer satisfaction.

gas leak detector

What are MAP Headspace Gas Benefits?

Effective preservation of perishable items like fresh produce, dairy products, seafood, and meat products heavily relies on Headspace and Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP). However, it's important to note that MAP requirements differ based on the type of food being preserved. Each food product necessitates precise levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide concentration to ensure its optimal preservation.

Maintaining the quality and freshness of these foods often involves utilizing elevated levels of carbon dioxide as an effective antimicrobial measure. By carefully controlling the atmospheric conditions within the packaging, food producers can inhibit microbial growth, thereby extending the product's shelf life and enhancing its safety for consumers.

Headspace and Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) are crucial for preserving various perishable items, including fresh produce, dairy products, seafood, and meat products. However, the MAP requirements vary depending on the type of food. Each food product has specific levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide concentration that must be maintained. To preserve the quality and freshness of the food, high levels of carbon dioxide are often used as an antimicrobial measure.

Market Size and MAP Benefits?

The nutritional advantages of food are undeniably tied to its freshness, prompting a shift in packaging focus from merely prolonging shelf life to preserving food quality. This becomes particularly crucial for unprocessed, fresh food items. To address this concern, Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) has emerged as a valuable solution, effectively slowing down the processes that lead to food quality deterioration.

As a result of its effectiveness, the popularity of MAP sales has been steadily increasing, reaching an impressive $6.4 billion in 2020. Experts predict that this trend will continue to surge further during the period from 2021 to 2027, as more consumers recognize and appreciate the significance of preserving food quality through advanced packaging methods.

How to Perform a CO2/O2 Headspace Analysis?

  1. Ensure you have a properly working and calibrated headspace analyzer.
  2. Ensure the pump is ON and drawing air.
  3. Place a septa on the packaging you wish to test. Septas are important as they will prevent external atmospheric air from entering the packaging that may distort test results.
  4. For CO2, ensure the CO2 is reading between 0.1 down to 0.04% in normal air. Clean fresh outdoor air has 0.04% (400ppm), so that means the CO2 reading on the analyzer should be between 0.04 to about 0.1% to be in good shape.
  5. For O2, ensure the O2 is reading 20.9. Clean air has 20.9% of oxygen so it is imperative the analyzer is reading the fresh air levels correctly before beginning your test.
  6. If all is OK up to this point, then you are ready to insert your needle through the septa and into the packaging. Be slow and careful.
  7. Once the needle is in the package, you will see the CO2 levels start to increase and the O2 levels start to decrease.
  8. Ensure you have at least 300mL volume of air. Once the levels start to taper off, take your reading. Should take less than 30 seconds.
  9. Once done, remove the needle from the package and place the needle cap on the needle itself to prevent accidental poking.

Headspace Septa

What is the Lifetime of a CO2 NDIR Sensor and a O2 sensor?

CO2 NDIR (Non-Dispersive Infrared) sensors are robust and solid state, which means they last between 5 to 15 years. The critical factor is the IR source, which degrades or totally blows out. This sensors depends on usage.

The O2 sensor is a electrochemical sensor. it is not a solid state. It has ionic conduction occurring with a mixture of electroactive solutions. It makes these O2 sensors very fragile and last between 2 to 3 years. Time is the only factor that degrades them, but these sensors also leak acid that can then corrode sensor plug connections and other electronics with your analyzer. The point here is to calibrate often and have your sensors inspected on a regular basis.

Dr. Koz's first student engineering job was an internship with a company called Novatech Controls. They manufacture world-leading food packaging analyzers in Australia and distribute them worldwide. They were experts in oxygen detection and at the time (over 20 years ago) also developed an in-house CO2 NDIR sensor.

When do I Calibrate my CO2 Headspace Analyzer?

You should bump test before using the CO2 and O2 headspace analyzer. Calibration should be performed between 6 to 12 months. Calibration can be done by our lab or you can perform the calibration yourself with our video tutorials and purchasing the calibration kit.

Calibration Kit (sold separately):
Calibration T-piece & Tubing
Calibration Gas (CO2 balanced in N2)
Calibration Gas Regulator (C10)

gas calibration

Who is the Competition?

There are many excellent headspace analyzers on the market. Our ambition is to target the entry level users and those that require portable headspace analyzer mobility. Typically however, our list of competitors is here:

Key things to look for in a Headspace Analyzer?

Gas Target:
 Specify precisely which gases you intend to measure. Is it a single gas like O2, or a combination of gases such as O2 and CO2?

Detection Range and Resolution: Ensure you select an analyzer with the appropriate detection range and resolution for your needs. For instance, if you're detecting O2, determine whether you need to measure residual O2 or the higher levels required for meat products. For residual oxygen, opt for a gas analyzer with 0.01% (100 ppm) resolution to ensure accurate detection of complete zero oxygen. The more resolution or sensitivity you require, the more expensive the analyzer will be.

Size and Mobility: Consider the size and mobility of the analyzer. Traditional headspace analyzers were desktop instruments, but advancements in electronics have led to the availability of handheld versions. Older models were large since the oxygen and carbon dioxide sensors were bulky. You can see that many such products have not been updated and continue to use the old original designs.

Accessory Options: Take into account the accessory options and their impact on ongoing costs. Check whether the analyzer requires any proprietary accessories like filters, septas, or needles, as they may add to operational expenses. In some cases, using generic components might be a cost-effective alternative.

Calibration: Understand the calibration requirements of the analyzer. If it needs to be shipped for third-party calibration, it can result in increased operational costs. Opt for an analyzer with calibration procedures that you can perform yourself if needed, and the price of calibration is reasonable by the manufacturer.

Sensor Lifetime: Be aware of the sensor's lifetime and replacement options, as all sensors have a limited operational span. Understanding this aspect helps you plan for replacements and maintenance efficiently.

How Should I Store my Headspace Analyzer?

To ensure maximum sensor life and accurate measurements upon operation, it is recommended to store the Headspace Analyzer in a moderate environment with a humidity level of 50%RH and a room temperature of approximately 70F.

Case Study - Headspace Analysis of Dried Fruits

This case study analyzed the O2 and CO2 concentrations within the internal atmosphere of packaged dried foods. Dried apricots and raisins were packaged in glass jars and polypropylene trays thermosealed with different polymers and stored at various temperatures (5, 15, 25, and 35°C). The study showed that when packages were flushed with nitrogen before sealing, the O2 level in the headspace increased until the outside O2 concentration was reached (20.9%), while the CO2 concentration increased over time, regardless of the initial atmosphere. Nitrogen had a significant influence on the concentration of O2 but not on that of CO2.

Oxygen Packaging Concentration
Oxygen Packaging Concentration of Friend Apricots. No matter on MAP condition and packaging, after many days, the MAP ends up being the same O2 concentration as ambient.

CO2 Headspace concentration levels of dried apricots
CO2 Headspace concentration levels of dried apricots. The CO increases after initial N2 flush.


  • The headspace analyzer serves as a specialized gas analysis tool designed to measure the levels of O2 and CO2 gas within food packaging.
  • Traditionally, headspace analyzers have been very expensive and too costly for entry-level food packagers.
  • Headspace analyzers are essential in maintaining product quality and adhering to industry standards.
  • Proper care and maintenance are crucial for ensuring the optimal functionality of headspace analyzers.
  • By providing food packers with quantitative gas concentrations, these analyzers guarantee that products consistently meet the QA standards.

About The Author

Dr. Kos Galatsis ("Dr.Koz") is the President of FORENSICS DETECTORS where the company operates from the scenic Palos Verdes Peninsula in Los Angeles, California. He is a subject matter expert on gas sensor technology, gas detectors, gas meters, and gas analyzers. He has been designing, building, manufacturing, and testing toxic gas detection systems for over 20 years.

gas detector expert

Every day is a blessing for Dr. Koz. He loves to help customers solve their unique problems. Dr. Koz also loves spending time with his wife and his three children going to the beach, grilling burgers, and enjoying the outdoors.

Read more about Forensics Detectors here.

Phone: +1 424-341-3886