By D.I. Duncan and J.R. Veale

Published in: Pharmaceutical online

Published on: November 18, 2015

Instroduction: Water activity, or the relative humidity inside a package, is commonly measured by manufacturers in industries such as food and pharmaceuticals. The food industry has used water activity testing for more than two decades in development and quality control applications. The FDA and USDA consider water activity a key parameter to control mold, fungus and bacterial growth on packaged foods. Food producers also use water activity measurements in product development to understand how water migrates between the package and the product itself, and between the individual food components.

In the pharmaceutical industry, water activity is a critical quality attribute and a key factor to maintain stability over the shelf life. Since December, 2012, when the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) added a new chapter “Application of Water Activity Determination to Non-sterile Pharmaceutical Products” <1112&GT that defines aw testing for bacterial growth on solid dosage forms, measuring the water activity inside drug packaging is increasing.

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