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What is Mean Kinetic Temperature?

Mean Kinetic Temperature (MKT) is a simplified way of expressing the overall effect of temperature fluctuations during storage or transit of perishable goods.

MKT is an expression of cumulative thermal stress experienced by a product at varying temperatures during storage and distribution. In other words, MKT is a calculated, single temperature that is analogous to the effects of temperature variations over a period of time.

A product is sat in a 20º C room for 2 hours, in 2º C refrigeration for 4 hours, and on a 25º C loading dock for 1 hour Using MKT we can calculate that temperature profile of the product was “thermally equivalent” to storing them at 15.7º C for 7 hours.
MKT is not a simple weighted average. The calculation of MKT gives the higher temperatures a greater weight when computing the average than would a simple numerical average or an arithmetic mean. This weighting is determined by a geometric transformation--the natural logarithm of the absolute temperature.

MKT takes into consideration the accelerated rate of thermal degradation of materials at these higher temperatures. Therefore, MKT provides for the non-linear effect of temperature.

MKT is expressed as:


Where. ∆H = activation energy (typically from 60 to 100 kJ/mol for solids and liquids)
R = 8.314472 J/mol-K (universal gas constant)
T = temperature in degrees K
n = the number of sample periods over which data is collected

Why is MKT Important in the Life of Pharmaceuticals and Perishable Goods?

The pharmaceutical and food industries are two closely regulated markets. The FDA provides regulations that require warehouse and shipment temperatures to be closely controlled and monitored. In addition, the FDA requires well-documented verification of these storage environments and any corrective actions taken if temperatures exceed specified storage conditions.