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CITRIC ACID

TYPES OF CITRIC ACID

Citric Acid Anhydrous

Consisting of citric acid molecules without water. Anhydrous citric acid is a white, crystalline powder with a sour taste. It is extensively used in the production of both food and beverages, as well as in personal care products.

Citric Acid Monohydrate

It contains one molecule of water per citric acid molecule. It is also a white, crystalline powder. Monohydrate citric acid is commonly used in food and beverage applications, particularly in dry mixes and powdered products.

Trisodium Citrate Dihydrate

It is a salt of citric acid, consisting of three sodium ions for each citric acid molecule, along with two water molecules. It appears as white, crystalline granules or powder. Used as a food additive, buffering agent, and emulsifier.

Other Citrate Salts

Monosodium Citrate Anhydrous

MSC is a sodium salt form of citric acid, devoid of water content. As a food acidulant and preservative, E331(i) finds extensive application in beverages, dairy products, and bakery items. It can adjust the pH balance, and enhance food's stability and taste.

Potassium Citrate

In the food industry, potassium citrate (PSC) serves as an acidity regulator, enhancing the taste and shelf life of products. Additionally, E332 is a key component in many health drinks and sports beverages, helping to maintain electrolyte balance in athletes.

FUNCTIONS OF CITRIC ACID

Acidulants

Citric acid provides a tart or sour taste, making it a popular acidulant in food and beverage products. It enhances flavor profiles in a wide range of items, including soft drinks, candies, jams, fruit juices, and salad dressings.

Preservatives

Its acidic properties help inhibit the growth of bacteria, molds, and yeasts, extending the shelf life of processed foods and beverages. Citric acid is commonly used in canned fruits, vegetables, sauces, and carbonated drinks for preservation purposes.

Antioxidants

Citric acid functions as an antioxidant, aiding in the prevention or reduction of lipid oxidation in food items. By reducing oxidative reactions, it helps maintain the freshness, flavor, and nutritional quality of processed foods, including meats, snacks, and bakery items.

Flavor Enhancers

In addition to its acidic properties, citric acid contributes to an improved flavor profile in both food and beverage applications. It's often added to fruit juices, candies, and carbonated drinks to intensify their fruity or tangy taste.

Chelating Agents

Citric acid forms complexes with metal ions, serving as a chelating agent. It helps prevent metal ion-catalyzed oxidation and discoloration in certain food products, such as canned fruits and vegetables, where it binds to metal ions like iron and copper.

Buffering Agents

Citric acid and its salts, such as trisodium citrate, are used as buffering agents to control the acidity or pH of food and beverage formulations. They help maintain stable pH levels, ensuring consistent taste, texture, and color in products like jams, jellies, and gelatin desserts.

Cleaning Agents

Citric acid's chelating properties and acidity make it ideal for removing mineral deposits, scale, and rust from surfaces. It's commonly found in household cleaning products like coffee maker descalers, dishwasher cleaners, and toilet bowl treatments.

Emulsifiers

In some applications, citric acid assists in the emulsification of fats and oils, helping to create stable mixtures of ingredients in products like sauces, dressings, and processed meats.

APPLICATIONS OF CITRIC ACID

Citric acid is widely used across industries for its versatility:

  • Food and Beverage: Adds tartness, preserves freshness, and stabilizes pH.
  • Cosmetics and Personal Care: Adjusts pH, chelates metals, and extends shelf life.
  • Household Cleaning: Removes scale, rust, and stains.
  • Industrial Applications: Softens water, and cleans metals.
  • Agriculture: Adjusts soil pH and enhances nutrient uptake.

FEATURED PRODUCTS

FAQs


  • What exactly is citric acid and what are its sources?
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    This organic acid is naturally present in citrus fruits such as lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits, and can also be synthesized through the fermentation of sugars by specific bacteria and yeasts.

  • What function does citric acid serve in the realm of food manufacturing?
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    It serves multiple functions in food production, including enhancing flavor, extending shelf life, controlling acidity, and acting as an antioxidant and preservative.

  • Which foods commonly contain citric acid?
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    It is commonly found in a wide range of processed foods and beverages, including soft drinks, candies, jams, fruit juices, canned fruits and vegetables, sauces, and dairy products.
  • Is the consumption of citric acid considered safe?
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    Certainly, citric acid is widely acknowledged as safe (GRAS) by regulatory bodies when utilized in accordance with good manufacturing practices. Nonetheless, certain individuals might exhibit sensitivity to elevated levels of citric acid or its derivatives.
  • Is citric acid permitted for use in organic food products?
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    Yes, it is permitted for use in organic foods in many countries, provided it meets the specific regulations and standards set forth by organic certification bodies.
  • How is citric acid listed on food labels?
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    Citric acid can be identified on food labels either by its common name "citric acid" or by its European food additive code, E330.

  • Are there substitutes for citric acid in the manufacturing of food?
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    Yes, some alternative acids and preservatives can be used in food production, such as acetic acid (vinegar), tartaric acid, malic acid, and ascorbic acid (vitamin C). However, each may have different properties and applications.

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