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Something you'd better know about citric acid vs citrate

Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2023-03-30      Origin: Site

Is citrate and citric acid the same?

Citrate and citric acid are related, but not identical. Citrate, another closely related element in citric acid, is the first molecule formed in the acid cycle. They have similar properties and functions, but different chemical structures and applications. Citric acid is a weak organic acid that occurs naturally in citrus fruits and many other plant and animal tissues, and citrate is a salt or ester of citric acid. Citrate is formed when citric acid reacts with a base, such as sodium hydroxide, to produce a neutral or basic compound.

In this article, we explore the differences and similarities between citric acid and citrates, their uses and benefits, and some of the controversies and safety concerns associated with their consumption and exposure.

Is citrate made from citric acid?

Yes, citrate is made from citric acid through a chemical reaction where citric acid reacts with a base, such as sodium hydroxide, to form a citrate salt. This reaction is called neutralization, and it results in the removal of the acidic properties of citric acid, making the resulting compound neutral or even slightly alkaline.

The reaction between citric acid and a base produces different types of citrate salts, depending on the type of base used. For example, when citric acid is neutralized with sodium hydroxide, the resulting compound is sodium citrate. Similarly, when citric acid is neutralized with calcium hydroxide, the resulting compound is calcium citrate.

About citric acid and citrate

Citric acid was traditionally made with Aspergillus niger. A yearly production of 0.65 tonnes of cis- acid. Aspergillus accumulates this acid in high-substrate concentration, low nitrogen content and little trace elements under maintenance of high DO or low acid pH. Citric acid production remains under experimentation, where traditional modifications such mutagenic and culture conditions remain. Aspergillus filamentous fungals have been created to produce citric acid. Lipolytics utilize n-paraffin and lipids and can produce more citric acids..

Citric acid is a weak organic acid that has the chemical formula C6H8O7. It is a tricarboxylic acid, which means it has three carboxyl (-COOH) functional groups. Citric acid is found in many fruits and vegetables, but it is most abundant in citrus fruits such as lemons and limes. The sour taste of these fruits is due to the presence of citric acid. Citric acid is also produced commercially by fermentation of sugar solutions by the fungus Aspergillus niger.

drink, glass, lime

Citric acid has several properties that make it useful in various applications. It is highly water-soluble, which means it can be easily incorporated into aqueous solutions. It is also a chelating agent, which means it can bind to metal ions and prevent them from reacting with other compounds. This property makes citric acid useful as a sequestrant, especially in cleaning products. Citric acid can also act as a buffering agent, which means it can resist changes in pH when an acid or base is added to a solution.

In the food and beverage industry, citric acid is commonly used as a flavoring agent, acidulant, and preservative. As a flavoring agent, it can be used to enhance the taste of many different types of foods and beverages. As an acidulant, it can be used to add tartness or acidity to foods and beverages. As a preservative, it can be used to inhibit the growth of bacteria and fungi in food products, thereby increasing their shelf life.

Citric acid is also used in the pharmaceutical industry as an excipient, which is a substance that is added to a medication to improve its stability, appearance, or other properties. Citric acid can be used as an excipient in tablets, capsules, and other dosage forms.

Another important application of citric acid is in cleaning products. Citric acid can be used as a descaler, which means it can dissolve limescale and other mineral deposits that accumulate on surfaces such as sinks, toilets, and showerheads. Citric acid can also be used as a rust remover, as it can dissolve rust stains on metal surfaces.

Citrate is the anion of citric acid. It has the chemical formula C6H5O7-3 and has a negative charge. Citrate is formed by removing a hydrogen ion from citric acid. Citrate can also be produced by the reaction of citric acid with a base such as sodium hydroxide. Citrate is widely used in the food and beverage industry as an acidity regulator, emulsifier, and flavoring agent.

Citrate has several properties that make it useful in various applications. Like citric acid, it is highly water-soluble, which means it can be easily incorporated into aqueous solutions. It also has a mild alkaline property, which means it can be used to adjust the pH of a solution. This property makes citrate useful as an acidity regulator, especially in soft drinks.

In the food and beverage industry, citrate is commonly used as an acidity regulator, which means it is used to adjust the pH of foods and beverages. Citrate can also be used as an emulsifier, which means it can help mix oil and water-based ingredients in food products. As a flavoring agent, citrate can be used to enhance the taste of many different types of foods and beverages.

Citrate is also used in the pharmaceutical industry as a buffering agent. When a medication is dissolved in water, it can sometimes cause the pH of the solution to change. Citrate can be added to the medication to prevent this from happening, ensuring that the medication remains stable and effective.

Is citric acid OK for you?

FDA officials said it can safely be used in food and cosmetic products.

In addition to its use in the food and pharmaceutical industries, citrate has other applications. For example, it can be used in the production of detergents, where it serves as a water softener and a builder, helping to improve the cleaning performance of the detergent. Citrate can also be used in the textile industry as a dye fixative, helping to improve the colorfastness of dyed fabrics.

Overall, citric acid and citrate are versatile compounds with a wide range of applications in various industries. Their ability to act as flavoring agents, acidity regulators, and preservatives in the food and beverage industry, as well as their use as excipients and buffering agents in the pharmaceutical industry, make them essential components of many products. Their ability to act as cleaning agents and water softeners in the cleaning and textile industries further demonstrates their versatility and usefulness.

washing powder, laundry detergent, cleaning supplies

As with any chemical compound, it is important to use citric acid and citrate in a safe and responsible manner. Both compounds are generally considered safe for consumption in small quantities, but large amounts can be harmful. Ingestion of large quantities of citric acid can cause stomach upset and may lead to the formation of kidney stones in individuals with pre-existing kidney conditions.

Additionally, citric acid and citrate should be stored in a dry, cool place away from sunlight to prevent degradation and ensure their effectiveness. Proper handling and disposal of citric acid and citrate are also important to prevent environmental damage.

In conclusion

citric acid and citrate are important compounds with a wide range of applications in various industries. Their versatility and usefulness make them essential components of many products, from food and beverages to pharmaceuticals, cleaning products, and textiles.


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