From food and drink through to cleaning products and cosmetics, citric acid is a key component within modern processing and manufacturing.
Citric Acid is a weak carboxylic acid and a naturally occurring fruit acid. It can exist as an anhydrous or monohydrate form and will appear as white granules, crystal grains or is colorless.
It has been used for hundreds of years in food processing and is, in fact, one of the most common additives you’ll find written amongst the ingredients in a majority of food and drink products.
Citric acid occurs naturally in mainly citrus fruits, predominantly lemons and limes, which contain up to 4g per 100g of fruit but it is also found in a wide selection of other fruits and vegetables, including berries and tomatoes in varying amounts.
After its discovery by the 8th century Islamic alchemist, Jabir Ibn Hayyan, citric acid was first isolated by the Swedish chemist, Carl Wilhelm Scheele in 1784, where he crystalized it from lemon juice. It was in 1890 that citric acid was produced on an industrial scale.
Production of Citric Acid
Although citric acid is found in high concentrations in many citrus fruits, it is not economical to extract the acid from fruit for industrial use. Plus, the demand for citric acid far outweighs the supply of citrus fruit available.
The ability of the mold Aspergillus niger to produce citric acid as a byproduct of metabolism was discovered by American food chemist James Currie in 1917. The process of cultivating Aspergillus niger and allowing it to metabolize sucrose or glucose to yield citric acid proved efficient and inexpensive way to produce citric acid.
Citric Acid Uses in Food
Citric acid plays a huge role in enhancing flavors, particularly in the drinks industry, as it provides a sour and refreshing flavor which offsets the sweetness of many drinks.
The acidity of citric acid makes it an excellent food and drink preservative. The presence of acid in an environment inhibits the growth of bacteria; so many long life products contain it. These include preserved canned goods, meats, savory snacks and sweets. Citric acid can also be used to prevent fresh fruit and vegetables from oxidizing and turning brown, which is great for chefs when preparing and presenting fresh dishes.
Citric acid is used throughout the dairy industry, in particular, within cheese production and processing. The acid helps to create the perfect environment for stabilization of emulsions, including preventing fats from separating.
It can also be used to adjust the pH of both beer and wine solutions during manufacturing.
The use of citric acid in processed frozen foods and some fats and oils as an additive enhances the action of antioxidants. This effectively reduces the deterioration rate of these products keeping them fresher for longer and reduces waste.
Along with the food and drink sector, many other industries use citric acid as a core ingredient within their production, as an acidulant in cosmetics and pharmaceutical and as main ingredient in bathroom de-scalers. This versatile acid is an industrial staple.
In need of Citric Acid?
Merry Chemicals supplies both Citric Acid 99% Monohydrate/Anhydrous
For more information on this product call us on 0930-00-61-50/0911200782
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