Saturday, February 20, 2010

Citric Acid

citric acidCitric acid is a weak organic acid, and it is a natural preservative and is also used to add an acidic, or sour, taste to foods and soft drinks. In biochemistry, it is important as an intermediate in the citric acid cycle and therefore occurs in the metabolism of virtually all living things. It can also be used as an environmentally benign cleaning agent. Citric acid exists in greater than trace amounts in a variety of fruits and vegetables, most notably citrus fruits. Lemons and limes have particularly high concentrations of the acid; it can constitute as much as 8% of the dry weight of these fruits (about 47 g/L in the juices[3]). The concentrations of citric acid in citrus fruits range from 0.005 mol/L for oranges and grapefruits to 0.30 mol/L in lemons and limes. Within species these values vary depending on the cultivar and the circumstances in which the fruit was grown.

At room temperature, citric acid is a white crystalline powder. It can exist either in an anhydrous (water-free) form or as a monohydrate. The anhydrous form crystallizes from hot water, where as the monohydrate forms when citric acid is crystallized from cold water. The monohydrate can be converted to the anhydrous form by heating above 78 °C. Citric acid also dissolves in absolute (anhydrous) ethanol (76 parts of citric acid per 100 parts of ethanol) at 15 degrees Celsius.  In chemical structure, citric acid shares the properties of other carboxylic acids. When heated above 175°C, it decomposes through the loss of carbon dioxide and water. Citric acid leaves a white crystalline precipitate. Citric acid is a slightly stronger acid than typical carboxylic acids because the anion can be stabilised by intramolecular hydrogen-bonding from other protic groups on citric acid.

Some applications : 

  • food additive
  • water softening
  • ingredients in cleaning solutions
  • meat tenderizer

This ingredient is use in formulating:

Source:  wikipedia