Citric Acid, anhydrous (500gr)
Citric Acid is an organic compound with the chemical formula HOC(CO2H)(CH2CO2H)2. It is a colorless weak organic acid. It occurs naturally in citrus fruits. In biochemistry, it is an intermediate in the citric acid cycle, which occurs in the metabolism of all aerobic organisms.
More than two million tons of citric acid are manufactured every year. It is used widely as an acidifier, as a flavoring, and a chelating agent.
A citrate is a derivative of citric acid; that is, the salts, esters, and the polyatomic anion found in solution. An example of the former, a salt is trisodium citrate; an ester is triethyl citrate. When part of a salt, the formula of the citrate anion is written as C6H5O3−7 or C3H5O(COO)3−3.
Natural occurrence and industrial production
Citric acid exists 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). 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; these values vary within species depending upon the cultivar and the circumstances in which the fruit was grown.
Citric acid was first isolated in 1784 by the chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele, who crystallized it from lemon juice.
Industrial-scale citric acid production first began in 1890 based on the Italian citrus fruit industry, where the juice was treated with hydrated lime (calcium hydroxide) to precipitate calcium citrate, which was isolated and converted back to the acid using diluted sulfuric acid. In 1893, C. Wehmer discovered Penicillium mold could produce citric acid from sugar. However, microbial production of citric acid did not become industrially important until World War I disrupted Italian citrus exports.
In 1917, American food chemist James Currie discovered certain strains of the mold Aspergillus niger could be efficient citric acid producers, and the pharmaceutical company Pfizer began industrial-level production using this technique two years later, followed by Citrique Belge in 1929. In this production technique, which is still the major industrial route to citric acid used today, cultures of A. niger are fed on a sucrose or glucose-containing medium to produce citric acid. The source of sugar is corn steep liquor, molasses, hydrolyzed corn starch, or other inexpensive, sugary solution. After the mold is filtered out of the resulting solution, citric acid is isolated by precipitating it with calcium hydroxide to yield calcium citrate salt, from which citric acid is regenerated by treatment with sulfuric acid, as in the direct extraction from citrus fruit juice.
In 1977, a patent was granted to Lever Brothers for the chemical synthesis of citric acid starting either from aconitic or isocitrate/alloisocitrate calcium salts under high pressure conditions; this produced citric acid in near quantitative conversion under what appeared to be a reverse, non-enzymatic Krebs cycle reaction.
Global production was in excess of 2,000,000 tons in 2018. More than 50% of this volume was produced in China. More than 50% was used as an acidity regulator in beverages, some 20% in other food applications, 20% for detergent applications, and 10% for applications other than food, such as cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and in the chemical industry.
Food and drink
Because it is one of the stronger edible acids, the dominant use of citric acid is as a flavoring and preservative in food and beverages, especially soft drinks and candies. Within the European Union it is denoted by E number E330. Citrate salts of various metals are used to deliver those minerals in a biologically available form in many dietary supplements. Citric acid has 247 kcal per 100 g. In the United States the purity requirements for citric acid as a food additive are defined by the Food Chemicals Codex, which is published by the United States Pharmacopoeia (USP).
Citric acid can be added to ice cream as an emulsifying agent to keep fats from separating, to caramel to prevent sucrose crystallization, or in recipes in place of fresh lemon juice. Citric acid is used with sodium bicarbonate in a wide range of effervescent formulae, both for ingestion (e.g., powders and tablets) and for personal care (e.g., bath salts, bath bombs, and cleaning of grease). Citric acid sold in a dry powdered form is commonly sold in markets and groceries as “sour salt”, due to its physical resemblance to table salt. It has use in culinary applications, as an alternative to vinegar or lemon juice, where a pure acid is needed. Citric acid can be used in food coloring to balance the pH level of a normally basic dye.
Cleaning and chelating agent
Citric acid is an excellent chelating agent, binding metals by making them soluble. It is used to remove and discourage the buildup of limescale from boilers and evaporators. It can be used to treat water, which makes it useful in improving the effectiveness of soaps and laundry detergents. By chelating the metals in hard water, it lets these cleaners produce foam and work better without need for water softening. Citric acid is the active ingredient in some bathroom and kitchen cleaning solutions. A solution with a six percent concentration of citric acid will remove hard water stains from glass without scrubbing. Citric acid can be used in shampoo to wash out wax and coloring from the hair. Illustrative of its chelating abilities, citric acid was the first successful eluant used for total ion-exchange separation of the lanthanides, during the Manhattan Project in the 1940s. In the 1950s, it was replaced by the far more efficient EDTA.
In industry, it is used to dissolve rust from steel and passivate stainless steels.
Cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, dietary supplements, and foods
Citric acid is used as an acidulant in creams, gels, and liquids. Used in foods and dietary supplements, it may be classified as a processing aid if it was added for a technical or functional effect (e.g. acidulent, chelator, viscosifier, etc.). If it is still present in insignificant amounts, and the technical or functional effect is no longer present, it may be exempt from labeling <21 CFR §101.100(c)>.
Citric acid is an alpha hydroxy acid and is an active ingredient in chemical skin peels.
Citric acid is commonly used as a buffer to increase the solubility of brown heroin.
Citric acid is used as one of the active ingredients in the production of facial tissues with antiviral properties.
The buffering properties of citrates are used to control pH in household cleaners and pharmaceuticals.
Citric acid is used as an odorless alternative to white vinegar for fabric dyeing with acid dyes.
Sodium citrate is a component of Benedict’s reagent, used for both qualitative and quantitative identification of reducing sugars.
Citric acid can be used as an alternative to nitric acid in passivation of stainless steel.
Citric acid can be used as a lower-odor stop bath as part of the process for developing photographic film. Photographic developers are alkaline, so a mild acid is used to neutralize and stop their action quickly, but commonly used acetic acid leaves a strong vinegar odor in the darkroom.
Citric acid/potassium-sodium citrate can be used as a blood acid regulator.
Citric acid is an excellent soldering flux, either dry or as a concentrated solution in water. It should be removed after soldering, especially with fine wires, as it is mildly corrosive. It dissolves and rinses quickly in hot water.
Synthesis of other organic compounds
Citric acid is a versatile precursor to many other organic compounds. Dehydration routes give itaconic acid and its anhydride. Citraconic acid can be produced via thermal isomerization of itaconic acid anhydride. The required itaconic acid anhydride is obtained by dry distillation of citric acid. Aconitic acid can be synthesized by dehydration of citric acid using sulfuric acid:
- (HO2CCH2)2C(OH)CO2H → HO2CCH=C(CO2H)CH2CO2H + H2O
Acetonedicarboxylic acid can also be prepared by decarbonylation of citric acid in fuming sulfuric acid:
Although a weak acid, exposure to pure citric acid can cause adverse effects. Inhalation may cause cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat. Over-ingestion may cause abdominal pain and sore throat. Exposure of concentrated solutions to skin and eyes can cause redness and pain. Long-term or repeated consumption may cause erosion of tooth enamel.