Citric Acid Monohydrate E330

Citric acid monohydrate, which also goes by the name E330, is essentially a weak acid. It is used in the food industry for pH level stabilization, acidity regulation, and as an antioxidant. It is also used in pharmaceutical and dietary supplements and as a cleaning agent.

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Description

Citric Acid Monohydrate – Product Overview

Citric acid monohydrate is an organic compound from the hydroxycarboxylic acids group. It is manufactured commercially by starch hydrolyzate using mold cultures. Naturally organic citric acid is found in many fruits, particularly lemons, limes, and oranges. It is what gives lemon juice and citrus fruits in general their tart, acidic taste. Citrate acid monohydrate has been produced and used in different industries for many years. Its production volume is still rising as well as the demand.

Citric Acid – most important facts

  • Widely used food additive and flavour
  • Preservative in food production
  • pH level adjuster
  • Emulsifying agent
  • Acidity regulator
  • Antioxidant in beverages and preserves
  • Cosmetic component in cosmetic products
  • Color regulator in the food products
Graph: 9 most important facts about citric acid

Industrial application of the citric aid

Currently, the global production of citric acid is estimated to be more than two million tons yearly. The food industry covers about 70% of the manufactured version of citric acid1, pharmaceutical, and dietary supplements use 20%, and the remaining 10% goes into cleaning agents with usage such as metal finishing, cleaning, and descaling equipment. An interesting fact is that more than 50% of the companies that produce citric acid are located in China.

Citric acid applications

  • The food industry
  • Paper
  • Detergents and cleaning agents
  • Construction products
  • Polymers and plastic products
  • Crude oil refining
  • Paints and warning coatings
Graphics of products made with citric acid

Citric acid in food production

Citric acid is a common food additive. It is a weak acid that is usually added in small amounts and does not have a significant impact on the flavor of the final product. However, powdered citric acid can have a strong scent, so it should be added carefully to avoid overpowering other flavors. Citric acid is used in baked goods, jams, canned fruits and vegetables, sodas, juices, powdered beverages, candies, frozen foods, dairy products, soft drinks, and other processed foods.

Citric acid powder as a preservative in food production

Citric acid helps preserve the color, flavor, and texture of foods. It extends shelf life and prevents the growth of bacteria in canned fruits and vegetables, e.g. toxic-producing Clostridium botulinum bacterium that causes a rare, but serious, illness of botulism. Citric acid is also used to prevent bacteria growth in dairy products.

Citric acid powder as a flavoring and additive

Citric acid is popular among food additives. It adds tartness or sour taste to foods. It is also added to doughs to help with rising.

Citric acid powder as a cleaning agent in food production

When combined with water, it forms an effective cleaning solution that can remove dirt, grease, and grime from surfaces. Citric acid is also known for its disinfectant properties, making it an ideal choice for sanitizing food-processing equipment. It also carries the ability to dissolve mineral deposits and cut through grease.

a slice of lemon and crystals of citric acid on black table

Citric acid in medicines and dietary supplements

Citric acid is an industrial staple in medicines and dietary supplements. It’s added to medicines to help stabilize and preserve the active ingredients2 and used to enhance or mask the taste of chewable and syrup-based medications. Mineral supplements, such as magnesium and calcium, may also contain citric acid (in the form of citrate) to enhance absorption.

Citric acid in disinfecting and cleaning

Citric acid is a useful disinfectant against a variety of bacteria and viruses. A test-tube study showed that it may treat or prevent human norovirus, a leading cause of foodborne illness3.

Citric acid is commercially sold as a general disinfectant and cleaning agent for removing soap scum, hard water stains, lime, and rust.

It’s viewed as a safer alternative to conventional disinfectant and cleaning products, such as quat and chlorine bleach4.

Citric acid’s health benefits

  • Metabolizes energy5
  • Helps with the absorption of minerals6
  • May protect against kidney stones7

What is better – naturally occurring citric acid (an organic acid in citrus fruits) or manufactured citric acid?

The natural form of citric acid that occurs naturally, e.g. in lemon juice or juices from other citrus fruits, has better properties compared to the manufactured form. What is important, citric acid does not contain vitamin C  (L-ascorbic acid) although they both appear in citrus fruits. But still, while the manufactured form of citric acid differs from naturally occurring citric acid in citrus fruits, it still has many impressive health benefits and functions.

lemon and citric acid monohydrate crystal powder in a glass on white table

Manufactured citric acid

Citric acid is the most important of organic acids – it is produced in tonnage. More than 95% of citric acid is manufactured commercially by submerged fermentation using the black mold Aspergillus niger, which creates citric acid when it feeds on sugar8. The source of sugar is corn steep liquor, molasses, hydrolyzed corn starch, and other inexpensive sugary solutions. 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. The final product is a white, odorless powder that is used in a variety of applications. While citric acid naturally occurs in citrus fruits, producing it through the extraction process from them is too expensive, and the demand far exceeds the supply. Learn more about the industrial production of citric acid here.

Safety information

Manufactured citric acid is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)9. There are no studies that investigate the safety of manufactured citric acid when consumed in large quantities for long periods. At the same time, there have been rare cases of allergic reactions and sickness10, and these symptoms were not observed due to the consumption of natural forms of acid (such as citrus fruits). While the topic needs further investigation and studies, it seems that the possibility that manufactured citric acid may trigger allergies or be the cause of sickness is very low.

Citric Acid Specification

INCI name: Citric Acid
Identifier (CAS no.): 5949-29-1
External appearance: white crystals
Main ingredient: 95,5 – 100 %
pH: about 1.7 (100 g/l H2O)
Chloride content: ≤ 5 ppm

Precautions

Hazard statements

  • H319: Causes serious eye irritation
  • H335: May cause respiratory irritation

Precautionary statements

  • P261: Avoid breathing dust/fume/gas/mist/vapours/spray
  • P264: Wash hands thoroughly after handling
  • P280: Wear protective gloves/protective clothing/eye protection/face protection
  • P305 + P351 + P338: IF IN EYES: Rinse cautiously with water for several minutes. Remove contact lenses, if present and easy to do. Continue rinsing
  • P312: Call a POISON CENTER or doctor/physician if you feel unwell
  • P337 + P313: If eye irritation persists: Get medical advice/attention

Sources

Documentation

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Safety Data Sheet

Document

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Certificate of Analysis

Document

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