Citric Acid Sources, Benefits, Side Effects & FAQs

Citric Acid

Biochemically citric acid is an organic acid, either naturally occurring or chemically synthesized compound and it belongs to AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acid) family.  Naturally, citric acid is found in fruits and vegetables those taste sour. Organic synthesized citric acid is used for food flavoring and preservation.

It is different from Vitamin C (ascorbic acid). Synthesized citric acid is a water-soluble molecule whose solubility increases with rising water temperature. It is also soluble in ethanol, benzene, chloroform.

Structure of Citric Acid:

Citric acid is an intermediate of the Tricarboxylic Acid (TCA) cycle or Krebs cycle. It can either be anhydrous or monohydrate state. The anhydrous form is crystallized from hot water, whereas, the monohydrate form is crystallized from cold water. Its IUPAC name is 2-Hydroxypropane-1,2,3-tricarboxylic acid. Its chemical composition is C6H8O7.

The structure is illustrated below:


Sources of Citric Acid:

It can either be naturally occurring or synthesized chemically.

Natural citric acid:

Synthesized citric acid:

Benefits of Citric Acid:

It has a huge natural resource in fruits and vegetables and beneficial for health. At the same time, chemical synthesis of citric acid is cost effective and has a large market as a beverage ingredient. It has several effects on human skin, kidney, and metabolic system and reduces fat as well. The synthesized citric acid also has a number of industrial applications. Some important application of natural and synthetic citric acid is listed below:

Some important application of natural and synthetic citric acid is listed below:

Some More Important Facts about Citric Acid

Side-effects of Citric Acid:

Excess supply of citric acid in the human body could be harmful in several ways mentioned below:

FAQs: What people normally want to know about Citric Acid?

1. Is citric acid safe for skin?

citric acid is safe in proper concentration in skin care or beauty care products. This could brighten dull skin. Excess concentration of citric acid in daily used skin care products may cause skin irritation, dryness, itching etc. It can be extracted from corm for industrial use. If anyone has the corn sensitivity, must check the source of the product carefully.

2. What are the differences between citric acid and vitamin C?

Although both of them are organic acids yet actually different chemically. Vitamin C is ascorbic acid and not at all citric acid. Citrus fruits are the warehouse of both citric acid and ascorbic acid but compositionally citric acid contains one extra oxygen atom than ascorbic acid. It’s an excellent food additive for its sour taste, whereas, ascorbic acid is a better food preservative. It produced synthetically in a large number for its varied uses in foods and beverages. Ascorbic acid is strictly natural and available in fruits, vegetables, milk etc.

3. Does citric acid reduce weight?

Citrus fruits are helpful for their antioxidant and fa burning properties. It helps in increasing metabolism too that reduces fat. Although there’s no direct correlation between consumption of citric acid and reducing fat, yet they are helpful and healthy too. Result says lemon in warm water with one spoon honey in empty stomach is a home remedy against fat. It too improves digestion system.

4. Which fruits are the best source of citric acid?

Limes and lemons are the best sources of citric acid. Others include green apple, grapefruits, berries, grapes, oranges. Green vegetables such as spinach, lettuce, parsley are sources of citric acid. Other than natural sources, jam, jelly, cheese are some other chemical sources of citric acid.

5. What bacteria produces citric acid?

It is produced by submerged fermentation using Aspergillus niger and Candida sp. From different sources of carbohydrates like starch and molasses.

6. Is citric acid all natural?

It is available in the citrus-fruits and green vegetables are natural. But for its extensive and versatile usage, it also chemically produced in a large amount. It is also synthesized by bacteria through the submerged fermentation process.

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