Citric Acid – properties and applications in industry and animal nutrition

Author
Joanna Sikorska
14.12.2022
8 min reading
Citric Acid – properties and applications in industry and animal nutrition
Summary
Table of contents
  • Citric Acid is a chemical compound found in citrus fruits.
  • It has a direct effect on the longevity of products, as it lowers their pH.
  • Citric Acid is used in both the food and cosmetic industries.

What is Citric Acid?

Citric Acid is an organic chemical compound that belongs to the AHA or alpha-hydroxy acids. It is naturally found not only in lemons, as the name suggests, but generally in citrus fruits such as oranges, black currants, strawberries or pineapples. Citric Acid is also found in most organisms – it is an important intermediate of the Krebs cycle (also known as the citric acid cycle), where it has an important function in the burning of carbohydrates.

Citric Acid can also be produced chemically – mainly through the process of citric acid fermentation using enzymes and strains of bacteria, most commonly Aspergillus niger. Want to learn more about the properties and uses of Citric Acid? Read on!

Citric Acid – properties

Citric Acid comes in the form of white, odorless crystals. However, it has a rather pronounced sour taste.

Citric Acid has many useful properties. First, when added to products, it lowers their pH. This acidification makes the items last longer. The lower pH also ensures that the vitamins, trace elements or antioxidants contained in the food are more stable and better absorbed. Of course, Citric Acid also has the effect of making products taste more sour.

Citric Acid helps to preserve the original color of products, such as fruits and vegetables. It also has a bleaching effect.

Citric Acid is considered a safe substance that, when consumed in moderation, does not cause harmful side effects.

Citric Acid – applications

Citric Acid is used in many industries. Due to its properties – its effect on the pH, taste, color and shelf life of products – it is most commonly used in the food industry.

Citric Acid is also valued in the cosmetics industry, where it is used in the production of many cosmetics. It is also used in the production of detergents and in the pharmaceutical industry as an additive to medicines.

In addition, Citric Acid is used as an additive in animal feed – it has a preservative effect on the feed and also improves phosphorus absorption and the taste of the feed, which in turn leads to increased feed intake.

Citric Acid in food

Citric Acid is a food additive that is listed on labels as E330. As mentioned earlier, it extends the shelf life of products and helps maintain their color. Of course, Citric Acid also ensures that foods maintain proper acidity and is an excellent preservative. It also has binding and thickening properties, which is why it is added to sauces, jams or jellies.

Citric acid is also used in the confectionery and baking industries and is added to baking soda as a raising agent for cakes. As an acidifying agent, it is also an important ingredient in the production of cheese, beer or wine.

Citric Acid is found not only in human nutrition, but also in animal nutrition. Supplementation with this ingredient has had a positive effect on the performance and bone mineralization of broilers and better growth of weaners. Thanks to the addition of Citric Acid, feed not only stays fresh longer, but is also tastier, increasing consumption and weight of the animals.

Citric Acid in cosmetics

Citric Acid in cosmetics

The most popular property of Citric Acid used in cosmetics is its ability to lighten the epidermis. That is why it is found as an ingredient in products for people with discoloration and uneven skin tone.

In addition, Citric Acid helps prevent skin aging by smoothing wrinkles. It affects the number of glycosaminoglycans contained in the skin, whose task is to fill the intercellular spaces. As a result, the skin is moisturized and remains firm.

Citric Acid also has a gentle exfoliating effect, so as an ingredient in scrubs it enhances the effect of the other acids used. It can be used in hair care products – by lowering the pH, the hair becomes less electrified, shinier and smoother.

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