Something you’d better know about citric acid VS citrate

Citric acid and citrate are two related compounds that are commonly used in various industries, such as food and beverage, pharmaceutical, and personal care. While they may sound similar, they have distinct properties and applications. In this blog, we will explore the differences between citric acid and citrate.

Citric Acid

Citric acid is a weak organic acid that occurs naturally in citrus fruits such as lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits. It is also produced commercially by fermentation of sugar solutions by the fungus Aspergillus niger. Citric acid has a sour taste and is widely used as a flavoring agent in the food and beverage industry. It is also used as a preservative, acidulant, and sequestrant.

Citric acid has several properties that make it useful in various applications. It is highly soluble in water, which means it can be easily incorporated into aqueous solutions. It is also a chelating agent, which means it can bind to metal ions and prevent them from reacting with other compounds. This property makes citric acid useful as a sequestrant, especially in cleaning products.

Citrate

Citrate is the anion of citric acid. It is a polyatomic ion that has a negative charge and is formed by removing a hydrogen ion from citric acid. Citrate can also be produced by the reaction of citric acid with a base such as sodium hydroxide. Citrates are widely used in the food and beverage industry as acidity regulators, emulsifiers, and flavoring agents.

Citrate has several properties that make it useful in various applications. It is highly soluble in water, which means it can be easily incorporated into aqueous solutions. It also has a mild alkaline property, which means it can be used to adjust the pH of a solution. This property makes citrate useful as an acidity regulator, especially in soft drinks.

Differences Between Citric Acid and Citrate

Chemical Structure
Citric acid is a monoprotic acid, which means it can donate one hydrogen ion to a base. Citrate is the anion of citric acid and has a negative charge. Citrate can donate up to three hydrogen ions to a base, depending on the pH of the solution.

Solubility
Citric acid is highly soluble in water, whereas citrate is even more soluble due to its negative charge.

Acidity
Citric acid is a stronger acid than citrate, with a pH of around 2.2. Citrate is a weaker acid, with a pH of around 7.4.

Uses
Citric acid is commonly used as a flavoring agent, acidulant, and preservative in the food and beverage industry. It is also used as a sequestrant in cleaning products. Citrate is commonly used as an acidity regulator, emulsifier, and flavoring agent in the food and beverage industry.

In conclusion, citric acid and citrate are two related compounds that have different properties and applications. While citric acid is a stronger acid that is commonly used as a flavoring agent and preservative, citrate is a weaker acid that is commonly used as an acidity regulator and emulsifier. Understanding the differences between these compounds is important for their proper use in various industries.

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