Citric acid applications Citric acid is found naturally in citrus fruits, especially sweet and sour lemons, and in fact the sour taste of these fruits is due to the presence of citric acid in them. Various applications of citric acid are known as additives in foods, cleansers and supplements. However, this form of citric acid is different from what is naturally found in fruits. Next, we examine the differences between natural and synthetic citric acid, and its applications. What is Citric acid? Citric acid was first extracted from lemon juice in 1784 by a Swedish researcher. This odorless and colorless compound was produced from lemon juice until the early 1900s. But researchers found that it can be obtained also from Aspergillus Niger, a type of fungus. when fed with sugar , this fungus produces citric acid. Due to its acidic and sour taste, citric acid is mainly used as a flavoring and preservative, especially in beverages and candies. In addition, it is used to stabilize or maintain drugs and as a disinfectant against viruses and bacteria. Natural edible Sources of Citric Acid Citrus fruits and juices are the best natural sources of citric acid. In fact, the word citrus is derived from the Latin word citrus, which means citrus. Examples of citrus fruits containing natural citric acid include: Lemon, green lemon, orange, grapefruit, tangerine and pomelos. Other types of fruits also contain citric acid, but include less quantity of citric acid, for example, pineapple, strawberry, raspberry, cranberry, cherry and tomato Drinks or foods containing these fruits (for example, tomato sauce in the case of tomatoes) also contain citric acid. Citric acid is also obtained as a by-product in the production of cheese and sourdough. It should be noted that the citric acid applications in the preparation of food and supplements is produced artificially and it is not the same citric acid that is found naturally in fruits. This is because citrus acid production from citrus is very expensive and the amount of citric acid produced by this method will be much less than the demand. Synthetic citric acid applications The properties of citric acid make it an important substance in various industry’s applications. For example, the food and beverage industry estimate that the produced citric acid includes 70% consumption in pharmaceutical and 20% in food supplements, and 10% detergents. Citric acid application in food industry Synthetic citric acid is one of the most common food additives in the world. It is used to enhance acidity, enhance the flavor and preserve the food ingredients. Soft drinks, juices, candies, frozen foods and some dairy products often contain synthetic citric acid. It is also added to canned fruits and vegetables to protect against botulism, a rare but serious poisoning caused by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, which produces toxins. Citric acid applications in medicines and dietary supplements Citric acid is a major industrial ingredient in medicines and dietary supplements. It is added to medicines to help stabilize and retain active ingredients and is used to enhance or improve the taste of chewable medicines or syrups. Mineral supplements, such as, magnesium and calcium may contain citric acid in the form of citrate. Citric acid is added to dietary supplements to increase the absorption of these minerals. Citric acid application in the production of detergents and disinfectants Citric acid is an effective disinfectant against a variety of bacteria and viruses. A laboratory study has also shown that citric acid may be effective in treating or preventing virus transmission through food. Citric acid is also sold as a general disinfectant and cleanser to remove soap scum, hard water stains, lime and rust. Citric acid is a safe alternative to common disinfectants and detergents, such as, Vitex The effect of citric acid on human health Citric acid has many significant health benefits and functions, which we will explain below. - Metabolizes energy Citrate, with a formula similar to citric acid is the first molecule to be formed during a process called the citric acid cycle. These chemical reactions in your body, also known as tricarboxylic acid (TCA) or Krebs cycle help convert food into usable energy. Human and other creatures get most of their energy from this cycle. - Increases the absorption of nutrients Complementary minerals are available in various forms. But not all of them are suitable to be absorbed by your body because the body absorbs some forms of minerals better. Citric acid increases the bioavailability of minerals and allows your body to better absorb them. For example, calcium citrate does not need stomach acid to be absorbed. It also has fewer side effects, such as, bloating or constipation than another form called calcium carbonate. Therefore, calcium citrate is a better option for people with less stomach acid, such as older adults. Likewise, magnesium is fully absorbed in the form of citrate and has more bioavailability than magnesium oxide and magnesium sulfate. Citric acid also increases the absorption of zinc supplements. - It can protect you against the kidney stones Citric acid in the form of potassium citrate prevents the formation of new kidney stones and breaks down those that have already been formed. Conclusion Citric acid is a compound that is primarily derived from lemon juice and have different applications in various industries. Today, a special type of synthetic citric acid is used in various applications. Citrus fruits naturally contain a lot of citric acid, and other fruits, such as, cherries and tomatoes contain less citric acid. Citric acid is a versatile additive for foods, beverages, medicines and food supplements as well as detergents and disinfectants. In addition, citric acid can be beneficial to health. Citric acid helps with energy metabolism, mineral absorption, and the prevention or treatment of kidney stones.