Citric acid

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Application of Citric acid

Food and drink

 
Powdered citric acid being used to prepare lemon pepper seasoning
  • Because it is one of the stronger edible acids, the dominant use of citric acid is as a flavoring and preservative in food and beverages, especially soft drinks and candies.[9] Within the European Union it is denoted by E number E330. Citrate salts of various metals are used to deliver those minerals in a biologically available form in many dietary supplements. Citric acid has 247 kcal per 100 g.[23] The bufferingproperties of citrates are used to control pH in household cleaners and pharmaceuticals. In the United States the purity requirements for citric acid as a food additive are defined by the Food Chemicals Codex, which is published by the United States Pharmacopoeia (USP).
  • Citric acid can be added to ice cream as an emulsifying agent to keep fats from separating, to caramel to prevent sucrose crystallization, or in recipes in place of fresh lemon juice. Citric acid is used with sodium bicarbonate in a wide range of effervescent formulae, both for ingestion (e.g., powders and tablets) and for personal care (e.g.bath saltsbath bombs, and cleaning of grease). Citric acid sold in a dry powdered form is commonly sold in markets and groceries as "sour salt", due to its physical resemblance to table salt. It has use in culinary applications, as an alternative to vinegar or lemon juice, where a pure acid is needed.
  • Citric acid can be used in food coloring to balance the pH level of a normally basic dye.
  • Cleaning and chelating agent
  • Citric acid is an excellent chelating agent, binding metals by making them soluble. It is used to remove and discourage the buildup of limescale from boilers and evaporators.[9] It can be used to treat water, which makes it useful in improving the effectiveness of soaps and laundry detergents. By chelating the metals in hard water, it lets these cleaners produce foam and work better without need for water softening. Citric acid is the active ingredient in some bathroom and kitchen cleaning solutions. A solution with a six percent concentration of citric acid will remove hard water stains from glass without scrubbing. In industry, it is used to dissolve rust from steel. Citric acid can be used in shampoo to wash out wax and coloring from the hair.
  • Illustrative of its chelating abilities, citric acid was the first successful eluant used for total ion-exchange separation of the lanthanides, during the Manhattan Project in the 1940s. In the 1950s, it was replaced by the far more efficient EDTA.
  • Cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, dietary supplements, and foods
  • Citric acid is widely used as an acidulent in creams, gels, and liquids of all kinds. In its use in foods and dietary supplements, it may be classified as a processing aid if the purpose it was added was for a technical or functional effect (e.g. acidulent, chelator, viscosifier, etc...) for a process. If it is still present in insignificant amounts, and the technical or functional effect is no longer present, it may be exempted from labeling <21 CFR §101.100(c)>.
  • Citric acid is an alpha hydroxy acid and used as an active ingredient in chemical peels.
  • Citric acid is commonly used as a buffer to increase the solubility of brown heroin. Single-use citric acid sachets have been used as an inducement to get heroin users to exchangetheir dirty needles for clean needles in an attempt to decrease the spread of HIV and hepatitis. Other acidifiers used for brown heroin are ascorbic acidacetic acid, and lactic acid; in their absence, a drug user will often substitute lemon juice or vinegar.
  • Citric acid is used as one of the active ingredients in the production of antiviral tissues.

Other uses

  • Citric acid is used as an odorless alternative to white vinegar for home dyeing with acid dyes.
  • Sodium citrate is a component of Benedict's reagent, used for identification both qualitatively and quantitatively, of reducing sugars.
  • Citric acid can be used as an alternative to nitric acid in passivation of stainless steel.
  • Citric acid can be used as a lower-odor stop bath as part of the process for developing photographic filmPhotographic developers are alkaline, so a mild acid is used to neutralize and stop their action quickly, but commonly used acetic acid leaves a strong vinegar odor in the darkroom.
  • Citric acid/potassium-sodium citrate can be used as a blood acid regulator.