How Citric Acid is made

How Citric Acid is made

Uncover the fascinating journey of citric acid, from nature's bounty to your DIY toolkit. Let's dive into the production process that brings this versatile ingredient to life.

 

1. Natural Fermentation Methods

There a typically two methods of fermentation to extract Citric Acid. The natural fermentation method relies upon citrus fruits like lemons, limes and oranges with enzymes within the fruit converting the sugars into citric acid through a series of metabolic reactions. The submerged fermentation method is similar, however uses a variety of sugar sources like corn syrup or molasses instead of fruit juice. 

It's important to note that while citric acid can be naturally derived from citrus fruits, most commercial citric acid is produced using the submerged fermentation method due to its efficiency and scalability.

 

2. Synthetic production 

In this method, citric acid is synthesized in a laboratory setting using various chemical reactions. It involves starting with precursor molecules and manipulating them through a series of steps to produce citric acid. 

The synthetic process typically involves using citral, a compound found in essential oils like lemon or orange oil, as a starting material. Citral undergoes various chemical transformations, including oxidation and isomerization, to eventually yield citric acid. The process is complex and requires careful control of reaction conditions and purification steps to ensure the quality of the final product.

While synthetic production offers control over citric acid yield and purity, it's less common compared to natural fermentation.

 

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