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Technology Profile: Production of Citric Acid

By Intratec Solutions |

Citric acid is a naturally occurring tricarboxylic acid commonly found in plants and animals (Figure 1). In its pure form, it is a colorless compound readily soluble in water. Citric acid is mainly used to add taste to food and soft drinks, and as acidulant for dietary supplements and pharmaceuticals. It is also used as the following: an anticoagulant; mineral flotation agent; industrial cleaning/electroplating/anodizing reagent; animal food additive (digestion aid); and water treatment agent. Citric acid can be used in the manufacture of other products, including: dibasic ammonium citrate; ammonium ferric citrate; calcium citrate; citrazinic acid; citrated fatty acid glycerides; lithium citrate; potassium citrate; sodium citrate; tri-n-butyl citrate; and triethyl citrate FIGURE 1. Citric acid is used in a variety of applications, including for taste in foods and beverages[/caption] Citric acid can be obtained from natural sources (for example, lemons, limes and oranges) and can be synthetically produced either via chemical reaction or microbial fermentation. Large-volume industrial production of citric acid, however, is based almost exclusively on microbial fermentation of a carbohydrate substrate, in which a strain of Aspergillus…
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