Thursday, March 30, 2023

History of citric acid

Citric acid is used in food as a flavoring agent and preservative. Citric acid is a weak organic acid found in citrus fruits. This organic acid (2-hydroxy-1,2,3-propanetricarboxylic acid, C6H8O7) is also an acidulant, preservative, emulsifier, flavorant, sequestrant and buffering agent

The discovery of citric acid has been credited to the 8th century Islamic alchemist Jabir Ibn Hayyan (Geber). It was later isolated for the first time by chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele in the year 1784.

In 1838 Libieg considered that citric acid is actually three carboxylic acid and in 1880 Grimeux and Adam synthesised citric acid from glycerole-derived 1,3 dichloroacetone for the first time chemically.

The use of citric acid across several industrial sectors increased rapidly throughout the 19th century when the acid was directly extracted from concentrated lemon juice.

In 1893, C. Wehmer discovered that Penicillium mold could produce citric acid from sugar. The American food chemist James Currie work was successful for production of citric acid and in 1916 he reported that several strains of Aspergillus niger produced a substantial quantity of citric acid.

Industrial scale production started in 1890. Lemon juice remained the commercial source of citric acid until 1919, when the first industrial process using Aspergillus niger started in Belgium.

Citric acid, indeed, plays a central role in the biochemical cycle discovered by Sir Hans Adolf Krebs in 1937. Krebs received the 1953 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discovery.
History of citric acid