Definition of CITRIC ACID


Citric acid is a noun that refers to a weak organic acid found naturally in citrus fruits such as lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits. It is widely used in food and beverage production, household cleaning products, pharmaceuticals, and industrial applications due to its acidity, flavor-enhancing properties, and versatile chemical characteristics.

Natural Source: Citric acid occurs naturally in citrus fruits, where it contributes to their tartness and acidity. It is synthesized by certain species of fungi and bacteria during the metabolic process known as the citric acid cycle or Krebs cycle, which occurs in the mitochondria of living organisms.

Food and Beverage Industry: In the food and beverage industry, citric acid serves as a versatile ingredient, adding tartness, acidity, and flavor enhancement to a wide range of products. It is commonly used as a preservative, pH regulator, and flavoring agent in beverages, jams, jellies, candies, sauces, and processed foods, contributing to their taste, texture, and shelf life.

Household Cleaning Products: Citric acid is valued for its cleaning and descaling properties, making it a common ingredient in household cleaning products such as detergents, dishwashing liquids, and bathroom cleaners. Its acidic nature helps dissolve mineral deposits, soap scum, and limescale from surfaces, appliances, and plumbing fixtures, leaving them clean and shiny.

Pharmaceutical and Medical Applications: In the pharmaceutical industry, citric acid is used as an excipient in medications and dietary supplements, serving as a buffering agent, stabilizer, or flavoring component. It is also employed in medical treatments such as kidney stone dissolution therapy, where its acidic properties help dissolve calcium oxalate and uric acid stones in the urinary tract.

Industrial Uses: Citric acid finds applications in various industrial processes, including water treatment, metal cleaning, and textile dyeing. It is used as a chelating agent to remove metal ions from solutions, as well as a pH adjuster and dispersant in industrial formulations, contributing to process efficiency and product quality.

Environmental Sustainability: Citric acid is considered a safer and more environmentally friendly alternative to harsh chemicals in many applications due to its biodegradability and low toxicity. It is often preferred over synthetic acids and corrosive cleaners for its effectiveness in removing stains and scale without posing significant risks to human health or the environment.

In conclusion, citric acid is a versatile organic compound with diverse applications in food and beverage production, household cleaning, pharmaceuticals, and industry. Its natural occurrence in citrus fruits, coupled with its acidity and chemical properties, make it an invaluable ingredient for enhancing flavor, cleaning surfaces, stabilizing formulations, and promoting environmental sustainability. Embracing the multifaceted benefits of citric acid underscores its importance as a key component in numerous products and processes that contribute to modern living and industry.

Examples of CITRIC ACID in a sentence

  • Citric acid is a weak organic acid found naturally in citrus fruits such as lemons, oranges, and limes.
  • In addition to its presence in fruits, citric acid is also produced commercially through fermentation processes.
  • Citric acid is commonly used as a food additive to impart a sour or acidic taste to various products.
  • It serves as a preservative and flavor enhancer in a wide range of foods and beverages, including soft drinks, candies, and jams.
  • Beyond its culinary applications, citric acid is utilized in household cleaning products for its ability to dissolve limescale and rust.
  • In the pharmaceutical industry, citric acid is employed as an excipient in medication formulations and as a chelating agent in drug formulations.
  • Some skincare products incorporate citric acid for its exfoliating properties and its ability to promote skin renewal.
  • As a versatile and multifunctional compound, citric acid plays a pivotal role in various industries, from food and beverage to pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.


The term “citric acid” has its roots in Latin and Greek. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Latin Influence:
    • The word “citric” is derived from the Latin word “citrus,” which originally referred to the citron tree (Citrus medica) and its fruit.
    • “Citrus” likely came from an earlier Indo-European root related to “cedar” or “cedar tree.”
  • Greek Influence:
    • The word “acid” comes from the Greek term “acidos,” which means “sour” or “acidic.”
    • This term was adopted into Latin as “acidus,” retaining its original meaning.
  • Compound Formation:
    • “Citric acid” is formed by combining the word “citric,” derived from Latin “citrus,” with the term “acid,” from Greek “acidos.”
    • Citric acid is a weak organic acid found in citrus fruits such as lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits.

Overall, the etymology of “citric acid” reflects its origins in Latin and Greek roots, its association with citrus fruits, and its importance in various industries due to its versatile chemical properties.


  • E330
  • Lemon acid
  • Sour salt
  • Citrate
  • Citrus acid
  • Acidum citricum
  • Lemon juice extract
  • Acidity regulator


  • Alkaline
  • Basic
  • Neutral
  • Sweet
  • Bland
  • Mild
  • Non-acidic
  • Alkalinity


  • Citrus fruit
  • Acidic
  • Flavor enhancer
  • Food additive
  • pH adjuster
  • Food preservation
  • Acidification
  • Acidity regulation

🌐 🇬🇧 CITRIC ACID in other languages

Terms of Use

Privacy & Cookies


Who We Are

Main Sections


Geographical Locations



Let´s Talk



® 2024