Ascorbic acid, also known as vitamin C or L-ascorbic acid , is a natural organic compound (C6H8O6) containing antioxidant properties.
Ascorbic acid is found in plants and food, including citrus fruits, tomatoes, and green vegetables. It is also produced by the kidney of some animals. Humans are not able to produce ascorbic acid and must obtain it from the diet, or else they will develop a deficiency. Industries are producing ascorbic acid through a multistep process. It involves bacteria that reduce glucose and produce ascorbic acid as a byproduct.
Ascorbic acid can be used in a variety of forms, including salts and esters. It appears on ingredient lists under different names, such as sodium ascorbate, calcium ascorbate, potassium ascorbate, ascorbyl palmitate, or ascorbyl stearate.
Use of Ascorbic Acid in Food
Preserves the color and freshness of food by slowing down the oxidation. A low pH of ascorbic acid helps prevent microbial growth. It helps in preventing spoilage and preserving freshness. That is why it is a popular natural ingredient preservative. Its use is also as a preservative in a big amount of food products, including bread, cured meats, jams and jellies, and other sauces and spreads.
The Vitamin C properties of ascorbic acid make it an excellent ingredient for vitamin supplementation. Simply adding ascorbic acid to food increases the Vitamin C content. Since naturally occurring Vitamin C is easily destroyed. Many foods are fortified with ascorbic acid to replenish the Vitamin C content. It is often added to fruit juices, dry fruit, cereal, and other snack foods for this purpose.
Some of the other applications of Ascorbic acid are in photo development and in some specialized scientific applications. Ascorbic acid is also use in plastic manufacturing and water purification.