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Citric acid, malic acid and fumaric acid are acidulants, used to add a ‘sour’ taste to foods and soft drinks and as preservatives. Citric acid is a naturally occurring organic acid, common to all living things, and is produced commercially through fermentation. Malic and fumaric acids are synthetic acidulants.
An excellent buffer
Understanding the chemistry of citric acid is as easy as ABC. It is an acid and reduces the pH of a system thereby imparting a sour flavor. It is an excellent buffer which allows a system to remain pH stable. It is an very good complexing agent (chelant) and ties up metal ions which can affect the stability of the end product.