Is 330 vegan?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “Is 330 vegan?” and will discuss the properties of citric acid.

Is 330 vegan?

Yes, 330 is vegan. 330 is also called citric acid and it is vegan because it is obtained from only plant-based products like lemon, lime, oranges, and tomatoes, etc. Industrially, it is produced by mold fermentation of sugar solutions (1).

One of the most often used acidulants in food and beverage, citric anhydrous or monohydrate, also serves as a preservative, pH buffer, antioxidant and chelating agent. Citric acid anhydrous or monohydrate In the European Union, it is known as E330. In 2019, China shipped almost 1 million tons of citric acid, making it the world’s largest producer.

Currently, the global citric acid market is projected to reach USD 3.2 billion by 2023 and is expected to witness a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 5.1% during the forecast period. The global production of CA is estimated to be around 736,000 tonnes/year, and the entire production is carried out by fermentation (6).

What is the chemical formula for citric acid?

It is a naturally occurring organic acid that contributes to citrus fruit’s sour flavor. In addition, as an intermediary in the tricarboxylic acid cycle or Krebs cycle, it is critical to the metabolism of the majority of living organisms. The chemical formula of citric acid is C6H8O7 for the anhydrous form and C6H8O7.H2O for the monohydrate form (2).

Citric acid is an acidulant and antioxidant produced by mold fermentation of sugar solutions and by extraction from lemon juice, lime juice, and pineapple canning residue. It is the predominant acid in oranges, lemons, and limes. It exists in anhydrous and monohydrate forms. The anhydrous form is crystallized in hot solutions and the monohydrate form is crystallized from cold (below 36.5°C) solutions. Anhydrous citric acid has a solubility of 146 g and monohydrate citric acid has a solubility of 175 g/100 ml of distilled water at 20°C. A 1% solution has a pH of 2.3 at 25°C. It is a hygroscopic, strong acid of tart flavor. It is used as an acidulant in fruit drinks and carbonated beverages at 0.25–0.40%, in cheese at 3–4%, and in jellies (1).

Market types

Both anhydrous and monohydrate citric acid is widely available. When heated above 37 °C, monohydrate may become anhydrous.

Natural sources

There is a significant concentration of citric acid in citrus fruits. Citric acid-rich fruits include:

·         Lemon

·         Lime

·         Pineapple

·         Oranges

·         Tomatoes

·         Strawberries

·         Peaches

·         Apples

·         Grapefruits

·         Blueberries

·         Bananas


Citric acid is abundant in citrus juices like lemon and lime. Lemon juice that is ready to drink has a concentration of roughly 41 mg/kg, whereas concentrates have a concentration of around 31 mg/kg. In lime juice, the concentration is 39 mg/kg and 30 mg/kg, respectively. From 0.62 to 0.96 mg/kg, it is found in commercial lemon juice-based products like lemonade.

How is citric acid made?

Commercially, citric acid is made from corn-derived glucose or sucrose carbohydrate substrates by microbial fermentation. Black mold is often fed a substrate. In the microbial generation of citric acid, the most common organism employed is Aspergillus niger.

The Food and Drug Administration has authorized three methods of manufacturing:

·         From plant sources like citrus, pineapple, and other fruit juices

·         Employing Candida spp. for mycological fermentation.

·         From the fermentation fluid of Aspergillus niger.

The fungus Aspergillus niger has been used to produce 99 percent of the world’s citric acid since 1919, according to research published in Toxicology Reports in 2018. Since the third process approach above is most often employed. Even though the biochemical synthesis route is being used commercially to produce citric acid, the chemical route is used for production on a small scale in a few countries (3).

Properties (1)


An acidic white crystallized powder or granular.


To indicate the dissociation of acids, we use the notation Pka. As a weak organic acid with three carboxylic acid functional groups, citric acid has PKa values of 3, 14, 4, and 6.39.


pH measures the citric acid solution’s concentration of H+ ions or H3O+ ions. Citric acid concentration and dissociation affect the PH value. Citric acid, at a concentration of 10 mM (0.01mol/L), has a PH value of 2.62.


At 20 °C, anhydrous has a water solubility of 592 g/L. Monohydrates are water-soluble.

organic solvents-Monohydrate is sparingly soluble in ether and just slightly soluble in ethanol when anhydrous.

What are the health advantages of using citric acid?

In addition to preventing kidney stones, citric acid may also improve the health of our skin. Citric acid is widely used as a food additive and shows no side effects (2).

Antioxidants in the body

Human cells may be protected from the harmful effects of free radicals by citric acid.

Prevent kidney stones

By preventing new stone development and breaking down tiny stones at the beginning of their creation, citric acid is good for persons with kidney stones. In addition, the salts calcium citrate and potassium citrate have stone-preventative properties.

Citrate is a naturally-occurring inhibitor of urinary crystallization; achieving therapeutic urinary citrate concentration is one clinical target in the medical management of calcium urolithiasis. When provided as fluids, beverages containing citric acid add to the total volume of urine, reducing its saturation of calcium and other crystals, and may enhance urinary citrate excretion (4).

Benefits for the skin

In skincare products, citric acid acts as an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA). In the cosmetics business, AHA is a carboxylic acid with a hydroxyl group attached to the next carbon atom. As a general rule, AHA may enhance skin issues such as reducing fine lines and wrinkles, improving skin texture and tone, and unclogging and cleaning pores.

The citric acid has antiseptic properties as indicated by microbiological studies and by rapid clearing up of infected surfaces. This antiseptic property may be due to lowering of pH that makes an environment unsuitable for growth and multiplication of bacteria (5).

Common applications of citric acid

In addition to being utilized in food and beverage, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and water treatment, citric acid may also be employed in home cleaning products because of its versatility. 

Citric acid is commonly used in caramels, fruit juices, nectars and soft drinks, ice cream, marmalades, fruit jams, jellies, fruit preserves and vegetables, dairy products (processed cheese, some butter, margarine and other spreadable fats), oils and fats, fish and shellfish unprocessed, peeled potatoes, sausages, frozen fish products and baby food (2).


With malic and tartaric acids, it is a common organic acid used in food. As a preservative, antioxidant, chelating agent, and citric acid for food usage. Citric acid used in the food and beverage industry due to its antioxidant properties to preserve the food or as an acidifier enhances the flavors and aromas of fruit juices, ice cream, and marmalades (6). 


Adding a sour taste, enhancing flavor, and adjusting PH are some of the most prevalent uses of citric acid in food and beverage.

As an acidulant, citric acid acts as an antimicrobial agent, which is used to preserve food by preventing growth of microorganisms and subsequent spoilage, including fungicides, mold, and rope inhibitors (1). 


This acidic pH makes it ideal for food preservation since many germs are unable to thrive in an acidic environment. Acidulants are used as preservatives because they increase the acidity of food, which can reduce growth of bacteria (1).


Oxidation may be prevented or slowed down in food if it is present in low amounts.

Antioxidants are chemical compounds that provide stability to fats and oils by delaying oxidation (which involves the loss of electrons and the gain of oxygen). The oxidation of fats and oils is believed to occur as a series of chain reactions in which oxygen from the air is added to the free fat radical. The fat molecule loses a hydrogen atom and becomes an unstable free radical with a high affinity for oxygen. Oxygen is added and the fat molecule, to complete its electron structure, reacts with another fat molecule and removes a hydrogen atom. This produces another free radical and results in a chain reaction. The antioxidant functions by replacing the fat molecule as the hydrogen atom donor in order to complete the electron structure of the free radical, thus terminating the chain reaction. Thus oxidative rancidity, which results in off-flavors and odors, is retarded until the antioxidant supply is used (1).

Chelating agents

The capacity to create chelate complexes with polyvalent metal ions may enhance the quality and stability of meals. Chelating agents are substances which combine with polyvalent metal ions to form a soluble metal complex, to improve the quality and stability of products (1).

Supplements for health and wellness

As a supplement to meals, it is possible to utilize its derivatives, calcium citrate and iron citrate. In the pharmaceutical industry, it is used as an antioxidant to preserve vitamins, effervescent, pH corrector, blood preservative, and iron citrate tablets as a source of iron for the body (6).


Cosmetic and personal care products use it as a buffering, chelating, and masking agent, according to the “European Commission database for information on the cosmetic chemicals and components.” 10% of the worldwide produced citric acid is used in the pharmaceutical industry (3).


In this brief guide, we answered the query, “Is 330 vegan?” and discussed the properties of citric acid.

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Silva, Maria Manuela, and Fernando Cebola Lidon. An overview on applications and side effects of antioxidant food additives. Emir J Food Agric, 2016, 823-832.


Prasad, Naveen, et al. Chemical route for synthesis of citric acid from orange and grape juices. Chem Ind Chem Eng Quart, 2022, 28, 135-140.


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Behera, Bikash Chandra, Rashmiranjan Mishra, and Sonali Mohapatra. Microbial citric acid: Production, properties, application, and future perspectives. Food Front, 2021, 2, 62-76.c