Ascorbic acid(E300), also called vitamin C or L-ascorbic acid, is widely used in pharmaceutical, cosmetic, food and beverage industries because of its nutritional value and various properties like anti-oxygen etc. It is a colorless, odorless or almost odorless crystal and tastes sour. It is soluble in water, and insoluble in ether and chloroform, which has E number of E300 when used as food additives.
First, ascorbic acid could act as an effective antioxidant. In brewing industry, it extends the shelf life and prevents haze development; helps to inhibit oxidization and browning pigment, therefore maintain the colors of meat, fresh-cut fruit, fruit puree, fruit or fruit-based juices while used as a preservative.
Second, ascorbic acid could act as a nutrient. During the manufacturing process, food like potato, fruit usually loose some of nutritional value and ascorbic acid could help to restore, maintain or improve the value. It is also added to supplement, butter, dairy products, bakeries, baby foods, frozen foods and alcohols.
Ascorbic acid cannot essentially change the food quality or defective manufacturing process, however, it is an efficient additive to extend the shelf life, maintain food color and improve nutritional value.
World Health Organization (WHO) suggests adult intake is 45mg daily and 300mg weekly. The rate varies in different countries and regions. Ascorbic acid in large doses might cause diarrhea, indigestion, vomiting, headache and fatigue. Deficiency of ascorbic acid usually leads to scurvy.
Ascorbic acid comes from vegetables, fruits, animal livers and milks. Industrial synthetic ascorbic acid produces from glucose by reichstein or fementation processes.
Global suppliers of synthetic ascorbic acid include BASF, DSM, Merck and China Pharmaceutical Group.
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