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Malic Acid vs. Citric Acid: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sumera Saeed || Published on December 20, 2023
Malic acid, a tart-tasting organic compound found in apples, is used for flavoring and as a preservative, while citric acid, a weak organic acid in citrus fruits, is known for its sour taste and as an antioxidant.

Key Differences

Malic acid, with the formula C4H6O5, is primarily found in apples and other fruits. Citric acid, C6H8O7, is abundant in citrus fruits like lemons and oranges.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 20, 2023
Malic acid imparts a tart flavor, enhancing fruit flavors in food and beverages. Citric acid, known for its sour taste, is widely used in the food industry, especially in soft drinks and candies.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 20, 2023
Malic acid is used in cosmetics for its hydrating properties and in the food industry as a preservative. Citric acid serves as a natural preservative, pH adjuster, and cleaning agent in various industries.
Huma Saeed
Dec 20, 2023
Both acids are involved in the Krebs cycle, but malic acid also plays a key role in the malate-aspartate shuttle in cellular respiration. Citric acid is crucial in the first step of the citric acid cycle.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 20, 2023
Malic acid supplements are known for their potential benefits in skin care and fibromyalgia treatment. Citric acid is valued for its antioxidant properties but can erode tooth enamel in high concentrations.
Janet White
Dec 20, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Chemical Formula

C4H6O5
C6H8O7
Sumera Saeed
Dec 20, 2023

Natural Source

Apples, fruits
Citrus fruits like lemons, oranges
Sumera Saeed
Dec 20, 2023

Taste Profile

Tart flavor
Sour taste
Sumera Saeed
Dec 20, 2023

Industrial Use

Food preservation, cosmetics
Preservative, cleaning agent, pH adjuster
Harlon Moss
Dec 20, 2023

Role in Metabolism

Involved in malate-aspartate shuttle
Key role in the citric acid cycle
Janet White
Dec 20, 2023
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Malic Acid and Citric Acid Definitions

Malic Acid

An alpha hydroxy acid used in skin care products.
Skin care creams often contain malic acid for hydration.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

Citric Acid

A key intermediate in the citric acid cycle in metabolism.
Citric acid is vital for energy production in our cells.
Janet White
Dec 01, 2023

Malic Acid

Used as a food additive for flavor enhancement.
Malic acid is added to candy to give it a sour flavor.
Huma Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

Citric Acid

An antioxidant and pH adjuster in cosmetics and cleaning products.
Many cleaning agents contain citric acid for its pH-balancing properties.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

Malic Acid

A component in the Krebs cycle of cellular respiration.
Malic acid plays a crucial role in our body's energy production.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

Citric Acid

Used as a flavoring and preservative in foods and beverages.
Citric acid is commonly added to soft drinks for tartness.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

Malic Acid

A tart-tasting organic compound found in apples.
Malic acid is responsible for the tartness of green apples.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

Citric Acid

A weak organic acid found in citrus fruits.
Citric acid gives lemons their characteristically sour taste.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

Malic Acid

An acid used in the food industry as a preservative.
Malic acid helps preserve the freshness of packaged foods.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 01, 2023

Citric Acid

Employed in pharmaceuticals and dietary supplements.
Citric acid is used in effervescent tablets for its acidity.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 01, 2023

FAQs

What is citric acid?

A weak organic acid found in citrus fruits, known for its sourness.
Huma Saeed
Dec 20, 2023

What is malic acid?

An organic compound found in fruits, notably apples, with a tart taste.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 20, 2023

What are the uses of malic acid in food?

As a flavor enhancer and preservative.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 20, 2023

What is the role of citric acid in cleaning products?

As a pH adjuster and cleaning agent.
Janet White
Dec 20, 2023

Is malic acid natural?

Yes, it is naturally found in many fruits.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 20, 2023

Is citric acid natural or synthetic?

It can be both, naturally found in fruits or industrially produced.
Harlon Moss
Dec 20, 2023

Where is citric acid most abundant?

In citrus fruits like lemons and oranges.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 20, 2023

Where is malic acid commonly found?

In apples, pears, and other fruits.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 20, 2023

How does malic acid benefit skin care?

It hydrates and rejuvenates skin.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 20, 2023

Is malic acid safe for consumption?

Yes, when used in appropriate amounts.
Janet White
Dec 20, 2023

What are citric acid's uses in food?

As a flavoring agent, preservative, and acidulant.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 20, 2023

Can malic acid be used in beverages?

Yes, especially in fruit-flavored drinks.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 20, 2023

Can malic acid be synthetic?

Yes, it can also be manufactured synthetically.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 20, 2023

How is citric acid used in pharmaceuticals?

In effervescent tablets and as a stabilizer in medicines.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 20, 2023

Does malic acid have health benefits?

It's believed to aid in skin care and muscle pain relief.
Janet White
Dec 20, 2023

Are there health risks with citric acid?

High concentrations can erode tooth enamel.
Janet White
Dec 20, 2023

What is the role of malic acid in metabolism?

It's involved in the Krebs cycle and energy production.
Janet White
Dec 20, 2023

Why is citric acid added to soft drinks?

For tartness and to balance sweetness.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 20, 2023

How does citric acid function in metabolism?

As a key component in the citric acid cycle.
Janet White
Dec 20, 2023

What industries use citric acid extensively?

Food, beverage, cosmetics, and cleaning industries.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 20, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.
Edited by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.

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