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Sodium Citrate vs. Citric Acid: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sara Rehman || Published on January 8, 2024
Sodium citrate is the sodium salt of citric acid, used as a buffer and food additive, while citric acid is a weak organic acid, naturally found in citrus fruits.

Key Differences

Sodium citrate, a sodium salt derived from citric acid, is commonly used as a buffering agent in foods, pharmaceuticals, and beverages. It has a salty, slightly tart flavor. Citric acid, a natural organic acid found in citrus fruits, is known for its sour taste and is widely used as a flavor enhancer and preservative in foods.
Sara Rehman
Jan 08, 2024
Chemically, sodium citrate is more alkaline compared to citric acid. It is often used to regulate acidity in food products and can also act as an anticoagulant in blood samples. Citric acid plays a pivotal role in the citric acid cycle in cellular metabolism and is a natural preservative due to its acidity.
Sara Rehman
Jan 08, 2024
In the food industry, sodium citrate is utilized for its ability to control the pH level and improve texture, particularly in dairy products. Citric acid is frequently used to add a tangy flavor to beverages and candies, and as an acidulant in various food products.
Sara Rehman
Jan 08, 2024
Sodium citrate has applications in medicine, particularly in kidney health, by helping prevent certain types of kidney stones. In contrast, citric acid is often used in cleaning products for its ability to remove minerals and rust, due to its chelating properties.
Huma Saeed
Jan 08, 2024
As a sodium salt, sodium citrate can contribute to the sodium content in foods, which is a consideration for sodium-restricted diets. Citric acid, being a weak organic acid, is often preferred for its natural occurrence and flavor profile in food and beverage formulations.
Sara Rehman
Jan 08, 2024
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Comparison Chart

Chemical Nature

Sodium salt of citric acid
Weak organic acid
Sara Rehman
Jan 08, 2024

Taste

Salty, slightly tart
Sour, tangy
Huma Saeed
Jan 08, 2024

PH Level

More alkaline
Acidic
Sara Rehman
Jan 08, 2024

Primary Use

Buffering agent, pH control, anticoagulant
Flavor enhancer, preservative, acidulant
Aimie Carlson
Jan 08, 2024

Applications

Food industry, medicine
Food industry, cleaning products, metabolism
Sara Rehman
Jan 08, 2024
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Sodium Citrate and Citric Acid Definitions

Sodium Citrate

The sodium salt form of citric acid, used as a food additive.
Sodium citrate is added to soda to regulate acidity.
Sara Rehman
Dec 22, 2023

Citric Acid

Involved in the citric acid cycle in cellular respiration.
Citric acid is key in energy production in cells.
Sara Rehman
Dec 22, 2023

Sodium Citrate

Acts as an anticoagulant in blood collection tubes.
Blood samples for coagulation tests contain sodium citrate.
Janet White
Dec 22, 2023

Citric Acid

Commonly used in cleaning agents for its chelating properties.
Citric acid effectively removes limescale from kettles.
Sara Rehman
Dec 22, 2023

Sodium Citrate

Enhances texture and flavor in dairy products.
Cheese sauces often contain sodium citrate for smoothness.
Harlon Moss
Dec 22, 2023

Citric Acid

A natural acid found in citrus fruits, used as a preservative.
Citric acid is added to jams to increase their shelf life.
Sara Rehman
Dec 22, 2023

Sodium Citrate

Utilized in medicine to prevent kidney stones.
Sodium citrate solutions are prescribed for kidney health.
Sara Rehman
Dec 22, 2023

Citric Acid

Acts as a pH adjuster in cosmetics and personal care products.
Citric acid is used in shampoos to balance pH levels.
Sara Rehman
Dec 22, 2023

Sodium Citrate

A buffering agent that stabilizes pH levels in foods and drinks.
Sodium citrate is used in ice cream to prevent crystallization.
Sara Rehman
Dec 22, 2023

Citric Acid

Used to add a sour taste to foods and beverages.
Citric acid gives lemonade its tart flavor.
Huma Saeed
Dec 22, 2023

FAQs

What is sodium citrate?

A sodium salt derivative of citric acid.
Sara Rehman
Jan 08, 2024

Can sodium citrate help with kidney stones?

It can prevent certain types of kidney stones.
Sara Rehman
Jan 08, 2024

What is citric acid?

A weak organic acid found in citrus fruits.
Huma Saeed
Jan 08, 2024

Can citric acid be used in cleaning?

Yes, for its mineral-removing properties.
Sara Rehman
Jan 08, 2024

Does citric acid affect pH levels?

Yes, it’s used to increase acidity.
Janet White
Jan 08, 2024

How is sodium citrate used in foods?

As a buffer, pH stabilizer, and flavor enhancer.
Sara Rehman
Jan 08, 2024

What are the main uses of citric acid?

As a flavoring agent, preservative, and acidulant.
Harlon Moss
Jan 08, 2024

Is sodium citrate natural?

It’s synthetically derived from citric acid.
Janet White
Jan 08, 2024

What foods contain citric acid naturally?

Citrus fruits like lemons and oranges.
Sara Rehman
Jan 08, 2024

Can citric acid be used in baking?

Yes, as a sourdough ingredient.
Janet White
Jan 08, 2024

Does sodium citrate have side effects?

In excess, it may affect sodium levels.
Janet White
Jan 08, 2024

Is sodium citrate safe to consume?

Yes, within regulated limits in food.
Harlon Moss
Jan 08, 2024

Is citric acid a preservative?

Yes, it preserves by lowering pH.
Sara Rehman
Jan 08, 2024

Does sodium citrate have a sour taste?

It’s more salty than sour.
Sara Rehman
Jan 08, 2024

Is sodium citrate used in medicine?

Yes, particularly in kidney health.
Janet White
Jan 08, 2024

What are the benefits of citric acid in skincare?

It balances pH and acts as an antioxidant.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 08, 2024

Is citric acid harmful to consume?

It’s safe in regulated food-grade quantities.
Sara Rehman
Jan 08, 2024

Why is citric acid used in canned goods?

To preserve and enhance flavor.
Harlon Moss
Jan 08, 2024

Does sodium citrate affect blood coagulation?

It's used as an anticoagulant in blood tests.
Sara Rehman
Jan 08, 2024

Can sodium citrate improve food texture?

Yes, especially in dairy products.
Harlon Moss
Jan 08, 2024
About Author
Written by
Sara Rehman
Sara Rehman is a seasoned writer and editor with extensive experience at Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Information Technology, she combines her academic prowess with her passion for writing to deliver insightful and well-researched content.
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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