Citric acid in processed foods.. Is it natural or manufactured from black mushrooms and is it toxic?

Written By Mark

A video is being circulated on social media, in which the speaker claims that citric acid added to food is not natural, and that it is produced by a type of fungus, and that it is toxic. How true is this?

Citric acid is an important natural compound known since the late 18th century. The pioneering Swedish-German chemist Karl Wilhelm Scheele isolated it from lemon juice in 1784, and it has since been found in other citrus fruits, pineapples, and even animal tissues.

Citric acid is a natural product, but it is in high demand in industry, so it is manufactured.

Citric acid is produced at a rate of more than two million tons annually around the world, and its main source is not from fruit, but from the fermentation of raw sugars (such as molasses and cornstarch) by the fungus Aspergillus niger, according to the American Chemical Society. Society.

Therefore, citric acid is currently produced from mushrooms. However, this does not mean that it is toxic or harmful, as it is purified and obtained in manufacturing in a pure form.

Citric acid has a myriad of uses, mostly in foods and medicines. These uses include pH adjustment, antioxidants, flavoring, and as mineral salts in nutritional supplements.

In industrial and domestic applications, citric acid is an ingredient in many cleaning products, and a precursor for the manufacture of citrate, itaconic acid, acetone dicarboxylic acid, and other compounds.

Citric acid cycle

In the biochemistry of living organisms there is the citric acid cycle, which is a major life process in all living breathing organisms. It is also called the Krebs cycle or the tricarboxylic acid cycle. The process begins with pyruvate derived from sugar, which enzymatically generates acetyl coenzyme A (CoA) to start the cycle. .

The acetate released from acetyl-CoA reacts with the oxaloacetic acid produced at the end of the previous cycle to form citric acid. Several steps follow, during which the oxidation reaction releases energy to the body in the form of adenosine triphosphate.

When dealing with pure citric acid, you must be careful, as if it comes into contact with the body or a specific organ such as the eye, it may lead to damage, such as eye damage, irritation, and irritation of the respiratory system.

About black mushrooms

The fungus Aspergillus nigricans is a type of mold, which can sometimes lead to some cases of pneumonia, and it is also the causative agent for the appearance of “black mold” on the outside of some foods, such as apricots, onions, grapes, etc., which makes Aspergillus nigra a living organism. “Spoils” the food.

Industrial uses of Aspergillus fungi

Aspergillus is a group of filamentous fungi that can be easily grown in laboratory conditions, meaning they are one of the most extensively studied groups of fungi.

Once cultivated, the Aspergillus group can be used to manufacture useful industrial compounds such as glycoside hydrolase. These enzymes are used in the process of converting biomass into biofuel, by breaking down cellulose and hemicellulose from plant cell walls, into a substance that is later converted into ethanol. This type can also be used to produce biologically active metabolites, in addition to other pharmaceutical products.

Different Aspergillus species are known to produce many different types of enzymes, making them very useful for the food industry, if properly cultivated and adapted. Aspergillus niger can be adapted to produce large quantities of fructose sugars, due to the observed high activity of the fructose transporting enzymes present. inside its surface.