Certified Organic Citric Acid vs Commercial Citric Acid

You consume loads of citric acid each time you chew lemons, limes, other citrus fruits, and veggies. No doubt, citric acid boasts numerous benefits if consumed in a reasonable amount. However, most citric acid is produced for commercial purposes (to preserve the texture of certain foods or enhance the flavor of citrus-based beverages). What are the main differences between commercial and certified organic citric acid? 

Methods of Production of Citric Acid

You can already tell different methods of production (or yield) of citric acid. Organic forms of this acid are produced by nature. On the other hand, most of citric acid we consume in beverages, candies, and canned food, but also used for formulating cleaning products and medications, is derived by fermentation of a fungus. It is low-cost but also low-quality. 

Some of the most common sources of organic citric acid include:

  • Lemons,
  • Limes,
  • Oranges,
  • Grapefruits, 
  • Pineapples,
  • Tomatoes,
  • Carrots,
  • Broccoli.

More than 140 countries yield citric acid from citrus fruits and vegetables. For a long time, Italy was one of the countries that extracted citric acid from fresh fruits. 

Yet, during the 1990s, manufacturers started applying a new method of citric acid production. Several strains of Aspergillus niger, fungi, seemed suitable for producing a commercial form of citric acid. Low-cost, widely-available, commercial citric acid entered the big door by the end of the century and stayed to this day. 

Although 90% of the citric acid production falls into the commercial category, we still have that precious 10% of organic, fruit-derived citric acid. 

Organic Certified Citric Acid Price 


Obviously, quality wins over quantity. Commercial citric acid is widely available on the market, which significantly lowers its price. Although certified organic acid is slightly more expensive than commercial forms, it offers a much greater quality for the consumer. 

The Use of Organic and Commercial Citric Acid 

Commercial forms of citric acid are used for making beverages, conserving food, formulating cleaning products, and pharmaceutical preparations. 

Around 70% of the food and beverage industry uses commercial citric acid, mostly for boosting flavor but also for preserving and maintaining the stability of meat, frozen goods, candies, jams, canned fruits and vegetables. It can also prevent the growth of bacteria. 

When it comes to cleaning products, polishes, detergents, disinfectants, and water-conditioning agents contain commercial-grade citric acid only. 

Did you know 7.5% of paper tissues are citric acid? It is believed citric acid kills viruses and prevents allergies. However, commercial citric acid would trigger a number of problems with people prone to allergies and respiratory problems. That’s why it is important to use products that contain organic forms of citric acid only. 

Organic citric acid has antioxidant properties, which is why it is used in the preparation of medicines. It can treat kidney stones, make your blood more alkaline, and treat metabolic acidosis, which doesn’t apply to artificial forms of citric acid.


It is already clear by now commercial and certified organic citric acid differ on multiple levels. The first form is cost-effective but can’t offer any other benefits besides enhancing the flavor and conserving food whilst organic forms of citric acid make a full pack, providing multiple benefits for human health in the first place.