Citric acid monohydrate vs. Citric acid anhydrous: choosing the best type for your product

December 18, 2023

As a common and important acidic additive, citric acid not only plays a key role in the food sector but also has a wide range of applications in a number of manufacturing areas such as pharmaceuticals and cleaning agents.

But, when it comes to the choice of citric acid, manufacturers are often faced with a difficult choice: citric acid monohydrate or anhydrous citric acid? It's not only about the final quality of the product but also about the cost of manufacturing. So, we'll explore the differences between these two types of citric acid and provide a guide to choosing one.

1. What is citric acid monohydrate and citric acid anhydrous?

Citric acid monohydrate is the crystalline form of citric acid, which contains molecules of water of crystallization, it usually appears as clear crystals or crystalline powder. Citric acid anhydrous is the dry form of citric acid, which contains no water for crystallization molecules and appears as white crystals or powder.

2. Citric acid monohydrate vs Citric acid anhydrous

1. Comparison of properties

ProductsCitric acid monohydrateCitric acid anhydrous
Thermal StabilityUnstable, decomposes easily at high temperaturesReleases water and carbon dioxide when it reaches its melting point
Relative Density1.5421.54
Melting Point153°C135°C~152°C
Index of Refraction1.493~1.509/
Water SolubilitySolution crystallization critical temperature 36.6°C630g/L

No matter what industry you are a manufacturer in, you should weigh these properties against your specific needs when making a selection to ensure that the type of citric acid you choose meets the requirements of your product's manufacturing.

2. Comparison of application areas

● Citric acid monohydrate

Citric acid monohydrate is mainly used in the food and beverage industry and is often used as a food additive. Citric acid monohydrate is widely used as an acidity regulator in food processing to improve taste and increase appetite. It is also used as an antioxidant, plasticizer, and detergent in chemical, cosmetic, and washing industries.

● Citric Acid Anhydrous

Anhydrous citric acid is also used as a food additive in the food and beverage industry, but the industry that uses it most is the manufacture of chemicals. It is followed by paper making, aluminum refining, tungsten refining, rayon, artificial cotton, and soap manufacturing. In addition, a large amount of anhydrous citric acid is also used in the production of dyes, plastics, pharmaceuticals, and organic intermediates, and in the manufacture of borax, chromium salts, manganates, phosphates, and so on.

3. Price comparison

In addition to the performance of the two, I know that as a manufacturer you are concerned with another important aspect - price. As a food additive supplier, we offer a price reference on our experience of working together:

Citric acid monohydrate0.55$/kg
Citric acid anhydrous0.85$/kg

From a price perspective, citric acid monohydrate is more economical per unit weight. Because citric acid monohydrate is the finished product of citric acid, while anhydrous citric acid is the equivalent of a complex process added to the cost of citric acid monohydrate, a process that makes a difference of more than $300 per ton in price.

3. How to choose?

Even though citric acid monohydrate and anhydrous citric acid are not really very different in nature, when faced with the choice between citric acid monohydrate and anhydrous citric acid, we are often caught in a trade-off between performance and cost. Next, we'll provide you with some practical advice based on the needs of each industry:

1. Food and beverage industry:

● Citric Acid Monohydrate

As a manufacturer in the food and beverage industry, if your products are refreshing drinks, juices, jams, fruit candies and other acidic products. Then Citric Acid Monohydrate is the ideal choice for you. This is because the good solubility makes it widely used in the manufacture of products such as juices, beverages, and jellies to provide a clear acidic flavor to the products.

● Citric Acid Anhydrous

Because of its strong acidifying and antimicrobial properties, Citric Acid Anhydrous is particularly suitable for products like canned foods that need to be preserved for long periods of time. Additionally, when it comes to antioxidants for edible fats and oils and fatty products, anhydrous citric acid can also improve the shelf life of these foods.

It is important to note that if both are used in food products, whichever one is used, it must be food grade, clearly labeled as a food additive on the package, and industrial grade should never be used.

2. Pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries:

● Citric acid monohydrate

If you are a manufacturer in the cosmetic industry and your products require whitening and antimicrobial effects, then citric acid monohydrate is also well suited to your needs. This is because it can be used as an acid regulator in cosmetics to regulate pH, stabilize formulations, and enhance antimicrobial properties and whitening effects. In the pharmaceutical industry, citric acid monohydrate can also be used as an ingredient to regulate the acidity of medications for the treatment of urinary tract infections and a number of other ailments.

● Citric Acid Anhydrous

If you are a manufacturer of hair care products then I would suggest you go for Citric Acid Anhydrous. Anhydrous citric acid is used in most shampoos, hair dyes and conditioner products on the market. Adding anhydrous citric acid to these hair care products regulates pH and increases acidity.

3. Industrial manufacturing:

In industrial manufacturing, citric acid monohydrate and citric acid anhydrous can be used in the manufacture of cleaning agents to provide a strong acidic effect. The only thing you have to be clear about when choosing is the positioning of your cleaning product:

For cleaning tasks that require a long duration of action, or where heat treatment is required, it is recommended that you choose anhydrous citric acid. This is because anhydrous citric acid is a more stable acid that does not break down easily and can remain acidic for a longer period of time.

For the production of fast cleaning products, it is recommended that you choose citric acid monohydrate. Citric acid monohydrate is easy to dissolve and exhibits strong acidity in water, dissolving limescale and other stains quickly.

All in all, the choice between citric acid monohydrate or anhydrous citric acid depends on the specific production needs and product performance requirements. Of course, if you feel that the difference in performance between the two is not very great and cost is an important consideration. Then citric acid monohydrate is the more economical choice at all times.

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