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Information @ a Glance

General

  • Ascorbic acid is a sugar acid with antioxidant properties.

  • Its appearance is white to light-yellow crystals or powder. It is water-soluble.

  • The L-enantiomer of ascorbic acid is commonly known as vitamin C.

  • Ascorbic acid, the formula of which is C6H8O6, behaves as a vinylogous carboxylic acid, wherein the double bond ("vinyl") transmits electron pairs between the hydroxyl and the carbonyl.

  • Ascorbic acid is known to be a vitamin sensible to a number of factors, including pH, moisture content, oxygen, temperature and light.

Process

  • L-Ascorbic acid is conventionally synthesized by a variety of known methods, which are generally variations of the Reichstein process. These are mostly relatively complex chemical processes that utilize glucose as a starting material.

  • The synthesis of L-ascorbic acid from D-glucose (Glc) proceeds via glucuronic acid and L-gulono-1,4-lactone (Gul) in animals and plants the Glc is epimerized to Dmannose and then to L-galactose, and finally L-galactono-1,4-lactone (Gal) is converted into the vitamin.

Applications

  • Ascorbic acid is easily oxidized and so is used as a reductant in photographic developer solutions (among others) and as a preservative.
  • Ascorbic acid and its sodium, potassium, and calcium salts are commonly used as antioxidant food additives.

  • In plastic manufacturing, ascorbic acid can be used to assemble molecular chains more quickly and with less waste than traditional synthesis methods.

  • Vitamin C or L-ascorbic acid is an important metabolite for most living organisms. In higher organisms, it is indispensable
    for different physiological functions and thus becomes an essential nutrient for animals (like humans) lacking its biosynthetic
    pathway.

Market

  • The global market for isoascorbic acid, ascorbic acid and citric acid is expected to reach $1.7 billion.

  • Prices of citric acid and of ascorbic acid are very close, or even below estimated production costs. This is a result of a downward spiral started with the market entry of Chinese producers offering these products at well below market prices. Chinese producers currently have a market share of 37 per cent in isoascorbic acid, 65 per cent in ascorbic acid and 34 per cent in citric acid.

  • Demand for Vitamin C in the world went on increasing, first at a slow rate, and then at a high rate - upto 10% per year.

  • The present world demand for Vitamin C is about 70,000 Tonnes per year.

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