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What is Fumaric Acid

Fumaric acid is a compound with the chemical formula HO2CCH=CHCO2H and the CAS Number 110-17-8. It is also referred to as trans-butenedioic acid, and its preferred IUPAC name is (2E)-But-2-enedioic acid. It has a white crystalline form and occurs in the natural world. It is key to organic acid biosynthesis in mammals and plays a critical role in plant life, and it can be naturally found in abundance in Iceland moss, lichen, and bolete mushrooms.

When it comes to sourness and titratable acidity — or TA — fumaric acid is one of the strongest food acids available. Its uses as an additive span the manufacture of everything from pie fillings and animal feed to medicines and even cleaning agents for bath salts and dentures.

Buy fumaric acid, as well as other food grade ingredients, from Brenntag North America. We have GFSI-certified warehousing and offer tailor-made supply chain solutions, and we are committed to food safety and traceability. For on-time delivery of all the high-quality products you need.

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Industries That Commonly Use Fumaric Acid

Due to the ingredient's fruit-like flavor, food manufacturers have used fumaric acid as a food acidulant since the 1940s. It is an approved food additive in the U.S., the E.U., Australia, and New Zealand and is distinguished by the E number E297. It is commonly used as a food acidity regulator.

Fumaric acid is added to beverages such as beer, hard cider, spirits, wine, and low-alcohol drinks, as well as dairy-based products such as condensed milk, chocolate milk, eggnog, and cocoa. Many cheese products and dairy-based desserts contain the compound. It is also added to various processed vegetables and fruits — including the canned, dried, cooked, and frozen versions. Candies, baked goods, breakfast cereals, snack foods, and pre-cooked pasta also often contain fumaric acid, as do processed meats, canned meats, soups, and broths.

Fumaric acid is also used in products that have to meet specific purity requirements, such as baking powders. In addition, its preservative and acidic characteristics aid in the baking of wheat tortillas. It can be used like malic acid to substitute both citric acid and tartaric acid when sourness needs to be added to a product. Furthermore, it is an ingredient in various artificial vinegar flavors and can be used as a coagulant for certain food mixes.


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The medical field has found that the ester dimethyl fumarate has remarkable benefits for people who suffer from severe multiple sclerosis. In a phase three trial, it significantly reduced disability progression as well as relapses. This quality is due to the fact that the ester activates the pathway that is primarily responsible at a cellular level for defense against oxidative stress. In addition, the compound is thought to be beneficial in the treatment of psoriasis, although further research is needed to definitively prove its effects.

Fumaric acid is used as a mordant for colorants as well as in the manufacture of polyhydric alcohols and polyester resins. Due to its mechanical and adhesive-promoting properties as well as its comparatively low toxicity, it was utilized to create one of the earliest metal-organic frameworks for commercial use.

Chemical Property Information for Fumaric Acid

Fumaric acid — also known as trans-butenedioic acid — is a vital ingredient in plants, and it is produced by the human skin when the skin is exposed to natural sunlight. It serves as an important intermediate for the biosynthesis of organic acids during the tricarboxylic acid cycle that occurs in mammals, including humans.

This ingredient is highly versatile when used as a food grade additive since it can regulate pH levels without adding undue sourness. Also, thanks to its strength and molecular light weight, less of it is needed than other acids, which brings down costs for producers buying it by the unit.

Contact Brenntag North America for your Fumaric Acid Needs

Whether you work as a food scientist, procurement professional, or a Research & Development professional, Brenntag North America can help when you are in the market for fumaric acid distributors.

As a global leader in distribution with a network that spans 74 countries with more than 500 locations and a portfolio of more than 10,000 products, we are your one-stop source for all food grade ingredient needs.

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