What are the Applications of Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)?

April 23, 2018 10:16 am Published by

Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) is a popular food additive and ingredient used in a wide variety of applications. Naturally found in vegetables and citrus fruits, ascorbic acid is an essential nutrient in human diets.

In addition to its health and nutrition uses, ascorbic acid is useful in a number of commercial environments such as water treatment plants, beverages and bakeries.

Find out more about the applications of ascorbic acid, and how choosing the right chemical solutions partner to not only supply your ascorbic acid, but provide you with a high level of technical support to optimise your production operations.

Appearance of Ascorbic Acid

At MegaChem (UK), we supply a powdered version of ascorbic acid in volumes to suit your operation. Our ascorbic acid has a white or light yellow appearance and is solid but naturally soluble in water, the acid has a sour taste and is completely safe for human consumption within recommended intake levels.

Commercial Applications of Ascorbic Acid


In bakeries, ascorbic acid is used as an additive which is either added directly to the flour by the miller, or to the dough itself by the bakery.

Absorbic acid is generally used in bread due to its properties that help extend shelf life, high profile industrial bakers such as Hovis and Kingsmill both use ascorbic acid in the majority of their loaves. When used as part of the baking process, ascorbic acid contributes to a number of improvements to the loaf including:

  • Strengthened gluten.
  • Greater loaf volume meaning the loaf doesn’t squash as easily.
  • Finer crumb and higher tenderness of the crumb.
  • Reduction of crust thickness.
  • Faster rising loaf for quicker baking.

Using ascorbic acid in an industrial bakery can contribute to higher profit yields, lower production times and higher buyer satisfaction (longer shelf life, reduced number of damaged loaves during transport.).

Ascorbic acid use in industrial bakery


During the processing of beverages such as fruit juices, fruits are crushed, strained, pulped and filtered. Unfortunately, this intense process destroys a lot of the naturally occurring vitamin C found within the fruits; a key selling point that consumers look for when buying fruit juice.

Manufacturers of fruit juices and other drinks products may use ascorbic acids within their products as a natural additive. The acid is used to either renew or improve the overall nutritional value of the beverage without impacting on the taste.

Ascorbic acid use in beverage processing

Fruit Processing

When fruit is exposed to oxygen, the process of oxidation starts, causing browning to the fruit – fruit that becomes brown will have to be discarded or it may be rejected by buyers.

The use of ascorbic acid in these environments slows down this oxidation process, due to its low PH. Used as a natural ingredient preservative, ascorbic acid can prevent browning, reduce the risk of mould and other microbial growth and ultimately, preserve the freshness of the product.

Fruit processing plant using ascorbic acid


Similar to its application in fruit processing, ascorbic acid’s primary use in meat environments is to prevent oxidation.

When meat oxidises, it begins to turn brown. Whilst this meat is generally safe to eat, many supermarkets, restaurants, butchers and other establishments that sell meat will not accept it in this condition.

Using ascorbic acid as a preservative delays the oxidation process, keeping the meat looking fresh and more appealing to consumers.

At MegaChem (UK), we supply ascorbic acid that is BRC certified and also suitable for use in the preparation of Halal and Kosher meats.

Meat kept fresh with ascorbic acid

Water Treatment

Water treatment plants use chlorine to remove bacteria from water supplies. Whilst this is an effective neutraliser of bacteria and makes water safe to drink, the chlorine solution that is discharged following treatment of the water can poison streams and disturb aquatic life.

The most popular method of ‘passive’ dechlorination is to leave the water in an open container and wait for the air and sunlight to naturally dissipate the chlorine over time. This method is time consuming and not feasible in a large scale operation.

Ascorbic acid is an effective chemical method for neutralising chlorine that is becoming utilised more and more frequently, being just as effective and much safer than other methods of chemical dechlorination through the use of sulfur-based chemicals.

Using ascorbic acid combined with sodium ascorbate for this purpose will make chlorinated water safe enough to release into streams without affecting the environment.

Water treatment plant using ascorbic acid

Health and Nutrition

The most common and popular use of vitamin C is through supplements. These supplements often come in powder or tablet form and are used to protect cells, maintain healthy skin and increase recovery time from colds, flu and other similar illnesses.

With people more conscious of their health and solutions more affordable and readily available, the use of vitamin C supplements has increased vastly.

Research conducted by the Health Food Manufacturer’s Association in 2016 revealed around 27% of Brits take vitamin C regularly; making them the 3rd most popular supplement behind multivitamins (which often contain vitamin C) and fish supplements.

Your Complete Chemical Solutions Partner

At Megachem (UK), we are committed to providing high quality powdered ascorbic acid in volumes to suit your operation. We generally supply ascorbic acid in volumes of 1000kg per pallet or 25kg per package. We also have an expert technical team on hand to give you advice on any aspect of your application. Give us a call today on + 44 (0) 1291 422747 to find out how we can help.

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This post was written by Jack Rowland

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