chapter  17
Organic Acids
Pages 30

Because they play a pivotal role in maintaining the

quality and nutritional value of a variety of foods,

organic acids are among the most frequently assayed

substances in this type of substrate. The organic acids

present in foods originate from biochemical processes;

from their addition as acidulants, stabilizers, or

preservatives; or from the activity of some microor-

ganisms (particularly yeasts and bacteria). They con-

tribute to the sensory properties of foods. In fact, the

role of organic acids in the taste and aroma of

alcoholic beverages is well documented (1); the sour,

sharp, and irritating flavors of cider are ascribed to

lactic acid, total acidity, and acetic acid, respectively.

Malic and acetic acids bear a negative though signifi-

cant correlation to sweet taste and scented flavors;

also, they taste equiacidic with solutions containing

sucrose (e.g., 0.7% D-tartaric acid with a 0.8%

concentration of this acid plus 2% sucrose) (2).

Acetic acid and the global hedonic score for fermented

beverages also bear a significant negative mutual

correlation. Organic acids may exhibit other sensory properties.

For example, citric acid possesses sour-and-sweet

sensory notes, and succinic acid has a salty-bitter

taste. On the other hand, the typical taste and flavor of

Emmental cheese can be ascribed to propionic acid and