Oranges are an excellent source of citric acid and ascorbic acid. Ascorbic acid, also known as Vitamin C, plays many roles in human metabolic processes. Citric acid plays more roles in food preservative processes and plays basic roles in the metabolic process of every living thing. The citric acid also benefits humans by improving the taste of oranges and breaking down kidney stones. Citric acid also plays a lot of roles in the orange, since most chemicals produced within a fruit are created for the benefit of that fruit. These roles help preserve the orange so that it can be consumed by animals that can distribute the orange's seeds.
Citric acid is a natural preservative, which allows the orange to remain alive and edible for a long period of time. Citric acid is effective in fighting bacteria. Bacteria cause oranges to be more vulnerable to disease when they are hanging from the orange tree. Oranges are exposed to a variety of harmful microorganisms and must remain edible so that animals will consume the orange and distribute its seeds.
Citric acid is made out of carbon dioxide, which is released when citric acid is heated, according to JT Baker. Carbon dioxide is one of the most common elemental compounds absorbed by plants.
Citric acid is sometimes added to oranges and orange juice to increase tartness, according to Enotes. Therefore, citric acid is not only a normal occurrence within oranges but is also the result of food manufacturing processes.
Citric Acid Cycle
The citric acid cycle is a series of chemical reactions necessary for all life forms. The citric acid cycle occurs in the mitochondrion, which is an organ contained within every cell of the plant, according to Clackamas Community College. Citric acid is used to oxidize acetyl-CoA that is collected from fats, carbohydrates and lipids. This oxidation turns these stored materials into carbon dioxide, according to What is Life.
The citric acid plays a role in relieving oxidative stress, according to APAC Chemical. The citric acid also helps the orange tree regulate pH levels so that the tree can have an easier time absorbing nutrients from the soil.
Oranges have color and flavor that tends to deteriorate over time, though the citric acid is capable of inhibiting this. Citric acid is an odorless substance. Therefore, the citric acid does not have any affect on the smell of oranges, which allows oranges to maintain a sweet smell, which can attract animals that distribute seeds.