Food acidulants are categorized either as general purpose acids or as specialty acids (1). General purpose acids are those that have a broad range of functions and can be used in most foods where acidity is desired or necessary. Specialty acids are those that are limited in their functionality and/or range of application.

Citric acid and malic acid are the predominant general purpose acidulants with tartaric and fumaric acids. Fu-maric acid is included in this category even though its low solubility limits its potential range of application. However, it is used in popular and widely consumed food products.

All other acidulants fall into the specialty acid category. The most commonly used specialty acids are acetic acid (vinegar), cream of tartar (potassium acid tartrate), phosphoric acid, glucono-delta-lactone, acid phosphate salts, lactic acid, and adipic acid.

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