GMO COMPASS - Information on genetically modified organisms
  Jul 4, 2015 | 3:33 pm
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Citric acid


E 330 | Antioxidant
Possible application of gene technology Labelling
Producible with the help of GM microorganisms no
Growth medium: primary products GM maize no



Citric acid is widespread in nature. It is found in many fruits, especially in lemons, but also in cow milk. It forms water-soluble crystals.

  • Various sodium, potassium and calcium salts of citric acid are approved as additives (E 331, E 332, E 333).


Citric acid is widely used as an antioxidant- and as an acidifier in:

Gene technology

Citric acid was the first additive that was produced on a large scale biotechnically. The classic method used the metabolic power of certain fungi (Aspergillus niger).

  • Research has been undertaken with genetically modified Aspergillus niger to obtain higher yields. It is possible that these methods are already used commercially.
  • Irrespective of possible gene modifications, citric acid-producing microorganisms grow on culture media that usually contain molasses (sugar beet)) and/or glucose. Glucose can be produced form maize starch. This can be derived from GM maize.

Labelling: Additives that are produced in a closed system with the help of genetically modified microorganisms do not have to be declared, providing that the specific additive has been purified and contains no microorganisms.

Even if the microorganisms used contain substrates derived from genetically modified plants, it is not necessary for this to be declared.


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