What Is Citral Used for?

Sep. 26, 2022


Citral (C 10 H 16 O), also known as 3,7-dimethyl-2,6-octadiene aldehyde, is a pale yellow liquid with a strong lemon odor, found in plant essential oils. It is insoluble in water and soluble in ethanol (ethyl alcohol), ether, and mineral oil. It is used in the manufacture of perfumes and flavorings as well as other chemicals. Chemically, citral is a mixture of two aldehydes with the same molecular formula but different structures.

Lemongrass oil contains 70-80% citral and can be isolated by distillation. Other natural sources include verbena and lemongrass oils. Citral can be synthesized from lauric acid. Violetone and methyl violetone, made from citral, are used in perfumery. Citral (3,7-dimethyl-2,6-octadiene aldehyde) is an unsaturated aldehyde that is widely known and favored for its unique, acceptable, and pleasant lemon-like odor. Citral is the main component of citrus fruit peel oil.

Where can I find citral?

Citral is present in the oils of several plants, including Lemon mahogany (90-98%), Lycium barbarum (90%), Sorrel (70-85%), Lemongrass (65-85%), Lemon tea tree (70 -80%), Ocimum gratissimum (66.5%), Lindera citriodora (ca. 65%), Calypranthes parriculata (ca. 62%), bitter orange leaf (36%), lemon verbena (30-35%), lemon ironbark (26%), lemon balm (11%), lime (6-9%), lemon (2-5%) and orange.



It is particularly present in orange peel. Citral is a mixture of nerolides and geraniol, which are monoterpene aldehydes ( Maarse, 1991 ). Citral is used as a natural ingredient in foods, cosmetics, and beverages for its strong lemon aroma and flavor. Essential oils containing citral have been shown to have antibacterial, antifungal, and antiparasitic properties, making citral a natural preservative.

Uses of Citral

The two isomers of citral form the bulk of citrus aldehyde oil. Citral is separated from the oil by fractional distillation and is used as a raw material for the synthesis of many important industrial products. Citral has a citrus flavor. Geraniol, linalool, and citronellol are the most important acyclic terpene alcohols that can be isolated from citronella oil and used as flavoring agents. In flavor compositions, geraniol is used in small amounts to accentuate citrus flavors. Orange blossom is used in citrus-scented bouquets. Citronellol is also added to citrus compositions for bouquet purposes. Pinene is an important raw material for the flavor and fragrance industry.



Citral has a strong lemon (citrus) odor and is used as an aromatic compound in perfumes. (Neroli oil is another fragrance compound with a less intense but sweeter lemon scent.) In addition, citral is used as a flavoring agent and to fortify lemon oil. It also has strong antibacterial properties and pheromone action against mites and insects. Citral is an important natural flavoring agent and is a natural additive used in beverages, foods, and cosmetics. The strong lemon odor of citral has made it a popular additive in various detergents, foods, and cosmetics. Citral is used in the synthesis of vitamin A, lycopene, violation, and methyl violetone to mask the smell of smoke.

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