How can I make a citric acid solution not taste sour and be drinkable?

Discussion in 'Chemistry' started by NeroBorsen, Feb 12, 2013.

  1. NeroBorsen Registered Member

    I need help to make a citric acid solution in water taste-free or at least not sour.
    I understand that it is the Oxonium ions formed in aqueous solution that provides the sour taste.
    I wonder if there is any substance that causes the sour taste to cease? The fluid should be drinkable ie I should be able to drink it without it being harmful in any way.
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  3. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

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  5. NeroBorsen Registered Member

    Thank you very much!!

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  7. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Back in my days at an all-male university, on Saturday nights when girls from the nearby coed or all-female colleges came over to our dances, we mixed up a brew called "geology punch." It had nothing to do with geology, except that it was a geology major who came up with the idea.

    It started out as a punch made from citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, tangerines, cumquats, limes, etc.) heavily spiked with various kinds of hard liquor. Then we'd add a couple of bottles of pure ethyl alcohol from the chemistry department to make it even stronger. (151 or 180-proof rum will work just as well and it's sold in liquor stores.) Then, from the same poorly-guarded locker, we'd add a couple of bottles of pure citric acid.

    The H radicals from the acid combined with the OH radicals from the alcohol (which is essentially the organic analog of an inorganic alkaline compound), largely canceling out the flavor of both the alcohol and the citric acid (from the citrus fruits themselves and from the additional pure chemical).

    The result was not necessarily delicious but it was drinkable--which was all anybody was looking for in those days when it wasn't easy for minors to obtain anything stronger than beer. (This was California; in some other states the legal drinking age was 18). And it didn't taste like as strong a concoction as it was, so everybody got nice and drunk.

    Surely the chemistry department monitors were onto us because they had to keep restocking the alcohol and citric acid supplies. But they had been undergraduates once so apparently they just chuckled and let us have our fun.
  8. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Normally one adds sugar to desserts containing lemon juice. Seems to work.......

    Actually I would be very interested to know WHY this works. Clearly sucrose - or other sugars - do not neutralise the acids responsible for the sour taste in fruit. Is it simply that molecules with lots of -OH groups can be protonated: R-OH + H⁺ <-> R-OH₂⁺ , thereby reducing the ambient level of H₃O⁺? I had always thought this would not be a strong enough effect to explain it and that instead there had to be some biochemical process involving the "fooling" of the taste buds in the tongue. After all, although sugars contains lots of -OH groups, polysaccharides such as starch also do and yet these don't have the same effect at counteracting a sour taste....Hmm.

    Can any reader refer me to a source that explains this?
  9. arauca Banned Banned


    If you want Citrate ions then instead using Citric acid use Sodium or potassium Citrate, Now if you want to reduce the sour tast ad some Bi Carbonate.
  10. arauca Banned Banned

    The study, featured on the cover of the August 24 issue of the journal Nature, reports that each of the five basic tastes is detected by distinct taste receptors—proteins that detect taste molecules—in distinct cells. The team previously discovered the sweet, bitter and umami (savory) receptors and showed that they are found in separate cells, but some researchers have argued that sour and salty tastes, which depend on the detection of ions, would not be wired in the same way.

    “Our results show that each of the five basic taste qualities is exquisitely segregated into different taste cells” explained Charles Zuker, a professor of biology at UCSD and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, who headed the study. “Taken together, our work has also shown that all taste qualities are found in all areas of the tongue, in contrast with the popular view that different tastes map to different areas of the tongue.”

    To determine if the taste cells and receptors for sour were separate from the receptors for the other basic tastes, the researchers tested mice in which they had genetically ablated the cells containing the sour taste receptors. The mice could not taste sour, but had completely normal sweet, bitter, umami and salty tastes. Therefore, although the salt taste receptor has not yet been discovered, it and the four identified receptors must each be segregated into distinct taste cells.

    In addition to being found in the taste buds, the researchers discovered that the sour protein receptor, PKD2L1, is also found along the entire length of the spinal cord in nerve cells that surround and reach into the central canal. Because sourness is a reflection of the acidity, or the pH of a solution, the researchers suspected that the spinal neurons with PKD2L1 might be responsible for monitoring the pH of the cerebrospinal fluid.

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