Disodium EDTA vs. Sodium Citrate

What's the Difference?

Disodium EDTA and Sodium Citrate are both commonly used as food additives and preservatives. Disodium EDTA is a chelating agent that helps to prevent discoloration and maintain the texture of food products. It is also used in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. On the other hand, Sodium Citrate is a buffering agent and emulsifier that helps to regulate acidity and enhance the flavor of food products. It is commonly used in soft drinks, jams, and ice creams. While both additives serve different purposes, they are both effective in extending the shelf life of food products and improving their overall quality.


AttributeDisodium EDTASodium Citrate
Chemical FormulaNa2C10H14N2O8Na3C6H5O7
FunctionChelating agent, preservativeAnticoagulant, acidity regulator
UsageCommonly used in cosmetics, food, and pharmaceuticalsUsed in food and beverages, medical applications
SolubilitySoluble in waterSoluble in water

Further Detail


Disodium EDTA and Sodium Citrate are two commonly used food additives that serve similar purposes in various products. While both are used as preservatives and stabilizers, they have distinct attributes that make them suitable for different applications. In this article, we will compare the properties of Disodium EDTA and Sodium Citrate to understand their differences and similarities.

Chemical Structure

Disodium EDTA, also known as ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid disodium salt, is a chelating agent with the chemical formula C10H14N2Na2O8. It is derived from ethylenediamine, formaldehyde, and sodium cyanide. On the other hand, Sodium Citrate is the sodium salt of citric acid with the chemical formula C6H5Na3O7. It is produced by neutralizing citric acid with sodium hydroxide or sodium carbonate.


Both Disodium EDTA and Sodium Citrate are used as chelating agents in food and beverages. Chelating agents bind to metal ions to prevent oxidation and maintain product quality. Disodium EDTA is particularly effective in binding to calcium and magnesium ions, while Sodium Citrate is more efficient in binding to calcium ions. This difference in specificity makes them suitable for different applications.


Disodium EDTA is commonly used in processed foods, canned products, and beverages to prevent discoloration, maintain flavor stability, and extend shelf life. It is also used in personal care products and pharmaceuticals for its chelating properties. On the other hand, Sodium Citrate is widely used in dairy products, such as cheese and ice cream, to improve texture, prevent coagulation, and enhance flavor. It is also used as an emulsifier in certain food products.


Disodium EDTA is highly soluble in water, which makes it easy to incorporate into liquid formulations. Its solubility allows for uniform distribution in products and efficient chelation of metal ions. Sodium Citrate is also soluble in water, but its solubility may vary depending on the pH of the solution. In acidic conditions, Sodium Citrate may form insoluble salts, limiting its effectiveness as a chelating agent.

Regulatory Approval

Both Disodium EDTA and Sodium Citrate are approved for use as food additives by regulatory authorities, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in Europe. They are considered safe for consumption within specified limits and are subject to regular monitoring to ensure compliance with safety standards. However, some consumer advocacy groups have raised concerns about the long-term effects of these additives on human health.


The cost of Disodium EDTA and Sodium Citrate can vary depending on factors such as purity, source, and market demand. Disodium EDTA is generally more expensive than Sodium Citrate due to its complex manufacturing process and higher purity requirements. Sodium Citrate, being a simpler compound, is more cost-effective and widely available for use in various industries.


In conclusion, Disodium EDTA and Sodium Citrate are two versatile additives with distinct properties that make them suitable for different applications. While Disodium EDTA is preferred for its strong chelating properties and effectiveness in preventing oxidation, Sodium Citrate is valued for its ability to improve texture and flavor in dairy products. Understanding the differences between these additives is essential for selecting the right ingredient for specific formulations and achieving desired product outcomes.

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