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Introduction - Chemistry of Food additives

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The different ranges of food additives have been used in the food industry, which includes both the types of natural and synthetic types of food additives. This process is a significantly upgraded version where additives have been used in the food. Different types of methods and different types of mechanisms have been used in this mechanism. Food additives are being used in the foods for the upgradation of taste and flavour; it also increases the freshness of the food. The main food additives that have been used in the foods are sugar, sodium chloride, sulfur dioxide etc. each type of food additives have been used for different types of foods like fish, meat, and some for alcohol preservatives. The use of all the food additives is done when only the application is needed at a technological level; the need may be in some other form like maintaining the nutrition level and helps in developing the value of food quality. Along with some beneficial food additives, there are some harmful food additives which may sound like that but not actually harmful, like "Sorbitan Monostearate", which acts as an emulsifier. Besides all that, there are really some ethical issues of food additives, especially in humans, because chemical sweetening agents, colouring products and preservatives are always harmful to them.

Food Additives

Food additives are basically used for the maintenance of the quality of food products which also increases the taste and flavour of the food. Food additives help in maintaining the level of nutrition of a particular food, and on the other hand, it also enhances the freshness of the food. Food additives can be of different types according to different food like sodium chloride can be used for the preservation of the fish, sugars can be added to juices and sodas to enhance the flavour of the fruit drinks, sulfur dioxide is used for the preservation of the wine and other types of alcohols (Faustino et al., 2019).

The use of additives is only justified when their use is a must; otherwise, unnecessary application of the additives may cause harm to people. Technically the additives have been used when the processing of the foods takes too long, and there is a part of the journey of purchasing or selling. There is a difference between the type of additives that are made on a large scale and home-based additives and preservatives (Mohammadzadeh-Aghdash et al., 2018).

  • The derivation of food additives can be from different types of sources like animals or plants. If the additives are not from natural sources, then obviously it has to be synthetic.
  • Often the use of the food additives has been taken for granted, which is basically made for some safety precautions. That is why some main categories of food additives have been made by health professionals, which can be termed as "Flavouring agents", "Preparations of enzymes", and some other types of additives (Primacella et al., 2018).

Role of Food Additives in Industry

The different types of food additives have an immense role in food security in the industry. The food additives have been used in those foods, which require a proper packaging time, delivery time and needs to be stored for some period of time.

  • The maximum number of food additives have been used for the increment of aroma, flavour and taste of the food through flavouring agents.
  • Some flavouring agents come from natural derivatives like vegetables which include some spices, oils and nuts. On the other hand, enzymes are a very crucial type of preservative, which is actually derived from reactions of animals and plants (Dankar et al., 2018).
  • The main function of the enzymes in the breakdown of molecules in some particular reaction is why it is not always applied in the final set.
  • The main types of food additives can be termed as "anti-caking agents", "Antioxidants", "Foaming agents", "Glazing agents", etc. 

The functions of the food additives are very crucial for the food companies in the industry because all types of foods should be maintained in a proper way. In order to gain success, the level of food quality should be high, and the nutrition level has to be maintained. The food businesses which have branches internationally should be aware of the quality of the food for a long time because the processing time is high, and for a successful business, the addition of proper preservatives and food additives gives a positive result (Iammarino et al., 2017).

Figure 1: Role of Food additives


There is always competition for any business in the market, so for the maintenance of competitiveness, the production of the best quality of foods is very necessary, and food additives are used for that.

  • For the friendlier nature of the customers, some food additives are forced to be removed by the workers in order to be familiar with the customers. Those additives are generally re-formulated for better functionality.
  • Some food products are sometimes implemented with some vitamins and proteins which are required in some special diets, and that is why it would be beneficial for those customers, and they will be keen to purchase those products which in turn will increase the selling rate of the products (Wilson et al., 2017).
  • "Thiamin mononitrate" is one such type of vitamin which is basically a synthetic vitamin of vitamin b1. To provide the best quality of products to customers, these kinds of elements should not be removed from food items which generally helps in removing any kind of technical challenge in the market (Dilberoglu et al., 2017). 
  • In order to check the food quality and effects of food additives on humans, some toxicological tests are always carried out before applying it. The tests are basically done on animals to check the level of toxicity. Only after the approval of non-toxicity, these additives are used in food products.
  • There is always a level of security for the application of any food additive or preservative. Modern research always values bothe the negative and positive data of any research, and in this case also f any test result shows that a particular preservative is harmful or toxic, then the data will be recorded, and the further elimination of that additive will be banned (Tuck et al., 2019).
  • It can be said that naturally occurring food additives are always safer than chemically-derived additives because they may cause certain reactions to human bodies which are not safe. One of the naturally occurring food additives would be MSG which is mostly found in "parmesan cheese"; this particular type of additive is also rich in tomato and sardines (Pressman et al., 2017). 
  • The chemically derived food additives have been seen to cause allergic reactions to the customers who have allergies, so it is sometimes risky to apply food additives in every food.
  • A major threat has been witnessed in this field since it causes some health risks. In some cases, customers have been diagnosed with a level of inappropriate digestive behaviour because of some mycobacterial reactions (Roca-Saavedra et al., 2018).
  • Even after the legalization of more than 300 additives of food, some sensitive customers are still diagnosed with some allergic and hypersensitivity disorders. These disorders may include symptoms like diarrhoea, nervous problems, insomnia, colicky pains.
  • The disorder level may also reach up to respiratory and skin problems. Customers have been diagnosed with asthma, sinusitis along with having some rashes, hives and swelling.
  • Also, there have been reports regarding the problems of the addition of food additives. These additives are "monosodium glutamate", which is basically a flavour enhancer, food colouring agents like "tartrazine 102", "Cochineal 120" and preservatives like "benzoates 210", different isotopes of nitrates and sulphites (Ediz, 2017).

Effect on Health

Side Effects

Ethical Issues

In order to avoid any type of ethical issues for any company, the company needs to focus on the application of food additives which are authorized by governments of food safety. A level of uniformity should be there in the authorizing bodies, and the main focus of them should be on the,

  • The technical need for the utilization of the food additives
  • Avoid sensitive additives
  • Avoid hazardous elements as additives (Marcelino et al., 2021).

The main three types of ethical issues that are faced by the food industries in the application of food additives.

  • The first one would be the sovereignty of consumers, where the activity of the consumers should be honest about the judgements of the food additives. In this case, the autonomy concept for sorting the issue is believed as "Consumer is the king", where the effect of any food is not believed until it is reviewed by the consumers.
  • Any risk regarding the additives may affect the consumers, which is another ethical issue regarding food additives. Generally, all junk foods contain a high level of chemical food additives. The "epidemiological data" and "Toxicological data" are the two main types of reports that are being considered in support of eliminating the risks of additives.
  • The evaluation of the acute effects on the animals which are done to test the efficiency and the toxicity of the additives, which will further help in generating the safety precautions (Dilberoglu et al., 2017).

Figure 2: Ethical issues of food additives


Introduction - Chemistry of Isomers

The three-dimensional effect of the molecules is the fascinating thing of organic chemistry, where the property of molecules depends on their structure. Each type of 3D molecule can change the position of the atoms and can be assembled in a different way. The different atomic models of one particular molecule are termed isomers. The isomers basically belong to the same formulas; the difference is just made by the atom arrangement. Each type of isomers has its own function, which is totally based on the position of atoms.

Types of Isomers

Depending on the position of atoms, there are different types of isomers present in organic chemistry.

Conformational Isomers

The simplest type of isomer is conformational isomers; they can also be termed as conformers. The basic model of this isomer is that the change only occurs for a single bond rotation. The orientation of the double and triple bonds are locked, but the rotation in single carbon is not locked, and it can freely occur in this isomer which mostly occurs in pentane (Jabri et al., 2019).

Structural Isomers

Constitutional isomers, popularly known as structural isomers, consists of similar molecular formulas, but they only differ in the position of one molecule. In the following structures of 2-methyl pentane and 3-methyl pentane, it can be seen the molecular formula of both are the same, but they only differ in structure by the position of the methyl group at number two and number three position of carbon, respectively (Liu et al., 2018). 

Figure: 2-methyl pentane


= 99 % | 96-14-0 | Sigma-Aldrich" v:shapes="image3.png">

Figure: 2-methyl pentane



The main point of the stereoisomers is the connectivity of the atoms. The connectivity of all the atoms is the same in the case of stereoisomers, while they have the difference in only 3D arrangement, unlike structural isomers (Ninnemann et al., 2019).

Geometric Isomers

Geometric isomers are developed when the position of atoms are different among isomers, but the structure of bonding is the same. This type of isomers is mainly observed in structures like "cis-2-butene" and "trans-2-butene". In case of cis-isomer, the position of two hydrogen molecule is on the same side, and the position of the two methyl groups are also on the same side of the carbon atoms. But in the case of trans isomers, the position of molecules of both hydrogen atom and methyl group have been reversed (, 2021).

Figure 3: structure of “cis-2-butene” and “trans-2-butene”


Optical Isomers

Stereoisomers which are different from geometric isomers can be termed "optical isomers", which means the isomers are optically similar. These isomers are generally different from each other by the position of a substitutes group, and depending on that; there are two terms of optical isomers, namely "enantiomers" and "diastereomers" (, 2021).

Role of Isomers in Pharmacy

There is a huge significance of isomers in the field of pharmaceutics and the drug industry because isomers have the capacity to change their structure and accordingly functions too, which in turn gives pharmacodynamic properties to the isomers (, 2021). The studies of isomers have shown some new path to the researchers in developing the isomers of some effective drugs which are already existing in the market. The effective versions of drugs have been developed where the chiral switch has happened. The efficiency of enantiomers is still being evaluated in the field of pharmaceuticals (Ninnemann et al., 2019).



Dankar, I., Haddarah, A., El Omar, F., Sepulcre, F. and Pujolà, M., 2018. Assessing the microstructural and rheological changes induced by food additives on potato puree. Food chemistry240, pp.304-313.

Dilberoglu, U.M., Gharehpapagh, B., Yaman, U. and Dolen, M., 2017. The role of additive manufacturing in the era of industry 4.0. Procedia Manufacturing11, pp.545-554.

Ediz, S., 2017. Predicting some physicochemical properties of octane isomers: A topological approach using ev-degree and ve-degree Zagreb indices. arXiv preprint arXiv:1701.02859.

Faustino, M., Veiga, M., Sousa, P., Costa, E.M., Silva, S. and Pintado, M., 2019. Agro-food byproducts as a new source of natural food additives. Molecules24(6), p.1056.

Iammarino, M., Marino, R. and Albenzio, M., 2017. How meaty? Detection and quantification of adulterants, foreign proteins and food additives in meat products. International Journal of Food Science & Technology52(4), pp.851-863.

Jabri, A., Fontanari, D., Roucou, A., Bray, C., Hindle, F., Dhont, G., Mouret, G., Bocquet, R. and Cuisset, A., 2019. Conformational landscape and inertial defect of methoxyphenol isomers studied by mm-wave spectroscopy and quantum chemistry calculations. The Journal of chemical physics150(10), p.104303.

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Marcelino, N., Tercero, B., Agúndez, M. and Cernicharo, J., 2021. A study of C4H3N isomers in TMC-1: line by line detection of HCCCH2CN. arXiv preprint arXiv:2101.08516.

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