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Sorbic acid skeletal

Sorbic acid.

Sorbic acid (E200) or 2,4-hexadienoic acid, is a naturally ocurring organic compound with the molecular formula C6H8O2. Sorbic acid and its salts such as sodium sorbate, potassium sorbate and calcium sorbate are used as preservatives in food and drinks to prevent the growth of mold, yeast and fungi. The salts are generally preferred over the acid form as they are more soluble in water and potassium sorbate is the most common, where it is often referred to as Sorbistat-K.
Foods it is commonly found in include candied peel, cheese, cider, concentrated fruit juice, dessert sauces, dried apricots, fillings and toppings, fermented milks, frozen pizzas, fruit salads, gelatin capsules, glacé cherries, jams and preserves, margarine, pickled cucumber, processed cheese spreads and slices, salad dressing, seafood dressings, soft drinks, soup concentrates, sweets, table olives, tinned fruit pie fillings, wine and yoghurt.[1].
Sorbic acid itself (E200) is a possible skin irritant, although the salts themselves (E201,E202 and E203) have no known adverse effects.

Sodium sorbate (E201)[]

The sodium salt of sorbic acid.
IUPAC name: "sodium (2E,4E)-hexa-2,4-dienoate"
Molecular formula: NaC6H7O2.

Potassium sorbate (E202)[]

The potassium salt of sorbic acid, also known as Sorbistat-K and Sorbistat potassium.
IUPAC name: "Potassium (2E,4E)-hexa-2,4-dienoate"
Molecular formula: KC6H7O2.

Calcium sorbate (E203)[]

The calcium salt of sorbic acid.
IUPAC name: "Calcium (2E,4E)-hexa-2,4-dienoate"
Molecular formula: Ca(C6H7O2)2.


  1. Template:Citation/make link. UK Food Guide.