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Increasing usage of Fumaric Acid

Published Date : June 06, 2018


Fumaric acid is popularly known for its usage in the treatment of psoriasis and in the manufacturing of baking powder and beverages. They are also employed in the making of pudding mixes, as coagulants. Fumaric acid chemically is one of the two isomeric unsaturated dicarboxylic acids. The other isomeric compound is maleic acid. Fumaric acid possesses fruit like taste and has a white crystalline structure and is also known to be as trans-butenedioic acid. They are rampant due to their beneficial properties. Their robust properties encompass anti-hepatocarcinogenic, anti-tumor, anti-dermatitic and anti-oxidant related properties.

Synthesis methodologies:

The initial production of fumaric acid was carried out with the aid of succinic acids as precursors. The catalytic isomerisation of maleic acid yields fumaric acid and is the most prevalent industrial synthesis procedure. Fumaric acid compounds were traditionally synthesized through the oxidation of furfural in the presence of vanadium based catalyst using chlorate. The functional group components of fumaric acid usually determine the properties of fumaric acid. Fumaric acid is generally pondered a weak acid and is an exceptional dienophile for it undergoes addition reactions across the double bonds present.

Biological sources and production:

The natural sources of fumaric acid include lichen, Iceland moss, fumitory and bolete. Humans have the capability of producing fumaric acid when exposed to sunlight. The other ways of production include the oxidation of succinate using the enzyme succinate dehydrogenase. However, the previously mentioned production methodology yields the intermediate compound fumarate which will be consequently converted to malate using the enzyme fumarase. The intermediate compound fumarate could be procured from citric acid cycle employed by cells to furnish energy from food in the form of ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate). They could also be obtained from urea cycle.

Robust usage in food industry:

Fumaric acid has been consistently used as a food additive and also as an acidity regulator. Consequently, they find extensive application in the manufacturing of powders and beverages in baking industries. However, they are employed solely based upon their levels of purity. They furnish very little amount of sourness and are subsequently used as replacers of citric acid and tartaric acid at times. They are implicated in the food items that require artificial flavoring procedures like flavored potato chips.

Medicinal Applications:

Fumaric acid finds considerable importance in medicinal field as well. They are employed for their activation of Nrf2 antioxidants as in the cases of patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. They are also used in the treatment of psoriasis. This is due to the immunosuppressant properties exhibited by various fumaric acid esters. However, the reasons predicted for the effectiveness of the treatment encompassing the fumaric acid compounds are not sturdy enough. The herb called Fumaria Officinalis consists of the fumaric acid compound naturally and is used in the treatment of various skin related disorders.