Lemon pH: Is it Acidic or Basic?

Citrus limon is the scientific name for lemon. It is a Rutaceae family evergreen plant that is endemic to Asia. They’re commonly used for cleaning, cooking, and medicine.

Lemons contain citric acid, which gives them their sour flavour. It’s also a good source of vitamin C.

All parts of the lemon, including the pulp, peel, and even the tree’s leaves, are used to make a variety of dishes.

So, how acidic is lemon? Is lemon a basic or acidic fruit? Lemon has a pH of 2 to 3 on the pH scale, suggesting that it is acidic. We already know that a substance’s pH value represents its acidity or alkalinity. A substance with a pH value less than 7 is an acid, while one with a pH value more than 7 is an alkali. As the pH value drops further, the acidity rises, while the alkalinity rises as the pH rises.

Actually, pH stands for “potential of Hydrogen ions,” and the value for acid is determined by two factors: the acid’s strength, which is determined by its desire to give protons, and the acid’s concentration in a solution.

Lemon has a low pH, indicating that it is a weak acid.

However, because the pH scale is logarithmic, a pH value of 2-3 indicates that lemon is 10,000–100,000 times more acidic than neutral water.

Because it’s a weak acid, it acts as a buffer for stronger acids like hydrochloric acid.

According to a recent idea, lemon, despite being acidic, acts as an alkali inside the body once it has been entirely digested and burned by stomach acids.

What Causes Lemon Acidity?

Lemon’s acidic character is due to the presence of substantial levels of citric acid and ascorbic acid in its ingredients.

Citric acid is a weak organic acid that is responsible for the sourness and acidity of lemons.

Because it is acidic in nature and can cause considerable damage to the enamel layer of teeth, resulting in sensitivity and pain, it is recommended that concentrated lemon juice be consumed only after diluting it with water.

In lemon juice, the proportion of citric acid fluctuates between 6 and 8%. In addition, 100 mL of lemon juice has 34.8 mg of ascorbic acid.

Is it true that ripe lemons are more acidic?

Yes, ripe lemons have a higher acidity level than unripe lemons.

The acid level of the fruits often decreases as they ripen. This is due to the breakdown of acid molecules, which results in the formation of sugars like fructose.

This is why most fruits taste sour while they are unripe and sweeten as they ripen.

Lemons, on the other hand, are the polar opposite. In comparison to unripe lemons, as the lemon fruit ripens, it accumulates more citric acid, increasing its acidity and making it sourer.

Some people confuse the colour of a lemon with its acidity, believing that a green lemon is more acidic than a yellow lemon.

The green hue of raw lemons comes from the presence of chlorophyll, but the yellow colour of mature lemons comes from carotenoids like carotenes and cryptoxanthins and has no bearing on the acidity.

Types of Lemon

A variety of lemon kinds are grown all over the world, each with its own acidity and nutritional value.

The acidity of lemons is determined by a variety of additional elements, not just the species to which it belongs.

For example, lemons grown in colder climates are more acidic than those grown in warmer climates; nitrogen and potassium fertilisers may further raise the acidity of lemons; and the acidity of lemons may even vary between two fruits from the same plant depending on their position and curing procedure.

The following are some of the lemon types, along with their distinctive characteristics:

• Avalon lemon: These are extra-large lemons with a lot of liquid, making them great for juicing. They have a pleasantly sweet flavour and are typically sold in a mixture with other fruit concentrates.

• Pink-fleshed lemons: As the name implies, these lemons have pink pulp.

They are yellow with green stripes on the outside. They are often utilised as decorative plants because of their lovely foliage.

• Verna lemon: This kind can withstand a wide range of temperatures. The fruit is bright yellow in colour, medium in size, and only has a few seeds.

• Fino lemon: This cultivar is also known as primofiori lemon. Because the fruit is very juicy and acidic, it cannot be eaten raw and is only used in cooking.

• Bearss lemon: This is the commercial lemon cultivar. It’s known for its speedy growth and thornless branches.

• Dorshapo lemon: This is a sweet lemon cultivar that may even be eaten uncooked. Even after ripening, the fruit peel remains green.

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• Lisbon lemon: Dark green foliage and vivid yellow fruits distinguish this variety.

They can be found in supermarkets throughout the area. The fruit is enormous in size and has a lot of juice.

• Baboon lemon: This sour, thick-skinned fruit has a thick skin.

• Genoa lemon: This type grows as a shrub rather than a bush in cooler areas. It is a popular ornamental plant because to its lush leaves.

• Ponderosa lemon: It’s a cross between a citron and a lemon, thus it’s not a true lemon. It produces purple flowers and fruit that can weigh up to 5 pounds.

• Volkamer lemon is a cross between an orange and a lemon. It is not cultivated on a large scale for commercial purposes. It also has a peculiar flavour and a low acidity.

• Meyer lemon: It’s a cross between a mandarin orange and a lemon. It’s a disease-resistant and insect-resistant dwarf tree.

Which lemon or lime is more acidic?

Although the phrases lime and lemon are interchangeable, most people are unaware that they are two distinct fruits.

Citrus limon is the scientific name for lemon, while Citrus Aurantifolia is the name for lime.

To distinguish the two, the lime is naturally green in colour and has a sourer flavour, whilst the lemon turns yellow as it ripens and has a milder flavour.

Lime has a lower pH than lemon and, as a result, is more acidic. Although the pH difference is modest, it can easily be overlooked under normal circumstances.

These two fruits are employed for diverse purposes in the food business due to their different qualities, particularly in the creation of cocktails and mocktails.

Both of these foods are high in antioxidants and are thought to be beneficial to humans.

Citric Acid is a type of acid that is used to

Citric acid is responsible for the sour flavour and acidic quality of lemon, lime, and other citrus fruits.

It appears as colourless, odourless crystals with a sour flavour.

It is a tricarboxylic acid known as Propane-1,2,3-tricarboxylic acid, which has the chemical formula CH2COOH-C(OH)COOH-CH2COOH or C6H8O7 in its anhydrous state.

It is soluble in both water and alcohol due to the presence of the carboxyl group.

Citric acid is employed in the manufacture of several therapeutic products due to its antioxidant characteristics.

It’s also utilised as a preservative because it helps to keep active substances stable. It also acts as a calcium chelating agent, making it an anticoagulant for the blood.

Properties

Lemons are a popular fruit that is grown all over the world. Lemons are said to have a slew of health benefits.

100 gm lemon has 29 kcal (121 kJ), 89 percent water, 1.1 gm protein, 9.3 gm carbohydrates, 2.5 gm sugar, 2.8 gm fibre, and 0.3 gm fat in terms of nutrition.

Apart from that, the following are some of the most important characteristics of lemon:

• Lemons have a lot of citric acid and ascorbic acid in them.

• They are high in fibre and minerals including iron, calcium, and magnesium.

• It is also high in vitamins including riboflavin, thiamin, and pantothenic acid.

• It contains a lot of antioxidants and essential oils.

• It possesses antibacterial qualities that are natural.

• Lemons have a lot of folate in them.

Uses

Due to its wonderful characteristics, lemon is employed for a multitude of applications. The following are some of its applications:

• It’s used in marmalades, lemon curd, and a variety of other drinks.

• Lemon oil is also used in the cosmetics industry.

• Pectin, a soluble fibre found in both the pulp and the peel of lemons, is believed to assist digestion.

• Lemon juice mixed with water has been shown to aid in weight loss.

• Lemon’s high anti-oxidant content aids in immune enhancement.

• Lemon is an excellent source of vitamin C.

Conclusion

Lemon has a slightly acidic taste to it. It has a pH range of 2 to 3 and is acidic.

Lemon’s main ingredients, citric acid and ascorbic acid, contribute to its acidity.

Lemon juice contains 6-8 percent citric acid and 34.8 gramme of ascorbic acid per 100 mL.

Due to the concentration of citric acid, ripe lemons are more acidic than fresh lemons, making them sourer.

Good luck with your studies!!

Read more: Is Titanium a Magnetic Material?

Misha Khatri
Misha Khatri is an emeritus professor in the University of Notre Dame's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. He graduated from Northern Illinois University with a BSc in Chemistry and Mathematics and a PhD in Physical Analytical Chemistry from the University of Utah.

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