This is the acid found in vinegar and has a characteristic pungent smell.
Acetic acid is widely used, particularly in the pickling industry. Naturally fermented vinegar has a variable pH and so acetic acid is added to this to form a pickling liquor with a specified acidity.It can also be used in confectionery goods and flavourings. The flavouring sodium diacetate is commonly known as 'salt 'n' vinegar' and is widely used in crisps. Acetic acid has excellent bacteriostatic properties and hence has considerable importance as a preservative.
Only acetic acid produced naturally by fermentation can legally be called vinegar. In Britain the main carbohydrate used is usually malt and so the vinegar it produces is called Malt Vinegar. Acetic acid can also be manufactured synthetically by various methods.
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