Potassium sorbate is a chemical compound that is produced as a result of chemical reaction between potassium hydroxide and sorbic acid to produce a white, sometime yellowish crystalline powder. It is slightly acidic in nature with a ph of about 6.5. When mixed in water it forms a weak acids solution of sorbic acid.
1. Food Preserving
It is widely used as a chemical preservative. This property is attributed to its slightly acidic nature that prevents the growth of microorganisms and thus prolongs the shelf life. It is widely used in the packaging of canned fruits, vegetables, dairy products (cheese and yogurt), and meat products (beef ad fish).
2. Wine Making
Potassium sorbate is used as a finalizing preservative to retain the flavor and taste of the wine after the completion of final distillation and fermentation processes. This is because, wine is produced by fermentation of fruits (that are high in sugars) by yeast; however, even when the final taste is achieved, there is still yeast and some sugar left. Without potassium sorbate, the fermentation process may continue; thereby changing the taster of wine. Potassium sorbate is added to control and limit the excessive growth of yeast in the wine.
3. Personal Care Items
Enriched hair care and skin care products are always at risk of getting contaminated by the growth of fungi and molds; however, if chemical agents like potassium sorbate are added to the mixture, the fermentation process can be easily controlled and personal care products can be used for a longer period of time.
4. Other Commercial Uses
Potassium sorbate is also used for a variety of industrial processes like in pain industry, rubber and plastic industry and other commercial and synthetic manufacturing units.