Trisodium citrate has the chemical formula of Na3C6H5O7. It is sometimes referred to simply as sodium citrate, though sodium citrate can refer to any of the three sodium salts of citric acid. It possesses a saline, mildly tart flavor. It is mildly basic and can be used along with citric acid to make biologically compatible buffers.
Sodium citrate is chiefly used as a food additive, usually for flavor or as a preservative. Its E number is E331. Sodium citrate is employed as a flavoring agent in certain varieties of club soda. Sodium citrate is common as an ingredient in Bratwurst, and is also used in commercial ready to drink beverages and drink mixes, contributing a tart flavor. It is found in ice-cream, jams, sweets, milk powder, processed cheeses, carbonated beverages, and wine.
As a conjugate base of a weak acid, citrate can perform as a buffering agent or acidity regulator, resisting changes in pH. Sodium citrate is used to control acidity in some substances, such as gelatin desserts.
Sodium citrate is a particularly effective agent for removal of carbonate scale from boilers without removing them from operation and for cleaning automobile radiators.