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Sodium propionate

Chemical Formula:


Sodium propanoate


White crystalline solid or powder.


Sodium propionate is used in bakery products as a mold inhibitor.

Propionates prevent microbes from producing the energy they need, like benzoates do. However, unlike benzoates, propionates do not require an acidic environment.

Calcium propionate is often preferred as an anti-fungal agent, to reduce sodium levels in the diet, but also because calcium ions are necessary for the enzyme α-amylase to act on the starches in bread, making them available for the yeast, and improving the texture of the bread. Stale bread is caused by the starch amylose recrystallizing. The enzyme α-amylase converts some of this starch to sugars, preventing the recrystallization.

sodium propionate: InChI=1/C3H6O2.Na/c1-2-3(4)5;/h2H2,1H3,(H,4,5);/q;+1/p-1/fC3H5O2.Na/q-1;m

calcium propionate: InChI=1/2C3H6O2.Ca/c2*1-2-3(4)5;/h2*2H2,1H3,(H,4,5);/q;;+2/p-2/f2C3H5O2.Ca/q2*-1;m

sodium benzoate: InChI=1/C7H6O2.Na/c8-7(9)6-4-2-1-3-5-6;/h1-5H,(H,8,9);/q;+1/p-1/fC7H5O2.Na/q-1;m

By Simon Quellen Field
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