Citral is an aroma chemical widely used in the flavor and fragrance industry. The chemical name of citral is 3,7-dimethyl-2,6-octadienal. It is a characteristic constituent of oils in lemon and Litsea cubeba. This chemical offers a citrus, fruity, green note. Citral is an important starting material for the chemical synthesis of linear monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, and diterpenes. It is a valuable intermediate for the synthesis of odorants, terpinoids, and vitamins.
The global citral market can be segmented based on type and application. In terms of type, the citral market can be classified into natural citral and synthetic citral. Citral obtained from natural sources is called natural citral, whereas citral producted chemically in laboratories is called synthetic citral. Natural citral is more expensive compared to synthetic citral. Synthetic citral is produced from isobutylene, to which formaldehyde is added to form isoprenol. Citral can also be produced from isoprene.
Based on application, the citral market can be segmented into fragrance, flavor, and synthesis of vitamin A and E. The fragrance segment can be further divided into cosmetics, detergents, perfumes, personal care products, and cleaners. The flavor segment can be further categorized into confectionery, beverages, etc. BASF SE had first synthesized vitamin A using a Reformatsky reaction between b-ionone 2 and a propargyl bromide. Ionone is prepared from citral.
Citral is a mixture of two geometric isomers namely geranial (trans confirmation, approx. 55%-70%) and neral (cis confirmation, 35%-45%). Citral is readily biodegradable and is rapidly decomposed at a pH between 4 and 9, but slowly decomposed at a pH of 7. This chemical is regulated for labelling for leave-on and rinse-off products. The International Fragrance Association’s (IFRA) restrictions for citral currently given in the Inventory part II, is ‘Only in conjunction with 25% its weight of D-limonene or mixed with citrus terpenes or α-pinene.’
Expansion in the global citral market is driven by the rise in demand for perfumed consumer goods and increase in disposable income of individuals. A factor restraining the global citral market is regulations controlling the flavor and fragrance industry globally. IFRA recommends that any material used to impart perfume or flavor in products intended for human ingestion should consist of ingredients that are in compliance with appropriate regulations for foods and food flavorings in the countries of planned distribution. The countries where these regulations do not exist, should consider the recommendations laid down in the Code of Practice of the International Organization of the Flavor Industry (IOFI). Since this chemical is used in food products, citral producers need to keep a watch on the purity of the product. For example the U.S. EPA regulates citral as one of the synthetic flavoring substances and adjuvants that are generally recognized as safe for their intended use, within the Code of Federal Regulations Title 21 Act. The European Chemicals Agency also has citral under the harmonized classification and labelling (CLP00) as citral can cause skin irritation and may cause an allergic reaction on the skin.
Asia Pacific dominated the global citral market in 2017 due to demand for this product for use in cosmetics, detergents, perfumes, personal care products, and cleaners in the region. The citral market in Asia Pacific is anticipated to expand at a rapid CAGR. In terms of market share, Asia Pacific is anticipated to be followed by Europe, North America, and Middle East & Africa. In Asia Pacific, China is projected to dominate the market due to its leading position in the production of perfumed products, in which citral is majorly used. Key companies operating in the global citral market include Symrise AG, BASF SE, Robertet Group, Takasago International Corporation, International Flavours Fragrances, Wujiang Ciyun Flavor And Fragrance Co.,Ltd. Berjé Inc., Indukern F&F.
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