4 Uses of Carbon Dioxide in Soft Drinks – The Ingredients

Have you ever been drinking soft drinks? Each of us must have drunk soft drinks that are sold in the market. Fans of this type of beverage are also not small, from small children to older age groups. Soft drinks are also very easy to find and has a delicious taste and refreshing.

It  comes with a variety of flavors make this drink more and more popular from year to year. It is even known that the average consumption of soft drinks is 9.5 gallons per person per year in 1997 and increased to 11.4 gallons per person per year in 2010. This indicates that soft drinks are increasingly favored by many people.

Soft drink that are sold contain soda in it. Many people have also noted that carbonation adds flavor, as seen when a person drinks soda that has been opened and abandoned, allowing carbon dioxide to come out. Soda tends to have a boring and less dynamic sense without carbonation.

Chemicals in Soft Drinks 

Soft drinks are the result of the utilization of carbon dioxide in the food and beverage industry by the process of carbonization.

Carbon dioxide (chemical formula: CO2)  is a chemical compound consisting of two oxygen atoms bonded covalently with a carbon atom. It is gaseous at the state of standard temperature and pressure and is present in the Earth’s atmosphere. The average carbon dioxide concentration in the Earth’s atmosphere is approximately 387 ppm by volume, although this amount may vary depending on location and time. Carbon dioxide is an important greenhouse gas because it absorbs strong infrared waves.

Carbon dioxide is a gas that is colorless and odorless. When inhaled at a higher concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration, it will feel sour in the mouth and sting in the nose and throat. This effect is caused by the dissolution of gases in the mucous membrane and saliva, forming a weak carbonic acid solution. (Read Acid Solution Examples in Daily Life). This sensation can also be felt when a person burps after drinking carbonated water.

Carbon dioxide dissolves in water and spontaneously forms H2CO3 (carbonic acid) in equilibrium with CO2. The relative concentrations between CO2, H2CO3, and HCO3 (bicarbonate) and CO32- (carbonate) depends on the pH conditions of the solution. (Read also Measuring pH Value of Water)  In water that is neutral or slightly alkaline (pH> 6,5), the form of bicarbonate dominates (> 50%). In strongly alkaline water (pH> 10.4), the carbonate form predominates. The form of carbonate and bicarbonate has excellent solubility. (Read also Uses of Sodium Bicarbonate)

The Uses of Carbon Dioxide in Soft Drinks

Carbonated drinks / soft drinks are drinks containing CO2 / Carbon Dioxide and have no alcohol content. Throughout the hemisphere, carbonated beverages have several different popular names, for example, in the United States, known as soda, soda pop, pop or tonic, in the UK known as fizzy drinks, in Canada known as Soda or Pop only. While in Ireland, they call it Minerals. 

In the 1770s, a scientist managed to create a process to produce carbonated mineral water. It was an Englishman named Joseph Priestley who managed to process distilled water and mix it with CO2. Another British scientist was John Mervin Nooth, who succeeded in refining Priestley’s findings and selling them commercially the first soda-drinking utensils for pharmaceutical use.(Read also Jobs in Pharmaceutical Industry)

Carbonation occurs when CO2 gas dissolves completely in water. This process will produce a “Fizz” carbonation sensation in carbonated water and sparkling mineral water. This is followed by the reaction of the foaming exit on the soda drink which is nothing but the process of releasing dissolved CO2 content in the water.

Soda water has the chemical formula H2CO3. To make soda water, the most important component is water and carbon dioxide gas. Soda water is made by dissolving carbon dioxide (CO2) gas into it.(Read Examples of Organic Compounds

Carbonization occurs when carbon dioxide dissolves in water or aqueos solution. This process is usually written in the following reaction form, in which water and carbon dioxide gas react to form carbonic acid. (Read Differences of Acid, Base and Salt)

H2O + CO2 ->H2CO3
Carbonation is a phenomenon in which carbon dioxide gas is suspended in water, creating tiny bubbles. Carbonation can occur both naturally and artificially, as a result of the introduction of carbon dioxide in solution.

This phenomenon is what makes soft drinks and soda, although the sensation of soda is not actually caused by the bubbles themselves, but rather by the chemicals that make bubbles.

So what are the uses of carbon dioxide in soft drinks?

1. Releases Oxygen and keeping the microbes out

There are a number of reasons everyone uses carbonation in beverage preparation. One thing about carbonation is that it releases oxygen, which can keep a stable shelf beverage as long as it’s sealed, keeping the microbes that need oxygen to survive out. So that carbonated beverages is safe from bacterial contamination, especially pathogenic bacteria.

Gives a distinctive touch of soda in the mouth and a biting feelingWhen injected into water with high pressure, carbon dioxide will form carbonic acid. That is why carbonated drinks are also called carbonated beverages (carbonated beverages). It is the carbonic acid responsible for the distinctive touch of soda in the mouth (mouthfeel) and the biting feeling (bite) when the carbonated beverage is drunk.

2. Provides extra sparkle effect

In addition, carbon dioxide gas also has an effect on the occurrence of extra sparkle effect, which distinguishes carbonated soft drinks with non-carbonated. Extra sparkle is a twinkling effect on beverages. Practically CO2 is the only gas most suitable for producing sparkle sightings in carbonated soft drinks.

3. Gives a sour taste to the beverage

The presence of carbon dioxide in beverage can be like spices to foods. Carbon dioxide can increase the flavor of the drink so people enjoy eating it. When it dissolves in the water, CO2 gives a sour taste so that it can decrease the pH to about 3.2 – 3.7. The sour taste is a typical taste of a soda that makes people remember of the taste of it.

4. The water-soluble carbon dioxide gas serves as an antibacterial to preserve the beverage

Carbon dioxide can be used as a preservative material because it has bacteriostatic and fungistatic effects. Carbon dioxide inhibits the growth of some anaerobic bacteria, like yeast and fungi. Facultative bacteria can also be inhibited by CO2. The maximum concentration that used is 25%. 

Those all that have been explained are the uses of carbon dioxide in soft drinks.

In modern life, driven by the need for a practical and fast-paced lifestyle, the modern beverage industry is growing and offering more types, flavors and packaging. Various soft drinks (including cola, fruit flavored drinks, juice, tea, milk) are available both in carbonated and non-carbonated forms useful in meeting the needs of everyday drink consumption.

Hope this article will be helpful for our daily life.