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Sodium Benzoate: A Comprehensive Overview

  • Sodium benzoate is a preservative with the formula C₇H₅NaO₂.
  • Derived from benzoic acid, naturally found in fruits like cranberries and apples.
  • Synthesized by reacting benzoic acid with sodium hydroxide.
  • Used in food, beverages, and pharmaceuticals to prevent spoilage.
  • Highly effective and cost-efficient preservative option.

What is Sodium Benzoate?

Sodium benzoate is a preservative commonly used in food and beverages to prevent spoilage. It has the chemical formula C₇H₅NaO₂ and appears as a white, crystalline powder.

Sources of Sodium Benzoate

Natural Sources

Sodium benzoate is derived from benzoic acid, which occurs naturally in some fruits such as cranberries, plums, and apples.

Industrial Production

Commercially, sodium benzoate is synthesized by reacting benzoic acid with sodium hydroxide, resulting in a highly effective preservative.

Uses of Sodium Benzoate

Food and Beverages

Sodium benzoate is widely used in acidic foods and beverages, such as salad dressings, carbonated drinks, and fruit juices, to prevent microbial growth and extend shelf life.


In the pharmaceutical industry, it is used as a preservative in medicines, cosmetics, and personal care products.

Benefits of Sodium Benzoate

Effective Preservative

Sodium benzoate is highly effective at preventing the growth of bacteria, yeast, and fungi, ensuring the safety and longevity of products.


It is an inexpensive preservative, making it a cost-effective option for manufacturers.

Potential Side Effects

While generally recognized as safe, high concentrations of sodium benzoate may cause allergic reactions in some individuals. It is advisable to use it within recommended limits.


Sodium benzoate is a widely used preservative that helps maintain the quality and safety of food and beverages. Its effectiveness and cost-efficiency make it a popular choice in the food and pharmaceutical industries.

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