Potassium sorbate

Potassium sorbate

Potassium sorbate is the potassium salt of sorbic acid. It is primarily used as a food preservative (E number 202). Potassium sorbate is effective in a variety of applications including food, wine, and personal-care products.

CAS No: 24634-61-5

E No: E202


  • Description


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Potassium sorbate with the IUPAC name ‘Potassium (2E,4E)-hexa-2,4-dienoate’ is a chemical additive. Industrially, it is produced by neutralizing sorbic acid with potassium hydroxide and also hurts immunity and it is toxic to DNA.



Chemical formula


Molar mass


150.218 g·mol−1


White crystals


1.363 g/cm3
Melting point


270 °C (518 °F; 543 K) (decomposes)
Solubility Soluble in water 58.5 g/100 mL (100 °C)

Soluble in ethanol, propylene glycol

Slightly soluble in acetone

Very slightly soluble in chloroform, corn oil, ether

Insoluble in benzene

Chemical structure Potassium sorbate structure




In the food industry, Potassium sorbate is found in a wide variety of foodstuffs, which act to prevent mold and to increase shelf life, for example in ice cream, wine, yogurt, dried fruits, and dried meats.


In winemaking is also used to prevent wine from losing its flavor because without C6H7KO2 the fermentation would continue and leading to the flavor to change. Often in soft drinks, juices, and sodas use it as a preservative.



Also, it is utilized in personal care items such as moisturizers, shampoos, and contact lens solutions as an antimicrobial and preservative because it is an organic acid preservative that is generally added 0.5% but in cosmetics tends to increase the pH. Another example is for a preservative in moist cat and dog foods and other animal feed.


It is prepared by reacting sorbic acid with equimolar amounts of potassium hydroxide. The products may be crystallized from aqueous ethanol. It is an unsaturated fatty acid and in the body decomposes to carbon dioxide and water, as well as absorbed by the body’s metabolic system, and has the antimicrobial activity of the sorbic acid about 74%.

personal care


Safety information

Allergies of potassium sorbate are more common with products and cosmetics, where it can cause skin or scalp irritation that may some people to have an allergy it. However, the Environmental Working Group has rated it with low risk as a skin irritant. Also, some papers mention that it may show mutagenic or genotoxic effects.

According to the MSDS paper in a different situation, we must care about it, such as:

  • In case of skin contact: Take off immediately all contaminated clothing. Rinse skin with water/ shower.
  • After eye contact: rinse out with plenty of water. Call in ophthalmologist. Remove contact lenses.
  • After swallowing: immediately make the victim drink water (two glasses at most). Consult a physician.



* https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Potassium-sorbate

* https://www.healthline.com/health/potassium-sorbate#sources



* https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/biochemistry-genetics-and-molecular-biology/potassium-sorbate