3D model (JSmol)
|E number||E282 (preservatives)|
CompTox Dashboard (EPA)
|Molar mass||186.2192 g/mol|
|Appearance||White crystalline solid|
|49 g/100 mL (0 °C) |
55.8 g/100 mL (100 °C)
|Solubility||slightly soluble in methanol, ethanol |
insoluble in acetone, benzene
|NFPA 704 (fire diamond)|
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
|what is ?)(|
As a food additive, it is listed as E number 282 in the Codex Alimentarius. Calcium propionate is used as a preservative in a wide variety of products, including but not limited to: bread, other baked goods, processed meat, whey, and other dairy products. In agriculture, it is used, amongst other things, to prevent milk fever in cows and as a feed supplement  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 used in bakery products as a mold inhibitor, typically at 0.1-0.4%  (though animal feed may contain up to 1%). Mold contamination is considered a serious problem amongst bakers, and conditions commonly found in baking present near-optimal conditions for mold growth.
A few decades ago, Bacillus mesentericus (rope), was a serious problem, but today's improved sanitary practices in the bakery, combined with rapid turnover of the finished product, have virtually eliminated this form of spoilage. Calcium propionate and sodium propionate are effective against both B. mesentericus rope and mold.
Metabolism of propionate begins with its conversion to propionyl coenzyme A (propionyl-CoA), the usual first step in the metabolism of carboxylic acids. Since propanoic acid has three carbons, propionyl-CoA can directly enter neither beta oxidation nor the citric acid cycles. In most vertebrates, propionyl-CoA is carboxylated to D-methylmalonyl-CoA, which is isomerised to L-methylmalonyl-CoA. A vitamin B12-dependent enzyme catalyzes rearrangement of L-methylmalonyl-CoA to succinyl-CoA, which is an intermediate of the citric acid cycle and can be readily incorporated there.
Children were challenged with calcium propionate or placebo through daily bread in a double‐blind placebo‐controlled crossover trial. Although there was no significant difference by two measures, a statistically significant difference was found in the proportion of children whose behaviours "worsened" with challenge (52%), compared to the proportion whose behaviour "improved" with challenge (19%). When propanoic acid was infused directly into rodents' brains, it produced reversible behavior changes (e.g. hyperactivity, dystonia, social impairment, perseveration) and brain changes (e.g. innate neuroinflammation, glutathione depletion) partially mimicking human autism.
Calcium propionate can be used as a fungicide on fruit.