What Is Sodium Benzoate E211?

What is Sodium benzoate E211?

Sodium benzoate E211 is used as food preservative with an E number of E211. Sodium Benzoate E211 is a food grade preservative generally regarded as safe (GRAS) worldwide. It is the sodium salt of benzoic acid E210 and synthesized by reacting sodium hydroxide with benzoic acid. Sodium benzoate E211 has effective antimicrobial action against yeasts, molds, food poisoning bacteria and spore-forming bacteria. It is not effective against food spoilage bacteria like clostridia or lactic acid bacteria.


Sodium benzoate common name: E211, sodium salt of benzoic acid, benzoate of soda, food preservative 211, class 2 preservatives ins 211, e 211 preservative, ins 211 preservative.

Sodium benzoate ph range

Sodium benzoate E211 is not recommended as a food preservative at pH ranges higher than 4.5. The best PH value is 2.5 ~ 4.0. The effectiveness of sodium benzoate E211 as a preservative increases with decreasing pH (increasing acidity). This is because the ratio of undissociated benzoic acid to ionized benzoic acid increases as the pH decreases.

Sodium benzoate concentration

Sodium benzoate E211 & Potassium sorbate E202 is normally used in concentrations of 0.5 – 1.5 %. Sodium benzoate E211 has been generally reported to be used at concentrations below 3%.

What is Sodium benzoate made of

Sodium benzoate E211 is made of by chemical synthesis, and the manufacturing process is through Benzoic acid E210 and sodium bicarbonate reaction.

Mechanism of preservative action of benzoates

Mechanism of preservative action of benzoates or sodium benzoate mechanism of action depends on the undissociated molecules, the lipophilic of not dissociable Benzoic acid E210 is strong, and easy to pass through the cell membrane, then enter into the cell, interfering with the mold and bacteria and other microbial cell membrane permeability, hindering the absorption of cell membrane against amino acids. Benzoates which access to intracellular cell, can acid intracellular storage and inhibit the activity of respiratory enzymes in microbial cells, which play a preservative effect.

Benzoates are broad-spectrum antimicrobial agent that works well against yeasts, molds, and some bacteria, and inhibits various bacteria at pH 4 – 5 below the maximum allowable range of use.

History of Sodium benzoate E211

The history of Sodium benzoate E211 begins discovered by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the 1990’s. Sodium Benzoate was manufactured by adding sodium hydroxide or sodium bicarbonate to benzoic acid. The FDA discovered sodium benzoate can react with ascorbic acid (vitamin C) to form the carcinogen benzene.