Fumaric acid or trans-butenedioic acid is the chemical compound with the formula HO2CCH=CHCO2H. This white crystalline compound is one of two isomeric unsaturated dicarboxylic acids, the other being maleic acid. In fumaric acid the carboxylic acid groups are trans (E) and in maleic acid they are cis (Z). Fumaric acid has a fruit-like taste.



  • Used in food and medicine.


  • Food:  Fumaric acid has been used as a food acidulant since 1946. It is approved for use as a food additive in the EU, USA and Australia and New Zealand. As a food additive, it is used as an acidity regulator and can be denoted by the E number E297. It is generally used in beverages and baking powders for which requirements are placed on purity. It is generally used as a substitute for tartaric acid and occasionally in place of citric acid, at a rate of 1 g of fumaric acid to every ~1.5 g of citric acid, in order to add sourness, similarly to the way malic acid is used. As well as being a component of some artificial vinegar flavors, such as “Salt and Vinegar” flavored potato chips, it is also used as a coagulant in stovetop pudding mixes.
  • Medicine:  In patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, the ester dimethyl fumarate (BG-12, Biogen) significantly reduced relapse and disability progression in a phase 3 trial. It activates the Nrf2 antioxidant response pathway, the primary cellular defense against the cytotoxic effects of oxidative stress


  • Fumaric acid converts to the irritant maleic anhydride, upon partial combustion.
  • It is “practically non-toxic” but high doses are probably nephrotoxic after long-term use



Other names

trans-1,2-Ethylenedicarboxylic acid, 2-Butenedioic acid, trans-butenedioic acid, Allomaleic acid, Boletic acid, Donitic acid, Lichenic acid


Source: Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fumaric_acid

LiveStrong, http://www.livestrong.com/article/109037-fumaric-acid-foods/

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