What is the use of potassium sorbate

Potassium sorbateAuxiliary materialsPreservative Potassium sorbate is the potassium salt of sorbic acid. It is available as a white powder or as granules and is very easily soluble in water. Potassium sorbate is particularly effective against fungi and is added to medicines and foods as a preservative.

synonymous: Kalii sorbasPhEur, E 202, Kalium sorbicum (outdated)


Potassium sorbate is contained in many drugs as an excipient, mainly in liquid and semi-solid dosage forms.

Structure and properties

Potassium Sorbate (C.6H7KO2, Mr = 150.2 g / mol) is the potassium salt of sorbic acid, a short-chain, unsaturated fatty acid. It is available as a white, odorless powder or granulate and is very easily soluble in water. Sorbic acid is a natural substance, but it is mainly produced synthetically.


Potassium sorbate has antimicrobial properties and is particularly effective against fungi and, to a lesser extent, against bacteria. The effects are attributed, among other things, to the inactivation of a number of enzymes. This is due to the formation of covalent bonds with thiols (-SH). The activity is higher in the acidic range, which is why potassium sorbate is also combined with acids.

application areas

As a preservative for medicines and for food.

see also

Sorbic acid, excipients

  • Medicinal product information (CH)
  • EFSA
  • European Pharmacopoeia PhEur
  • Specialist literature
  • Pharmaceutical Technology Textbooks

Conflicts of Interest: None / Independent. The author has no relationships with the manufacturers and is not involved in the sale of the products mentioned.

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This article was last changed on 8/24/2020.
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