Calcium propionate is the most commonly used chemical anti-microbial in the baking industry and it is ideal for yeast-leavened bakery foods.1 It exists as a white crystalline powder. It is a preferred source of antimicrobial because it contains none of th

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Calcium propionate is a type of fatty acid preservative that contains propionic acid as an active ingredient. It inhibits molds and Bacillus spores, but not yeast to the same extent. Therefore, it has been the traditional choice for bread preservation. Its mode of action is through lipophilic interaction with the cell membrane, disrupting membrane permeability and cell function.2


Calcium propionate is added together with other ingredients while making dough. The recommended level is within 0.19 – 0.32 g per 100 g flour.At higher application levels, it imparts a distinct acid taste to bread.

Calcium propionate is most effective at a lower pH, in a range of 4.5 to 5.5 The active component, isopropionic acid, dissociates and becomes inactive at pH lower than 4.5.Therefore, the dough pH needs to be above 4.5 and well controlled to effectively control mold.

Calcium propionate can help lower the sodium concentration in bread. The addition prolongs the shelf life of bread shelf life together with sodium chloride. When 0.3% calcium propionate is used without sodium chloride, bread was mold free for 12 days. When 0.3% is used with 1.2% sodium chloride, the bread was mold free for 13 days.3

Also, spraying ethanol on the top of bread while using calcium propionate as the preservative can prolong the mold free shelf life by 38.5%.1