Citral, or 3,7-dimethyl-2,6-octadienal or lemonal, is either of a pair of terpenoids with the molecular formula C10H16O. The two compounds are double bond isomers. The trans isomer is known as geranial or citral A. The cis isomer is known as neral or citral B.
Geranial has a strong lemon odor. Neral has a lemon odor that is less intense, but sweeter. Citral is therefore an aroma compound used in perfumery for its citrus effect. Citral is also used as a flavor and for fortifying lemon oil. It also has strong anti-microbial qualities, and pheromonal effects in insects.
Health & Safety information
Citral should be avoided by people with perfume allergy.
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- Lawless, J., The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils, ISBN 1-85230-661-0
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