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 E-isomer is known as geranial or citral A. The Z-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.
Citral is used in the synthesis of vitamin A, ionone, and methylionone, and to mask the smell of smoke.
Citral is present in the oils of several plants, including lemon myrtle (90-98%), Litsea cubeba (70-85%), lemongrass (65-85%), Lemon verbena (30-35%), Lemon ironbark (26%), lemon balm (11%), lemon and orange.
Health & Safety informationCitral should be avoided by people with perfume allergy.
citral in German: Citral
citral in French: Citral
citral in Hebrew: ציטראל
citral in Hungarian: Citrál
citral in Dutch: Citral
citral in Japanese: シトラール
citral in Polish: Cytral