The Chemistry of Mountain Dew

  • Mountain Dew has been a popular soft drink for many years. There are many different off brands of Mountain Dew because it has such a popular flavor. The flavor was first made in 1940 in Tennessee. I chose to research this because it is one of my favorite soft drinks. I wanted to know how it was made and what I was drinking. I also wanted to know what the ingredients were really being made out of. Mountain Dew affects my life because I drink it at least twice a week. Also, a lot of Americans drink it just as much, if not more, than I do.

Composition of …

What are the Ingredients?

  • Carbonated Water

  • High Fructose Corn Syrup

  • Concentrated Orange Juice

  • Citric Acid

  • Natural Flavors

  • Sodium Benzoate

  • Caffeine

  • Sodium Citrate

  • Gum Arabic

  • Erythorbic Acid

  • Calcium Disodium EDTA

  • Brominated Vegetable Oil

Main Chemicals, Compounds, or Components:

  1. Erythorbic acid (preservative) - C6H8O6

    1. Erythorbic acid is an stereoisomer of ascorbic acid, also known as vitamin C. This means that it is made up of the same atoms, in the same order, but the atoms are positioned differently in space.

    2. It is put in mountain dew to act as a flavorless nutrient. Because of this ingredient, there is a slight nutritional value because you are getting a little vitamin C.

    3. The US FDA banned the use of sulfates as a preservative, so the use of erythorbic acid has increased.

  1. Brominated Vegetable Oil

    1. The main purpose of this ingredient is to keep the citrus flavor from separating with the carbonated water.

    2. The brominated vegetable oil contains atoms of bromine. Because of this, it becomes as heavy, if not heavier, than water so they won't separate from the flavor that Mountain Dew is famous for.

Chemistry's Role

How the main two compounds are made:

  • Erythorbic acid (preservative) - C6H8O6

    • It is found and produced from sucrose or ascorbic acid, also known as vitamin C.

  • Brominated Vegetable Oil

    • Brominated vegetable oil is a synthetic chemical that is created when vegetable oil is bonded to the element bromine. Bromine is heavy, and it keeps the oil from floating to the top of water-based solutions, like soft drinks.

Mountain Dew is made in a factory, while the ingredients are also being produced by machine. Chemistry is involved in the making of brominated vegetable oil. When the bromine is added, it attached to the atoms of the oil and adds mass. This is so the oil will mix with the contents of the soda rather than rising to the top of the drink.

Background Research

  • In 1958 the current formula that is being used today was invented by Bill Bridgforth

  • It was purchased by PepsiCo in 1964 and from then on became more popular

  • In 1988 Diet Mountain Dew was introduced and in 2001 Code Red was introduced

  • There are over twenty different types of Mountain Dew to this day

  • It contains orange juice and zero protein

  • 20 oz bottle

    • 77g sugar

    • 290 Calories

  • 1 Liter bottle

    • 124g sugar

    • 440 calories


Works Cited:

"BVO: Toxic Ingredient in Mountain Dew and Other Sodas? :" Snopes. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Apr. 2016.


    1. Some interesting facts about Brominated Vegetable Oil and how it is said to be harmful in some countries

"The Chemistry of Soda Pop." N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Apr. 2016.


    1. This link doesn't necessarily give details about Mountain Dew, but it does provide information of the Chemistry of soda pop, which would also help with understanding the chemistry of mountain dew

"Mountain Dew Ingredients - Wikia." Mountain Dew Wiki. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Apr. 2016.


    1. The official ingredients in Mountain Dew are provided on this page. From this, I will be able to see what each ingredient is made of.

"Mountain Dew Nutrition Page."  N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Apr. 2016.


    1. This website has information about the amount of caffeine in each bottle or can of mountain dew

"Official Site for PepsiCo Beverage Information | Home." Official Site for PepsiCo Beverage Information | Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Apr. 2016.


    1. This website will provide me with the ingredients of Mountain Dew that give it its syrupy finish.

Scientific Mathematics Rounds. "The Chemistry of Mountain Dew." N.p., Web. 3 Apr. 2016.


  1. Mountain Dew is syrupy and gets its density and opacity from Brominated Vegetable Oil. It is heavier than normal oils because of the bromine atom.

About The Author

Rachel Schwans is a junior at McCook Central High School. She enjoys sports and is very active in her school. She is in Student Council, FFA, FCA, NHS, Band, and Choir. She also enjoys learning about how the science and the world relate.