Additive is a term that can be used as an adjective or as a noun. In the first case, it qualifies what you have or that can be added or incorporated into something else.
In the field of mathematics, the adjective additive refers to the term that, in a polynomial, is preceded by the sign + (plus). We speak of an additive function to refer to that which preserves the operation of addition, that is, the sum.
This can be seen in the following example: f (x + y) = f (x) + f (y); here we note that for both x and y the sum is preserved. It should be noted that in this case we are only talking about the values for which this function has been defined, that is, for all the x and y that are within its domain.
In this way, we can ensure that all linear transformations are additive, since this is one of the requirements of this concept, which can be defined as any application in which its vector spaces of the domain and the domain also comply with the following property: T (ku) = kT (u), where u is a vector and k is a scalar.
On the other hand, if the elements of the domain are real numbers (set in which are found both negative, zero and positive numbers as well as irrational ones, those that cannot be expressed), then the additive function corresponds to that of Cauchy. Known as the Cauchy functional equation, it is, in effect, f (x + y) = f (x) + f (y), as shown above for the additive function; Although it is one of the easiest to represent, in the set of real numbers it is very difficult to solve.
If we focus on chemistry, the notion of additive applied to a property or to a quantity refers to the fact that, in a mixture, it is shown as the sum of the values with which it appears in the different components.
From its use as an adjective, additive can also be used as a noun. In this case, it is the substance that is added to another to improve it or to give it properties that it does not have.
Food additives are those that are added to foods to facilitate their preservation, prevent chemical changes or alter their taste, color or aroma. The flavors, the colors, the flavorings and preservatives are some of the most common additives.
An example of a food additive is carminic acid, which is extracted from insects like Dactylopius coccus (mealybug). This substance serves as a colorant and is used in the manufacture of ice cream, yogurt and jam, among other products. By adding carminic acid to these foods, a reddish color is achieved that is very attractive to the eye.
Despite the great popularity of additives in the food industry, it is very important to note that many of them represent a great danger to our health; after all, these are substances that we do not normally use to make homemade food, with which we could say that they are not strictly necessary, but have specific, often aesthetic, functions.
One of the most dangerous additives is aspartame, also known by the name of Equal or NutraSweet, which is usually part of dietary foods. There are various evidences of its carcinogenic action, and it considerably surpasses all other additives in the industry in the number of adverse reactions by consumers.
At fuels also are additives can be added to improve their properties. The ethanol, to cite one case, optimizes the combustion of gasoline.