ingredient information
A phosphate, an inorganic chemical, is a salt of phosphoric acid. In organic chemistry, a phosphate, or organophosphate, is an ester of phosphoric acid. Organic phosphates are important in biochemistry and biogeochemistry or ecology. Inorganic phosphates are mined to obtain phosphorus for use in agriculture and industry.[1][2][3] At elevated temperatures in the solid state, phosphates can condense to form pyrophosphates. Most people and even chemists refer to orthophosphoric acid as phosphoric acid, which is the IUPAC name for this compound. The prefix ortho is used to distinguish the acid from other phosphoric acids, called polyphosphoric acids. Orthophosphoric acid is a non-toxic, inorganic, rather weak triprotic acid, which, when pure, is a solid at room temperature and pressure. The chemical structure of orthophosphoric acid is shown above in the data table. Orthophosphoric acid is a very polar molecule; therefore it is highly soluble in water. The oxidation state of phosphorus (P) in ortho- and other phosphoric acids is +5; the oxidation state of all the oxygen atoms (O) is -2 and all the hydrogen atoms (H) is +1. Triprotic means that an orthophosphoric acid molecule can dissociate up to three times, giving up an H+ each time, which typically combines with a water molecule, H2O, as shown in these reactions: Food-grade phosphoric acid (additive E338) is used to acidify foods and beverages such as various colas, but not without controversy regarding its health effects. It provides a tangy or sour taste and, being a mass-produced chemical, is available cheaply and in large quantities. The low cost and bulk availability is unlike more expensive natural seasonings that give comparable flavors, such as citric acid which is obtainable from lemons and limes. (However most citric acid in the food industry is not extracted from citrus fruit, but fermented by Aspergillus niger mold from scrap molasses, waste starch hydrolysates and phosphoric acid.)