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Phosphates are one of the natural components of almost all foods.  And using widely in food processing as essential food ingredients and functional additives. It is a salt of phosphoric acid vital in inorganic chemistry, biochemistry, and biogeochemistry.

Naturally occurring phosphate is phosphate rock (containing calcium phosphate). It can produce phosphate by reacting sulfuric acid with phosphate rock to produce calcium dihydrogen phosphate and calcium sulfate that plants can absorb.  We can divide Phosphates into orthophosphates and condensed phosphates: phosphates used in food processing are sodium, calcium, and potassium salts, as well as iron and zinc salts as nutritional fortification agents. There are more than 30 varieties of food-grade phosphates in regular use.


What are phosphates used for?

We mainly use phosphoric acid in the pharmaceutical, food, and fertilizer industries, including as a rust inhibitor, food additive, dental and orthopedic, EDIC corrosive, electrolyte, flux, dispersant, industrial corrosive, raw material for fertilizer, and component household cleaning products. Also used as a chemical reagent, phosphate is a nutrient for all life forms.

Phosphoric acid or orthophosphoric acid, with a molecular weight of 97.994, is a common inorganic acid and is a medium to strong acid. We can dissolve phosphorus pentoxide in hot water to get it. Orthophosphoric acid is obtained industrially by treating apatite with sulfuric acid. Phosphoric acid tends to deliquesce in the air. When heated, it loses water to give pyrophosphoric acid. And then further water loss to give metaphosphoric acid.


Why are phosphates bad?

Phosphates are compounds with multivalent anions and have high ionic strength at lower concentrations.

Phosphate additives can improve the taste and freshness of food. However, too much phosphorus can prevent the body from fully absorbing and utilizing calcium, which can easily cause fractures, tooth loss, and bone deformation.

Too much phosphate in the diet can combine with calcium in the intestine to form insoluble calcium orthophosphate. It reduces the absorption of calcium, which is one reason we should appropriately compare the supply of calcium and phosphorus in the diet.  Foods with inappropriate calcium and phosphorus ratios, i.e., calcium or phosphorus deficient foods, will release calcium or phosphorus from the human skeletal tissue. A long duration can result in stunted growth, skeletal deformities, poor bone and tooth quality, and long-term high phosphate intake, leading to goiter and calcific renal insufficiency.

According to the abstract, high levels of phosphate may increase mortality in the general public and people with kidney disease and cardiovascular disease. Researchers have linked high phosphate levels to accelerated aging and blood vessel damage.


What are examples of phosphates?

Phosphate minerals










What foods are high in phosphates?

1. Seeds (pumpkin seeds), 1233mg phosphates/100g (123% DV).

2, Cheese (Romano cheese), phosphates/100g, 760mg (76% DV).

3, . Fish (salmon), phosphorus content/100g.

4, shellfish (scallops), phosphorus content/100g, 426mg (43% DV).

5, nuts (Brazil nuts), phosphorus content / 100g, 725mg (73% DV).

6, pork (lean loin), phosphorus content / 100g, 311mg (31% DV).

7, beef (lean beef), phosphorus content / 100g, 286mg (29% DV).

8, low-fat dairy products (nonfat yogurt), phosphorus content / 100g, 157mg (16% DV).

9, soybean food (tofu), phosphorus content/100g, 287mg (29% DV).

10, beans and lentils (lentils), phosphorus content/100g, 180mg (18% DV).


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