Chemical Properties

Phosphates provide important functional properties for improving the processing and the final quality of foods. The use of a phosphate often improves more than a single property (4,8). The chemical effects of phosphates on foods are briefly outlined next. Physical properties of the phosphates (eg, particle size and rate of dissolution) are also important in many applications.

Acid-Base Properties

Various phosphates may provide acidity, alkalinity, or buffering, depending on the degree of neutralization and the structure of the phosphate. Orthophosphates and the short-chain polyphosphates have good buffering capacity, especially in the pH range of 6 to 8. Phosphoric acid is widely used as a beverage acidulant. Acidic phosphates are important leavening agents, and the basic phosphates such as sodium tripolyphosphate (STP) modify meat and dairy protein characteristics by altering their charge.

Table 1. Phosphates Commonly Used in Food Applications

Name

Formula

Orthophosphates

Phosphoric acid

h3po4

Monosodium phosphate (MSP)

NaH2P04

Disodium phosphate (DSP)

Na2HP04

Disodium phosphate dihydrate

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