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The inorganic compound potassium phosphate tribasic (K3PO4) is the tripotassium salt of phosphoric acid. It is used as a food additive for its properties as an emulsifier, foaming agent and whipping agent. It is also an important raw material in the production of fertilizers. It is also used as a stabilizer for meat products.
Potassium phosphate tribasic has a high buffering capacity, and is a common ingredient in many media for the culture of microorganisms and in phosphate buffered saline (PBS). The monobasic and dibasic forms of this compound are mixed to varying extents to form pH neutral potassium phosphate buffer solutions.
In chemistry, potassium phosphate is used to generate acetic acid from dimethyl sulfide and in the phase transfer catalyzed preparation of acetylenes. It is also used as an acidity regulator in foods and a chelating agent to bind metal ions. It is also a component of phosphorus based fertilizers and a raw material for making phosphate glass.
It is a white, odorless, and tasteless powder that dissolves in water and is insoluble in alcohol. Its melting and boiling points are 298 °C and 1380 °C, respectively. It has a high reactivity and can react with phenols, acids and other halides, including bromine. It is toxic to animals. When inhaled, it can irritate the respiratory system. It can irritate the skin and eyes, and may cause chemical burns. It is hygroscopic and will absorb moisture from the air.