What is Phosphate?

   Phosphate is the name given to the large series of chemical compounds which have as part of their formula a phosphate component. Of all the phosphate compounds, the most common are the ammonium, calcium and sodium salts of phosphoric acid. Any phosphate has PO4 in its formula. The most familiar phosphate compounds are inorganic and are used in large quantities in many industries. For example, diammonium phosphate is used as a fireproofing agent for textiles. Monoammonium phosphate is used in baking powders. Monocalcium phosphate is used as a dietary supplement in animal feeds, and the various sodium phosphates are used as laxatives, as buffering agents, and in detergent mixtures.