Polyphosphate Crystals (www.waterconcept.fr)Polyphosphates used in meat processing (www.koelnmesse.it)



1.    Name (generic): Polyphosphate, phosphoric acid

2.    Common Brand Names: pyrophosphate, tripolyphosphate, Kurrol’s salt, Maddrell’s salt, potassium pyrophosphate, calcium polyphosphate, sodium phosphate, sodium potassium polyphosphate (Tammann's salt), magnesium phosphate, disodium diphosphate, tetrasodium diphosphate, sodium tripolyphosphate, ect.

3.    Street Names (if any): N/A

4.    Source: (How it is made?):

·      residues of inorganic phosphate linked together by dehydration at very high temperature

5.    Uses:

·      Additive in food processing to improve eating quality especially meat an dfish.

·      in making baking powder and cola drinks

·      acidulant and flavor, synergistic antioxidant and sequestrant in food.

·      solvent; acidifying and buffering agent,

·      dental cements; process engraving;

·      rustproofing of metals before painting;

·      coagulating rubber latex; as analytical reagent for trace metal analysis

·      in manufacturing of fertilizer and detergent.

·      used as a flame retardant on many products, including wood, paper, fabric, and plastic

·       as a commercial retardant for forest fires

6.    Uses (unapproved) N/A

7.    Abuses (if any): N/A

8.    Mechanism of action:

·      Phosphorus is an essential constituent of the human organism, not only in the bones and teeth, but also in many enzyme systems. Phosphorus compounds play an important role in carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism.

·      key role in blood coagulation. They activate factor XII of the coagulation cascade which is essential for blood clot formation. Furthermore platelets-derived polyphosphates activate blood coagulation factor XII that initiates fibrin formation and the generation of a proinflammatory mediator.

·      participate in the induction of rpoS, an RNA-polymerase subunit which is responsible for the expression of a large group of genes involved in adjustments to the stationary growth phase and many stressful agents.

·      participate in the regulation of the levels of the stringent response factor, guanosine 5'-diphosphate 3'-diphosphate (ppGpp), a second messenger in bacterial cells

·      important function of polyphosphate in microorganisms—prokaryotes and the lower eukaryotes—is to handle changing environmental conditions by providing phosphate and energy reserves. Polyphosphates are present in animal cells, and there are many data on its participation in the regulatory processes during development and cellular proliferation and differentiation—especially in bone tissues and brain.

·      Inorganic polyphosphates have a crucial role in tolerance of yeast cells to toxic heavy metal cations.

·      Fish processing: improving the retention of water by the protein in fish. Polyphosphate treatment of fish before freezing often reduces the amount of thaw drip that relaased when  frozen fish thawed

9.    Toxicity: toxicity of these phosphate compounds is in part due to separate problems arising from the various cations and to the phosphate anions in general. However, it is unlikely that effects

of the potassium and ammonium moieties of the salts, at the levels used in foods, would be of concern and the effect of these salts would

    not be significantly different from sodium salts.


10. Useful references.

·      The Merck Index



·      IPNI Nutrient Source Apecifics


·      FAO Corporate Document Repository


·      IPCS Inchem. http://www.inchem.org/documents/jecfa/jecmono/v17je22.htm