What is Potassium Phosphates E340 in food? Types, Uses, Safe, Side Effects

What is Potassium Phosphates E340 in food? Types, Uses, Safe, Side Effects


Table of Contents

Potassium phosphates E340 are food additives that are typically used for improving the texture of food. They can help thicken, improve water binding properties, and stabilize fat. Potassium phosphates with the additive formula K3PO4. It’s an odorless, finely powdered, or crystalline powder that doesn’t mix with water. It’s typically used as an emulsifying and foaming agent.

In this article, we will discuss the following: What is Potassium Phosphate? What are the types of Potassium Phosphate used as food additives? How does Potassium Phosphate act in the body? What are the safe limits for the consumption of Potassium Phosphate? What are the side effects of Potassium Phosphate?

What is potassium phosphates?

Potassium phosphates are a group of inorganic salts with the chemical formula K2HPO4. that contain potassium, phosphorus, and oxygen. The most common potassium phosphate is potassium dihydrogen phosphate (KH2PO4), which is a white, water-soluble powder. Potassium phosphates are used to adjust the alkalinity level in pools and spas. They also help prevent calcium build-up in pools and spas.

Potassium phosphates are found naturally in plants, animals, and in some types of soil. They are also manufactured commercially by adding phosphate rock to water at high temperatures. The resulting mixture is then cooled until it solidifies into crystals, which can be processed into various forms for use as fertilizers or food additives.

The most common members of this group are potassium phosphate (KPO3), also known as tripotassium phosphate or TSP; monoammonium phosphate (NH4H2PO4); diammonium phosphate (NH4H2PO4); and ammonium dihydrogen phosphate (NH4HPO4). These four compounds have different chemical formulas but they all have a molecular formula of K2HPO4.

What is potassium phosphates used for?

Potassium phosphates is an important component of fertilizers. The primary use of potassium phosphates is in the production of fertilizers for the agricultural industry.

Potassium phosphates are also used for animal feed, to improve the nutritional value of foods and beverages, as well as for household cleaning products.

Potassium phosphates are used in a number of applications, including:

Fertilizers – Potassium phosphates are used as a source of phosphorus and potassium in fertilizer blends. These elements are necessary for plant growth and development.

Animal feed – The majority of potassium phosphates produced worldwide is used in animal feed as a supplement to meet the dietary needs of animals raised for meat production.

Food & beverage processing – Potassium phosphates can be added to some foods and beverages as an emulsifier or stabilizer. This helps prevent separation between water and oil phases during the manufacturing process and extends shelf life through inhibition of microbial growth

What is potassium phosphates in food?

Potassium phosphates are a group of chemicals that provide phosphorus and potassium in foods. These chemicals are often used as emulsifiers and stabilizers, which helps them keep their shape and prevent separation. They also help improve the texture of food products.

In addition to their use in food production, potassium phosphates are also used as fertilizers on crops such as wheat, barley, oats, potatoes and tomatoes. They can also be used as food additives, preservatives, antioxidants and anti-caking agents in a variety of foods. These chemicals are typically made from phosphate mines or rock deposits.

Potassium phosphates are used in many foods, including soft drinks, baked goods and candies. They can also be found in meat products such as hot dogs, luncheon meats and bacon.

Potassium phosphates are used to increase the texture of food products and can help prevent separation. They also improve the texture of some foods such as potato chips, tortilla chips, cheese puffs and crackers. These chemicals are usually made from phosphate mines or rock deposits. Potassium phosphates can be used as a food additive, preservative, antioxidant and anti-caking agent in many different foods.

How is potassium phosphates made?

The manufacturing process for potassium phosphates is a two-step process. The first step involves the production of phosphoric acid, which is then used in the second step to produce the desired product.

Step 1: Production of Phosphoric Acid

Phosphoric acid can be produced either by wet or dry methods. In either case, it is produced from phosphate rock, which is mined from deposits of phosphate ore. The most common method for producing wet phosphoric acid involves dissolving the phosphate rock in sulfuric acid (H2SO4), also known as fuming sulfuric acid. This reaction results in the formation of phosphoric acid:

2Ca3(PO4)2 + 8H2SO4 + 9O2 → 24CaSO4 + 18H3PO4 + 9CO2 + H2O

Dry phosphoric acid can be produced by reacting phosphorus with sulfur at high temperatures. In this reaction, elemental phosphorus and oxidized sulfur react to form both elemental sulfur and phosphorous sulfide:

P + S8 → P S8

When these two gases are mixed together at high temperatures, they react to form phosphene sulfide (PS). When heated further, PS decomposes into phosphorus pentasulfide (PSS) and elemental sulfur: 3PS + 4H2 → P S5 + H2S PSS decomposes further into phosphorus sulfide (PS) and elemental sulfur: 2PS + 2H2 → P + H2S.


Other Names Potassium phosphate 7778-53-2
Tripotassium phosphate
Potassium phosphate tribasic
Tripotassium orthophosphate
CAS Number 7778-53-2
Chemical formula K3PO4
Molecular Weight 212.266


Colourless or white, odourless hygroscopic crystals or granules. Hydrated forms available include the monohydrate and trihydrate


Freely soluble in water. Insoluble in ethanol


Potassium Phosphates structure

What are the types of Potassium phosphates?

Various types of potassium phosphates, including orthophosphates, tetrapotassium pyrophosphates, tripolyphosphates, and polyphosphates for food use.

Mono-, di- and tripotassium phosphates

A potassium phosphate ion is formed, along with hydrogen phosphate ion (H032, HPO42) and orthophosphate ion (PO43), and are made up of potassium (K+) and dihydrogen phosphate (H2PO4*).

Monopotassium phosphate

Whether referred to as MKP or KDP, potassium dihydrogen phosphate (also known as potassium phosphate monobasic) is a chemical compound with the chemical formula KH2PO4.

It can be used in food with the European food additive number E340(i) as an acidity regulator,sequestrant,leavening acid and potassium supplement.

It is commonly used in sports drinks and coffee creamers. As a fertilizer, this ingredient is much more commonly used in food than in other products.

Dipotassium phosphate

Also known as dipotassium hydrogen phosphate or potassium phosphate dibasic, DKP has the chemical formula K2HPO4.

The acid can be used in a number of different ways, such as a weak electrolyte in beverages and bodybuilding foods, as well as a buffering agent to adjust the pH of non-dairy creamers, milk products, cheese, and meat. In Europe, it has the number E340(ii) for food additives.

The fertilizer is also a water-soluble fertilizer containing phosphorus and potassium.

To treat or prevent hypophosphatemia (low blood potassium levels), a concentrated solution comprising monobasic potassium phosphate and dibasic potassium phosphate can be used as an electrolyte replenisher containing monobasic potassium phosphate and water in a solution.

Tripotassium phosphate

A food additive that has the European food additive number E340(iii) may also be referred to as potassium phosphate tribasic, which has the chemistry formula K3PO4.

Cereals are primarily treated with the food grade to increase their pH and to regulate acidity. As an alternative to trisodium phosphate, it is also effective.

The chemical formula for it is:

  1. Anhydrous:  K3PO4
  2. Monohydrate: K3PO4.H2O
  3. Trihydrate: K3PO4.3H2O

Tetrapotassium pyrophosphate

The European food additive number E450(v) is a reference to tetrapotassium diphosphate, also known as potassium pyrophosphate, which has the chemical formula K4P2O7.

A process by which phosphoric acid is combined with potassium hydroxide, crystallized, and then heated under 350°C to 400°C to produce potassium hydroxide can be used. These are the chemical equations that can be found below:

  • 2KOH+H3PO4 → K2HPO4+H2O
  • K2HPO4·6H2O→ K2HPO4·3H2O
  • K2HPO4·3H2O → K2HPO4
  • K2HPO4 → K4P2O7

Electroplating, leather, and washing are among the industries that use potassium pyrophosphate.

Its strong alkaline properties inhibit food spoilage because of its food grade. Soups, frozen fish & shrimp, cooked pork, minced meat, and others can benefit from it as an emulsifier and texture improver. Additionally, it regulates and stabilizes pH.

Potassium polyphosphate

E452(ii) is the European food additive number for potassium metaphosphate, also known as potassium polymetaphosphate.

It consists of cyclic structure potassium trimetaphosphates and potassium tetrametaphosphates, which are highly polymerized linear polyphosphates.

The polymer is produced by high-temperature polymerization of potassium dihydrogen phosphate.

Potassium tripolyphosphate

The European food additive number E451(ii) represents KTPP, chemically known as pentapotassium tripolyphosphate or potassium triphosphate, which has the chemical formula K5O10P3.

Through a variety of manufacturing processes, monopotassium phosphate and dipotassium phosphate can be combined to form this compound. As a brief summary of the chemical equations, they are as follows:

  1. 5K2C03+6H3PO4 =4K2HPO4+2KH2PO4+5CO2+5H2O
  2. 4K2HPO4+2KH2PO4=2K2PO7+K2H2P2O7+3H2O
  3. 4K2HPO4+K2H2P2O=K2P3O10+3H2O

Alternatively, it can be produced by neutralizing potassium carbonate with peroxophosphoric acid in the following way:


Among its many properties, potassium tripolyphosphate is excellent for dispersing in water, retaining water, emulsifying, and chelating metal ions (such as Ca2+ and Mg2+).

Is potassium phosphates safe to eat?

Potassium phosphates are generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but there have been concerns about their safety and use as a food additive since they contain phosphorus. The U.S. National Toxicology Program recently released a report that concluded that there was no evidence that potassium phosphates cause cancer in humans, although excess phosphorus intake can lead to high blood levels of this mineral, which can damage organs such as the kidneys or heart [Source: U.S. National Toxicology Program].

There appears to be a very low risk of side effects when used as food additives, and their safety has been approved by the U.S. European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA).

What are the benefits of potassium phosphates?

Potassium phosphates are a mineral-based compound used for their buffering and leaching properties. They are also used as nutritional supplements and preservatives. The benefits of potassium phosphates include:

1. Aids in the body’s absorption of calcium, which may improve bone strength and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

2. Helps calcium work properly in your body by preventing it from depositing in soft tissues such as arteries and muscles, where it can cause a lot of damage.

3. Helps protect against kidney stones by improving electrolyte balance in urine.

4. Lowers blood pressure by reducing sodium levels in the blood and increasing potassium levels, which helps prevent water retention that leads to high blood pressure.

What are the side effects of potassium phosphates?

Potassium phosphates may cause some side effects. The most common ones include:

Diarrhea. This is fairly common during treatment with potassium phosphates, especially if you’re taking it to treat hypokalemia (low potassium). However, diarrhea is usually mild and goes away with time, as your body gets used to the medication.

Nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain. These symptoms may also occur during treatment and can be treated with over-the-counter medications such as antacids or anti-nausea medications (such as Dramamine). If your nausea doesn’t go away after a few days or if it becomes severe, talk with your doctor about switching to another medication for your condition.

Headache. Headaches can also occur during treatment with potassium phosphates. If you get frequent headaches while taking these medications, let your doctor know so that he or she can determine if a different dose or medication might help reduce them.

Where to buy potassium phosphates?

The most common place to buy potassium phosphates is at a local store. You can find them in the fertilizer section, sold as a supplement for plants or for human consumption. The price of these products is usually quite high and you will not find much variety.

Another place to buy potassium phosphates is on the Internet. There are many websites that sell this product, but there are also some that don’t offer good quality products or do not provide enough information about their products. such as Amazon.com and eBay.com.

if you buy a large number of potassium phosphates for your company, you can consider purchasing them from Grade Chemical, which is one reliable potassium phosphates manufacturer & supplier in China. they can directly deliver to you by courier, for the price is much more competitive than your local supplier pirce.

Frequently Asked Question

Yes, potassium phosphate is natural. It’s a chemical compound that is found in nature and is a phosphate salt made up of potassium and phosphorus.

Potassium phosphate is not toxic. It is a form of potassium and phosphorus, which are both elements that are essential to human health. In fact, the body needs them to maintain normal function, so it would be impossible for there to be any toxicity associated with this compound.


To sum up, Potassium Phosphates are a kind of salt that is absorbed well by the body. It has good effects on the intestines and can promote bowel movement. It also has functions concerning the digestion of food. Its MSDS says allergic reactions may occur in people who are hypersensitive to Potassium Phosphate; vomiting, diarrhea, and severe respiratory symptoms also may occur.

If you have any questions or feedback about potassium phosphates. Please let us know what you think in the below comments.

Sophie Feng

Sophie Feng

Sophia Feng, Marketing Manager of Grade Chemical, specializes in writing food chemical article, custom chemical article, industry chemical blog.

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