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Add coverage of:

  • Environmental impact
    • Mining
    • Wastewater
    • Bans in U.S., EU, etc.
  • Uses
    • Fertilizer
    • Detergents
    • Food
    • Others?
A lot of that information was there a while back, but there was a series of vandalism that removed it. I don't feel comfortable enough in my Wiki skills to try to reinstate it, but someone else is welcome to try. It's at "Revision as of 17:12, 6 December 2007 (edit) (undo) (talk) (→Uses)Next edit → " This location might be plus or minus one edit maybe, so much going on it's hard to tell. You can certainly see it earlier in the year about the time I added a paragraph on food use (Sept 2007) but there was also mining, fertilizer, etc. info there Sigh NNNs (talk) 15:13, 10 April 2009 (UTC)


The Geochemistry of phosphates paragraph contains a bit about the distribution of rock phosphate over the world. This part needs a rewrite. It focuses mainly on the USA, and is incomplete in it's description the rest of the world. According to this [2] by the U.S. Geological Survey, China is the second largest producer in de World, but China is not even mentioned. (talk) 12:49, 18 October 2009 (UTC)

Just to agree and reiterate, China's production rate of phosphate rock (amongst other related substances) over the last 2 years eclipse those of the US - China is now by far the worlds largest producer (approximately 50,000,000 metric tons in 2008 according to a recent academic enquiry) and holds the second largest reserve base (almost triple US reserve figures). Given this, to ignore China, in terms of supply and impact on trade is quite misleading, and focusing on American elements is absurd. China and Morocco together account for around 2/3rds of the entire global supply of phosphate. So I would agree with the comment above and also refer any readers to the US Geological Survey, Mineral Commodity Summaries, January 2009. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Pobnoonmunch (talkcontribs) 03:53, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

Not a complex[edit]

If a complex in is a metal coordinated entity, how can phosphate be a complex ion? No metal. The older chemical meaning of the term radical seems appropriate, though. - Dwmyers

Ecological destruction[edit]

...there should be mention of phosphate mining's ecological destruction, especially in small south pacific islands which have been devastated.

It is shocking that no mention is made of the flouride effusions of the phosphate extraction process. See here: [1] Phosphate mining is reportedly the primary source of the hydroflourosalycic acid dumped in municipal water supplies, but otherwise deemed a hazardous waste product by the EPA. Kenfree (talk) 17:42, 7 October 2014 (UTC)


Phosphate expressed as a functional group[edit]

Consider adding:

In a phosphate group, a phosphorous atom is bonded to four oxygen atoms; one oxygen is bonded to the carbon skeleton; two oxygens carry negative charges. The phosphate group (—OPO32-) is an ionized form of a phosphoric acid group (—OPO3H2; note the two hydrogens). Organic phosphates, unlike the hydrogenphosphate ion HPO42−, which is the conjugate base of H2PO4−, typically do not express Hydrogen before the Phosphate; —OPO32- reveals that the anterior oxygen is bound to the carbon skeleton.

Niubrad 21:33, 4 September 2006 (UTC)

Phosphates - The Drink[edit]

I was looking for information on the old-timey concoction that they used to call a "phosphate". I'm frankly not sure if there is any actual phosphate in a phosphate (there probably was, as phosphoric acid, to add a "tart" flavor to the drink). I got the following from the "Free Online Dictionary":

3. A soda fountain drink made by blending carbonated water with flavored syrup.

It doesn't mention phosphate as an ingredient, but I found a number of references to Coke and Pepsi as being high in phosphates (read The health effects of drinking soda - quotes from the experts). I also found on this page that "Coke and other soft drinks are acidified with phosphoric acid[...]"

Of course, this goes on the assumption that a "phosphate" was a type of soft drink similar to what we call soft drinks or soda pop today. The only fact that I am sure of is that it was something created at a "soda fountain" (which I believe was also often the local pharmacy). I have a bunch of disparate information, but nothing solid that I could use to update the Phosphate entry or start a new derivation.

I'm hoping this will spark someone with real knowledge to do so.

Some soda fountains of the fifties kept a bottle of "phosphate" near the spot where soft drinks were concocted, and a customer could order, for example, a cherry coke with phosphate. One drop would add some tartness; two drops resulted in a major pucker. Cherry cokes were a prime candidate for this treatment as the cherry flavoring lent an abundance of sweetness. The phosphate, whatever it was, was a clear thin liquid.

NOTE: A phosphate may also be a soda fountain drink, composed of mineral water and a flavored syrup. I suggest to remove this sentence in the lead. From my understanding this article is about the chemical compund, not a soda drink. If that drink is really worth mentioning in any encyclopedia (never heard of it before) it might get its own entry. Any objections? --Splette Happyjoe.jpg Talk 17:27, 31 August 2006 (UTC)

No objection. I'm removing it. =) JohnJohn 19:16, 31 August 2006 (UTC)

While I do not object to that removal, I have heard of phosphate drinks. I have read in several books old folks speaking of buying phosphates at the drug store. has several definitions that refer to the drink:

a carbonated drink of water and fruit syrup containing a little phosphoric acid.

Basically, it's a soda. Prometheus-X303- 00:21, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

It may be a regional term. In May 2008 I visited the Pearl Soda Fountain in La Crosse, Wisconsin, USA, which offered to serve phosphates. An employee (the "soda jerk", right?) confirmed that a phosphate was carbonated water and syrup. He did not mention any actual phosphate or acidifying agent. Ideally there should be a disambiguating entry and a separate page on the beverage, if anyone has good information. Cafewalter 6:08, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

I am 75 and I can remember back in the 30's when I was a little boy and my mother worked in Wall Greens. They had phosphate soda Drinks, Cherry phosphate was popular. I never knew what went into one, and when I was watching the Music Man last night,Shirley Jones at the soda fountain asked for a Cherry Phosphate. So I decide to check here on Wikipedia to see what it was made of, but to my surprise it looks like everyone has forgotten that era. Signalman75 (talk) 03:58, 10 October 2011 (UTC)

See phosphate soda. Cherry phosphate, used a mixed salt that incorporated the hydrogenated phosphate ion as its source of phosphoric acid. In modern times this was superceded by other acidifiers like citric acid. For future reference, you're likely to get a more comprehensive aswer from the science reference desk. Plasmic Physics (talk) 04:26, 10 October 2011 (UTC)


What's a phosphonate? I know they are something to do with detergents but how (if at all) do they differ from phosphates

a phosphonate is an organic phosphate salt, a phosphate is always an inorganic compound

Phosphate in foods[edit]

Is it really necessary to add phosphates into food?

Depends on your definition of necessary. Is it necessary to have fluffy pancakes, refrigerated biscuits or lunchmeat that doesn't turn into shoe leather? (That's a matter of opinion) Can you substitute it with other nonphosphate compounds that may or may not be as effective or economical? (Possibly)Is it necessary to add it nutritionally? (Probably get enough from a normal diet, but would have to check before stating that as a fact) Sigh NNNs 17:12, 12 September 2007 (UTC)

Molecular mass[edit]

The molecular weight of the phosphate ion (PO4) is, in fact, approximately 94.97 Daltons (30.97 + 16.00 + 16.00 + 16.00 + 16.00) — despite some subtle vandalism to the contrary. Twisted86 06:21, 21 September 2006 (UTC)


what are the top two uses of phosphate? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 16:15, August 21, 2007 (UTC)


When it is described as a "salt", salt is linked to the page on salt (i.e. sodium chloride). I believe it would be more useful if the page was directed to the chemical definition of salt. k1-UK-Global 20:20, 5 September 2007 (UTC)

What is Phosphate used for ?[edit]

All it says is that it is important in chemistry and biochemistry, but not how or why. Would it be possible for someone to add some examples of where it is used in industry for example ? --Biatch (talk) 01:22, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

We need coverage of Phosphate as Fertilizer[edit]

Under the topic of fertilizer wiki only states that there is a risk of cd or uranium contaimation, we need discussion of the sources and chemistry of phosphate fertilizers and the topic super phoshate. (talk) —Preceding comment was added at 18:09, 9 March 2008 (UTC)


Refer from Buffering agent, which said: "Buffering agents in humans, functioning in acid-base homeostasis, are extracellular agents (e.g., bicarbonate, ammonia) as well as intracellular agents (including proteins and phosphate)." The important thing is, what kind of phosphate in the cell of human body that work as a buffer? I think this Phosphate article should be expanded to cover that kind of example... Ivan Akira (talk) 10:16, 16 March 2008 (UTC)

Refer from my last talk, I found that the buffering agent from phosphate in the human cell are NaH2PO4- and H2PO4-, please consider this to improve this article. Ivan Akira (talk) 09:06, 17 March 2008 (UTC)

Clean up[edit]

I will clean up this article to meet Wikipedia article quality standard.

For the contributors with IP, I want to tell that signing (add four tilda sign) with your name (or IP number) inside the article is not a proper way in contributing, your changes/contribution will be showed in the history page so do not signing inside the article, signing only permited in the discussion page. Thank you for your contribution, but don't let this message stop your contribution, okay! Ivan Akira (talk) 11:34, 13 April 2008 (UTC)


Someone murdered the opening paragraph by replacing it with random typing. I think I changed it back correctly though. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:37, 27 September 2008 (UTC)

An error in the section "Chemical properties"[edit]

It started as follows: For a strongly-basic pH (pH=13), we find showing that only PO43− and HPO42− are in significant amounts. But if you compared these results, then I think that the first two schemes and their numbers have to begin with minus --Dj Capricorn (talk) 18:47, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

Fascinating New Scientist article on primordial soup and the role of phosphate[edit]

Have a look at The third last paragraph mentions the role of phosphate as a catalyst and buffer, before it participates in the creation of ribonucleotides (RNA). We should work this new information into the article (somehow). (talk) 10:18, 14 May 2009 (UTC)Tim

phosphate is amazong

North Carolina has the most phosphate?[edit]

The article indicates there are lesser amounts in Florida, etc. I believe this is incorrect. To my knowledge (and according to other Wiki articles), Florida has the largest phosphate deposits in North America. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:30, 31 August 2010 (UTC)

Uranium contamination of fertilizer phosphate[edit]

Here in Germany, the use of uranium-contaminated standard phosphate fertilizers in farming has been linked to significantly raised uranium levels in the drinking water of some areas.[1] It has lead to recommendations to use bottled water for baby food, instead of tap water. If anybody knows of similar research in other countries, it might be recommendable to give this an extra paragraph in the article. TurnspitDawg (talk) 13:18, 10 September 2012 (UTC)


  1. ^ [1]

Quantum structure??[edit]

Inexpertly, the central Phosphorous (P) atom must lose an electron (P+), so as to have a 4-electron valence shell, like carbon (which can also form four tetrahedral bonds). Then, each of the four Oxygen (O) atoms must gain an electron (O-), so as to have a 7-electron valence shell, like Fluorine (which can also form single bonds). Thus, is not the quantum structure of Phosphate (P+)(O-)4 ? (talk) 06:16, 4 October 2012 (UTC)


I clicked on "orthophosphate" (really, just to find out what the "ortho-" means) and got "Phosphate". I knew enough to try "ortho acid", but maybe a lot of people don't?... ---lifeform (talk) 03:52, 19 October 2014 (UTC)

Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Phosphate/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

Rated "top" as highschool/SAT biology content ("phosphate group" redirects here). - tameeria 20:38, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

Last edited at 20:38, 28 April 2007 (UTC). Substituted at 02:53, 30 April 2016 (UTC)