/fos"fayt/, n.1. Chem.a. (loosely) a salt or ester of phosphoric acid.b. a tertiary salt of orthophosphoric acid, as sodium phosphate.2. Agric. a fertilizing material containing compounds of phosphorus.3. a carbonated drink of water and fruit syrup containing a little phosphoric acid.[1785-95; PHOSPH- + -ATE2]
* * *Any of numerous chemical compounds related to phosphoric acid (H3PO4).Phosphate salts are inorganic compounds containing the phosphate ion (PO43-), the hydrogen phosphate ion (HPO42-), or the dihydrogen phosphate ion (H2PO4-), along with any cation. Phosphate esters are organic compounds in which the hydrogens of phosphoric acid are replaced by organic groups (e.g., methyl, ethyl, phenyl), with one of their carbon atoms bonding to an oxygen atom in the phosphate group. Nucleic acids and ATP both contain phosphate; bones and teeth contain calcium phosphate. Phosphate rock (mainly calcium phosphate) is one of the four most important basic chemical commodities. Phosphates were formerly used in detergents, which washed into rivers and lakes, causing water blooms of algae and bacteria (see eutrophication); such use is now generally outlawed or regulated. Phosphates are still used in fertilizers, baking powder, and toothpaste.
* * *any of numerous chemical compounds related to phosphoric acid (H3PO4). One group of these derivatives is composed of salts containing the phosphate ion (PO43−), the hydrogen phosphate ion (HPO42−), or the dihydrogen phosphate ion (H2PO4−), and positively charged ions such as those of sodium or calcium; a second group is composed of esters, in which the hydrogen atoms of phosphoric acid have been replaced by organic combining groups such as ethyl (C2H5) or phenyl (C6H5).
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