Also known as mono-calcium phosphate, di-calcium phosphate or tricalcium phosphate
What is Calcium Phosphate?
Calcium phosphate is a family of compounds which contain calcium and phosphate groups. Different variations are used as flour additives, acidulants, dough conditioners, anticaking, buffering and leavening agents as well as yeast nutrients and nutritional supplements. 1
In baking, calcium phosphate is often a part of baking powder along with sodium bicarbonate.1 Three main calcium phosphate salts are used in foods:1
- Monocalcium phosphate with Ca:P ratio of 0.68:1
- Dicalcium phosphate Ca:P ratio of 1.31:1
- Tricalcium phosphate Ca:P ratio of 2.21:1
The development of phosphates as food additives took place between 1930 – 1960.1,3 They occur naturally in rocks. Commercially, it is made from phosphorus rock and calcium salts with phosphoric acid.1
As an odorless powder, this ingredient serves several functions in baked goods:1,3
- Anticaking and moisture control agent: prevents powder caking, lumping or agglomeration.
- Dough strengthener: modifies starch and gluten to provide a more stable dough.
- Firming agent: prevents the collapse during processing.
- Flour bleaching treatment
- Leavening aid: provides food for yeast.
- Nutrient supplement: provides calcium for nutritional value.
- Stabilizer and thickener: provides body and improved consistency.
- Texturizer: improves baked good texture.
- pH regulator: works as a pH buffer and processing aid.
- Acidulant: acts as an acid in leavening with sodium bicarbonate.
- Sequestrant of minerals that may catalyze lipid oxidation.
- Antioxidant synergist: enhances calcium propionate effect.
- Coloring adjunct: aids in the preservation of color in coatings.
Calcium phosphate plays a vital role in cell functioning as well as building bones. Daily consumption up to 1000 mg of calcium is considered safe by the FDA. Allowed daily intake (ADI) of 0 – 70 mg/kg of total phosphorus is recommended by FAO/WHO.1
It is commercially produced through two process, depending on the type:2
Monocalcium and dicalcium phosphate
- Reaction: defluorinated phosphoric acid is mixed with high quality limestone or other calcium salts in a reaction vessel.
- Drying: calcium phosphate is separated and the crystals are then dried.
- Grinding: anhydrous calcium phosphate is ground to desired particle size.
- Coating: the granules are covered with a phosphate based coating
- Calcination: phosphate rock is mixed with phosphoric acid and sodium hydroxide in a reaction vessel followed by heating to high temperatures.
- Grinding: calcium phosphate is ground to desired particle size.
Calcium phosphate has different uses in baked goods depending on the compound selected. It is mainly used as an acidulant in baking powders, and a nutritional supplement in different breads and flours.1,3
When using calcium phosphate some consideration must be taken into account:1,3
- Fast- acting acid: used in a ratio of 1.5:1 by weight of sodium bicarbonate.
- Firming agent: provides calcium to pectin gels in jams and fillings.
- Mold inhibitor: enhances the action of calcium propionate.
Typical calcium phosphate usage levels in common food products:1,3
|Food Product||Calcium Phosphate form||Usage Level|
|Bakery Products||Monocalcium phosphate||0.75 % of flour weight|
|Bromated flour enrichment||Monocalcium phosphate||0.25-0.75% of flour weight|
|Flour enrichment||Monocalcium phosphate||0.25-0.75% of flour weight|
|Flour (as acidulant for leavening)||Monocalcium phosphate||4.5% of flour weight|
|Corn meal (as acidulant for leavening)||Monocalcium phosphate||4.5% of flour weight|
|Flour enrichment||Dicalcium phosphate||Total calcium 960 mg per pound|
|Flour||Dicalcium phosphate||<6% of flour weight with a bleaching agent (1%)|
|Flour||Tricalcium phosphate||<6% of flour weight with a bleaching agent (1%)|
|Vanilla powder (as an anticaking agent)||Tricalcium phosphate||2% of vanilla powder weight|
In the US, calcium phosphate (mono -, di – and tribasic) is considered GRAS by the FDA for its direct addition to food products at levels that do not exceed good manufacturing practices.4
In the EU, it is (E 341 (i-iii)) is considered safe and is regulated by the EU Commission No 231/2012.5
- Smith, Jim, and Hong-Shum,L. Food additives data book. 2 nd ed., John Wiley & Sons, 2011.
- Toama, H. Z. “World phosphate industry.” Iraqi Bulletin of Geology and Mining 7 (2017): 5-23.
- Burdock, G.A. Encyclopedia of food and color additives. Vol. 1. CRC press, 1997.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.” Substances Generally Recognized As Safe”.Title 21 Code of Federal Regulation, Part. 182. April 2019. Available at https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=182.1217 . Accessed 19 October 2020.
- European Commission (EC). Commission Regulation No231/2012 laying down specifications for food additives listed in Annexes II and III to Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council . Official Journal of European Communities, 09 March 2012.
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