sodium polyphosphate is a salt resulting from the condensation of a number of simple phosphates joined together. It is a hydrophilic agent that stabilizes moisture in food and increases the tenderness of meat, fish and poultry.

It is also used in cured and smoked meats to keep them moist, preventing spoilage. It helps prevent crystals from forming in canned tuna and helps intensify flavors of processed meats.

A common form of sodium polyphosphate is glassy tripolyphosphate, or “glassy tpp”. It can be used as an emulsifier and buffering agent in the formulation of a wide range of food products including bakery mixes and cheeses, sauces and spreads.

There are many different kinds of sodium polyphosphate, ranging from low molecular weight to crystalline high molecular weight substances. Most are manufactured by heating monosodium orthophosphate with phosphoric acid in a spray drying process to produce sodium tripolyphosphate.

Alternatively, STPP can be produced using a dry, single stage method in which the phosphoric acid is neutralised with soda ash and a small quantity of recycled STPP. This mixture is then dried and calcined to obtain sodium tripolyphosphate.

Polyphosphates have an important role in the halting of dental calculus formation. They are able to chelate (trap) calcium ions in the oral cavity, so that they cannot be mineralised and integrated into the dental calculus matrix.

sodium polyphosphates are also used to prepare the bowel for colonoscopy (the procedure to examine the inside of the large intestine). They help dissolve waste and prevent blockages in the bowel so that the doctor can see its walls. They are safe to use in most people.

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