In chemistry, phosphate is an anion, salt, functional group, or ester derived from phosphoric acid. It most commonly means orthophosphate, a derivative of orthophosphoric acid H 3PO4.

Phosphate rock is processed to produce phosphorous, which is one of the three main nutrients most commonly used in fertilizers (the other two are nitrogen and potassium). Phosphate can also be turned into phosphoric acid, which is used in everything from food and cosmetics to animal feed and electronics.


Phosphate, 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those of sodium or calcium; a second group is composed of esters, in which the hydrogen atoms of phosphoric acid have been replaced by organic combining groups such as ethyl (C2H5) or phenyl (C6H5).


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