Tricalcium phosphate, also known as bone phosphate of lime, is a calcium salt of phosphoric acid. It appears as a white, odorless and tasteless powder and is stable in air. It is used as a free-flow control agent for food products such as table salt. It is also used in nutritional supplements to provide for calcium and phosphates.
Tricalcium phosphate occurs naturally as a rock in various countries, cow’s milk and skeletons of vertebrate animals. It is often found naturally with traces of other substances like lime and sand.
Commercially, it is produced by treating hydroxyapatite using slaked lime and phosphoric acid. Subsequently, the product is processed through two different decomposition reactions before it is obtained as crystalline tricalcium phosphate via calcination.
It is widely used as an additive in powdered spices and acts as an anti-caking agent. TCP is used as a rising agent and as a powdered species as an anticaking agent. It adds smoothness and opacity to reduced fat liquids and foods. Tricalcium phosphate is also used to increase calcium levels in dairy products, juice and is used in the preparation of cheese products, candy, wine and other beverages.
It is used in treatments such as tissue replacement when medical practices such as autogenous bone graft are not feasible. It is also used as nutritional supplement.
Tricalcium phosphate is used as an important raw material for the production of fertilizer grade in the agriculture applications.