What is Disodium Diphosphate?

By Janin Santa
Disodium diphosphate makes breads rise.
Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Eric

Disodium diphosphate is a chemical additive and preservative. It has many aliases. Disodium diphosphate also is known as disodium dihydrogen diphosphate, disodium dihydrogen pyrophosphate and disodium pyrophosphate. It also has the name sodium acid pyrophosphate. This chemical is an odorless white powder and, because it has a valance of greater than two, it can bond to many other chemicals.

Conversion

It can covert sodium nitrite into nitrogen dioxide. Sodium nitrite is a colorless or yellowish hydrophilic salt that is a meat preservative and an antidote for cyanide poisoning. It can widen blood vessels as well. Nitrogen dioxide is a strongly oxidizing, poisonous reddish-brown gas. This is one area in which conversion to another substance is not needed

GRAS

Disodium diphosphate either colors food or prevents discoloration. It is used to color hot dogs in their packaging. It also is used in commercially packaged hash browns to prevent the potato from oxidizing and browning. It is a generally recognized as safe (GRAS) substance in the use of food, but there are warnings of excessive use because it may lead to imbalanced levels of minerals in the body and bone loss.

Baking Bread

Disodium diphosphate is used in canned seafood to retain color and to prevent decomposition during transport from the production plant to stores. It also is used as a leavening agent for different kinds of breads. A leavening agent is a substance that acts like yeast to make bread rise.

Industrial Uses

Disodium diphosphate is a buffering agent and a Lewis base, a base that gives away electrons, drawing it near to other compounds. It neutralizes other substances. It also has industrial uses. It can remove iron stains and stabilize hydrogen peroxide. It is used to clean the machine used in dairy farms. It also is used to remove hair from pigs and feathers from poultry before they are led to slaughter. It is used in making plastics, too.

Making Cheese

Disodium diphosphate is added to rennet casein as a food preservative and to make certain foods edible. Rennet is the lining of cattle stomach (tripe) used for curdling milk. Casein is a phosphoprotein of milk. It is produced when rennet curdles milk. Disodium diphosphate also makes milk curdle or coagulate and is used as a principal substance in making cheese.

About the Author

During 17 years, Janin Santa won a scholarship for writing a science fiction short story and illustrated and published her own children's book, "Different Animals." She has CMA training, CNA training and graphic arts skills. She is working on a second children's book, "Dancing Pictures."