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Calcium phosphate is the name given to a family of minerals containing calcium ions (Ca2+) together with orthophosphates (PO43-), metaphosphates or pyrophosphates (P2O74-) and occasionally hydrogen or hydroxide ions.
Varieties of Calcium Phosphate[edit | edit source]
|Tricalcium phosphate||Ca3(PO4)2 (also called tribasic calcium phosphate; occurs in alpha and beta phases, beta also known as Whitlockite)|
|Dicalcium phosphate||CaHPO4 (also called calcium monohydrogen phosphate)|
|Calcium dihydrogen phosphate||Ca(H2PO4)2 (also called monocalcium phosphate)|
|Calcium pyrophosphate||Ca2P2O7 (occurs as alpha, beta and gamma phases)|
Natural Abundance[edit | edit source]
It is found in nature as a rock in Morocco, Israel, Egypt, and Kola (Russia) and in smaller quantities in some other countries. The natural form is not completely pure, and there are some other components like sand and lime which can change the composition. In terms of P2O5, most calcium phosphate rocks have a content of 30 % to 40 % P2O5 in weight.
Uses[edit | edit source]
Calcium phosphate is also a raising agent (food additives) E341. Is a mineral salt found in rocks and bones, it is used in cheese products. No known side effects.
Another practical application of the compound is its use in gene transfection. The calcium ions can make a cell competent (a euphemism for "rip holes in its membrane") to allow exogenous genes to enter the cell by diffusion. A heat shock afterwards then invokes the cell to repair itself. This is a quick and easy method for transfection, albeit a rather inefficient one.
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