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    what is ammonium bicarbonate?

    what is ammonium bicarbonate?

    ammonium bicarbonate - bakery

    Ammonium bicarbonate, often known as ammonium hydrogen carbonate or ABC, plays a pivotal role in several industries, particularly food production.

    what is ammonium bicarbonate?

    Ammonium bicarbonate (NH4HCO3) is a white crystalline compound that leavens in various baking applications. It is known for its unique ability to decompose into carbon dioxide, ammonia, and water upon heating, which makes it particularly useful in cooking and baking.

    Historical Context and Production

    • Historical Use: Initially, ammonium bicarbonate was derived from distilling ammonium compounds from natural substances such as hair and horn, primarily in Scandinavia and Germany.
    • Modern Production: Today, it is synthesized through ammonia’s direct reaction with water’s carbon dioxide. This process yields a solution that, when cooled, crystallizes into ammonium bicarbonate.

    Chemical Properties of Ammonium Bicarbonate

    • Molecular Structure: NH4HCO3
    • Molecular Weight: 79.056 g/mol
    • Decomposition: It decomposes at temperatures above 36°C, releasing ammonia, carbon dioxide, and water vapor. This reaction is crucial for its use in baking, as it allows for the leavening of dough and batter by producing gas bubbles.

    What Is Ammonium Bicarbonate Used For?

    Ammonium bicarbonate is a multifaceted compound with significant applications in the food industry as a leavening agent, in agriculture as a nitrogen fertilizer, and across various industrial sectors, including manufacturing, fire safety, cleaning, leather processing, and pharmaceuticals. Its wide range of uses is attributed to its chemical properties, including its ability to release carbon dioxide and ammonia under certain conditions and its role as a nitrogen and pH regulator source.

    Food Industry

    Leavening Agent: Ammonium bicarbonate is widely used in the bakery industry as a leavening agent. It is especially preferred for low-moisture products like cookies, crackers, and biscuits. Unlike baking soda or baking powder, ammonium bicarbonate does not leave an alkaline taste in these products, making it perfect for flat baked goods.

    Stabilizing and Acid Regulating: Ammonium bicarbonate is used in the food industry as a stabilizer and acid regulator, in addition to its leavening properties. It helps to maintain the desired pH and texture in food products.

    ammonium bicarbonate - leavening agent


    Nitrogen Fertilizer: Ammonium bicarbonate can be used as a nitrogen fertilizer in agriculture. It provides ammonium, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide essential for crop growth. This application is particularly beneficial for growing crops such as grains, vegetables, fruits, and nuts in various soils.

    Ammonia Fertilizer: Ammonium bicarbonate is not only used as a nitrogen fertilizer but also as an inexpensive source of ammonia in the fertilizer industry.

    Industrial Applications

    Manufacturing: Ammonium bicarbonate is utilized in the production of plastics, rubber, dyes, ceramics, and pigments due to its chemical properties that aid in the manufacturing process of these materials.

    Fire Extinguishers and Cleaning Products: It is used in fire extinguishers and cleaning products due to its chemical composition, which makes it practical for quenching fires and cleaning surfaces.

    Leather Processing: The leather industry uses the compound as a buffer to aid in processing leather products.

    Pharmaceutical Industry

    Extractant of Vitamin B1 and Ampicillin Intermediate: The pharmaceutical industry uses ammonium bicarbonate as an extractant for vitamin B1 and as an intermediate in synthesizing ampicillin, an antibiotic.

    what is ammonium bicarbonate?

    Ammonium Bicarbonate Advantages in Baking

    • Efficiency in Gas Release: Unlike other leavening agents that may leave a residue, ammonium bicarbonate fully decomposes, which means it does not impact the taste or texture of the final product.
    • Specific Application: It is particularly valued in recipes requiring quick expansion and where residual moisture from other leavening agents might be detrimental.

    Is Ammonium Bicarbonate Safe

    • Safety: While it is safe for consumption in regulated amounts, it can irritate if it comes into contact with the skin or eyes or is inhaled in raw form.
    • Handling: Proper industrial hygiene practices should be followed to handle ammonium bicarbonate safely, including using protective gear and ensuring adequate ventilation.

    Regulatory Aspects

    FDA Regulations: In the United States, ammonium bicarbonate is classified under the Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) category by the FDA, underscoring its safety for use in food products within prescribed limits.


    Ammonium bicarbonate’s role as a specialized leavening agent makes it invaluable in producing quality baked goods with specific textural requirements. Its comprehensive understanding is crucial for its practical and safe use in various industrial applications. As a significant participant in the food addition, Mondstar supplies food-grade ammonium bicarbonate.

    Related Posts:
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    2. Ammonium Bicarbonate Buying Guide

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