Properties and Uses of Potassium Bromate

What exactly is Potassium Bromate?

Potassium bromate (KBrO3) is a bromate of potassium that appears as white crystals or powder and it is a powerful oxidizing agent which can be easily reduced to bromide. It is the potassium salt of bromate, and it is widely available in high purity. It acts as an effective brominating agent in the substitution reaction.

Note: Potassium bromate(V), Bromic acid, Potassium salt are some of its alternate names.

Properties of Potassium Bromate

Physical Properties of Potassium Bromate 

  1. The molar mass of potassium bromate is 167.00 g/mol, and its density is 3.27 g/cm3.
  2. It has a boiling point of 370°C.
  3. It has a melting point of 350°C.

Potassium Bromate’s Chemical Properties

  1. Potassium Bromate has the chemical formula KBrO3.
  2. It has no odor and is a white crystalline powder.
  3. It is only slightly soluble in alcohol and completely insoluble in acetone and ethanol.
  4. Potassium bromate reacts with sodium bromate in the presence of dilute acid solution to form bromine. The corresponding chemical equation for potassium bromate is given below.

         BrO3– + 5Br– + 6H+ → 3Br2 + 3H2O

Uses of Potassium Bromate

  1. It is used as a bromine source. Standard potassium bromate can be used directly to make an indefinitely stable standard solution.
  2. Potassium bromate is used as an antiseptic and astringent in toothpaste, mouthwashes, and gargles.
  3. Potassium bromate is primarily used as a flour and dough conditioner; however, it is also used in analytical chemistry as an oxidizing agent and as a brominating agent.
  4. It aids in the production of uniformly white bread.
  5. It is used to improve flour.
  6. It is used in the manufacture of malt barley.
  7. It is a good source of bromine.
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Hazardous Effects of Potassium Bromate

Potassium Bromate is a type of chemical that is moderately toxic. Ingestion of potassium bromate results in nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, respiratory stimulation, a drop in body temperature, methemoglobinemia, and renal damage. It has been reported to cause gum inflammation and bleeding when used in toothpaste.

Here Are Some Additional Facts About Potassium Bromate:

  1. It is not permitted or prohibited for use as a food additive in several countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada, Brazil, and the European Union.
  2. The state of California requires potassium bromate-containing foods to bear a warning label.
  3. In laboratory animal studies, potassium bromate exposure increased the incidence of both benign and malignant thyroid and peritoneal tumors.
  4. Potassium bromate may also disrupt the genetic material within cells.
  5. To no one’s surprise, the food industry claims potassium bromate is completely safe. It claims that during the baking process, potassium bromate is converted into potassium bromide, a similar but non-carcinogenic chemical.
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Frequently Asked Questions- FAQs

Why is potassium bromate harmful to your health?

In nature, potassium bromate is considered carcinogenic; it has been linked to kidney, thyroid, and gastrointestinal cancer in animals and such substances may also have the potential to harm human reproduction.

What foods are high in potassium bromate?

Potassium bromate is mostly found in flour-based foods. It can be found in bread, flour, pizza dough, and buns, among other things. Potassium bromate was identified as a possible human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer in 1999. Potassium bromate is allowed in food as long as it does not exceed 750 parts per million, according to the FDA.

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Is Potassium Bromate Soluble in Water?

Potassium bromate is an ionic compound. Water and other polar solvents dissolve it. It ionizes in water, producing K+ and BrO3- ions.

Is bromine Harmful to the Thyroid?

Bromine overexposure can result in hypothyroidism. Bromine displaces iodine in your body when consumed in irregular amounts. Iodine deficiency can increase your risk of developing breast, thyroid, ovary, and prostate cancer.

What happens when potassium bromate is heated?

When potassium bromate is heated, a decomposition reaction occurs. It emits highly toxic bromate anion and K2O fumes during decomposition.

What is the effect of potassium bromate in humans? 

Potassium Bromate has the potential to irritate the lungs. Repeated exposure can lead to bronchitis, which includes a cough, phlegm, and/or shortness of breath.

What is the purpose of potassium bromate in bread?

Potassium bromate has a significant effect on food biomolecules such as starch and protein, affecting the extent of gelatinization, viscosity, swelling characteristics, and gluten proteins; it removes the sulfhydryl group, resulting in the formation of disulfide linkages, which improves bread properties.