BiologyChemistry

Difference Between Phosphorus and Phosphate

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Main Difference

The main difference between Phosphorus and Phosphate is that Phosphorus is considered an element, whereas Phosphate is considered an anion.

Phosphorus vs. Phosphate

Phosphorus is an element in the periodic table; on the other hand, phosphate is an anion which is made up of oxygen and phosphorus atoms. The phosphorus is formed of only phosphorus atoms; on the contrary, the phosphate is made up of phosphorus and oxygen atoms.

In different types of phosphorus, it can be found as red phosphorus, white phosphorus, and black phosphorus; on the flip side, the phosphate is normally found as orthophosphates, pyrophosphates, polyphosphates, and tripolyphosphates. 30g/mol is considered the molar mass of phosphorus elements, whereas 95g/mol is the molar mass of phosphate anion.

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The oxidation degree of phosphorus is -3, +3, or +5; on the other hand, the oxidation degree of phosphate is -3. Phosphorus produces many simple substances, and the most widely distributed are white phosphorus which consists of P4 molecules which usually contains a crystal atomic lattice; on the flip side, the phosphate ion is considered a polyatomic ion having a tetrahedral arrangement of the atoms, and it contains one phosphorus atom which is located in the center and surrounded by four oxygen atoms.

The chemical symbol of phosphorus is P; on the contrary, the chemical symbol of phosphate ion is PO4. Phosphorus is the raw element that is found in several allotropic forms, while phosphate is the oxoanion of phosphorus, which attaches with the metal cations to produce salts.

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Comparison Chart

PhosphorusPhosphate
Phosphorus is known as a multi-valent nonmetal chemical element of the VA group in the periodic group.Phosphate is known as the chemical derivative of phosphoric acid, which contains the phosphate ion.
Introduction
An element in the periodic tableAn anion which is made up of oxygen, and Phosphorus atoms
Composition
Formed of only phosphorus atomsMade up of phosphorus and oxygen atoms
Different Types
It can be found as red phosphorus, white phosphorus, and black phosphorusNormally found as orthophosphates, pyrophosphates, polyphosphates, and tripolyphosphates
Molar Mass
30g/mol is the molar mass of phosphorus elements95g/mol is the molar mass of phosphate anion
Oxidation Degree
The oxidation degree of phosphorus is -3, +3, or +5The oxidation degree of phosphate is -3
Structure
Produces many simple substances, and the most widely distributed are white phosphorus which consists of P4 molecules which usually contains a crystal atomic latticeConsidered a polyatomic ion having a tetrahedral arrangement of the atoms and it contains one phosphorus atom which is located in the center and surrounded by four oxygen atoms
Chemical Symbol
The chemical symbol is PThe chemical symbol ion is PO4
Formed From
The raw element which is found in several allotropic formsPhosphate is the oxoanion of phosphorus which attaches with the metal cations to produce salts which are known as phosphates
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What is Phosphorus?

Phosphorus is a multi-valent element that is present in the VA group or p-block of the periodic table. Phosphorus has the characteristics of a nonmetal and is normally solid at room temperature. The phosphorus has the atomic number of 15, so the electronic configuration [Ne]3s2sp3.

The two main kinds of phosphorus are red phosphorus and white phosphorus. The white phosphorus contains P4 units that have tetrahedral structures, and normally, they are very reactive. The red phosphorus contains a polymeric structure, and one unit of red phosphorus is almost similar to the tetrahedral structure of white phosphorus.

Phosphorus is considered essential to all living organisms. The phosphorus is known as a major component of DNA and RNA. The phosphorus is also used in the transfer of energy mechanisms which are present inside the body in the form of ATP.

Besides all of this, the types of phosphorus, i.e., white phosphorus and red phosphorus are typically used in the industrial needs like in the formation of metal alloys, side coating of the matchboxes, etc. the phosphorus is highly reactive because it reacts with halogens, oxygen, sulfur, and various other metals. The phosphorus cannot be found as a free element on the Earth because of its high reactivity.

The atom of phosphorus consists of five valence electrons in its outermost shell. The phosphorus contains an oxidation degree of -3 when it reacts with metals and hydrogen, but when it reacts with more electronegative elements such as fluorine and oxygen, the oxidation degrees become +3 or +5.

What is Phosphate?

An anion which is typically made of phosphorus and oxygen s known as phosphate. The chemical symbol of phosphate is given as PO43. The tetrahedral structure is the molecular geometry of a phosphate.

Many compounds of phosphate are considered insoluble in water, but there are many phosphates such as alkali metals that are considered soluble in water because of the high reactivity of the metal atom. Though, the aqueous phosphates are present in three major groups like PO43-, HPO42- and H2PO4.

As concern with their occurrence, they are mainly found as inorganic phosphates, which contains inorganic molecules. The naturally occurring found form of the phosphorus elements is phosphates, which are found in the form of rocks or ores.

The phosphates are mainly used to support the growth of plants; that’s why the phosphates are used as fertilizers. The fertilizers are known as “phosphate fertilizers.” The phosphates are very often used in the formation of special glasses.

The phosphate is known as a polyatomic ion having a tetrahedral arrangement of its atoms. The phosphate contains one phosphorus atom, which is present in the center and mainly surrounded by four oxygen atoms. The phosphate ion contains a molar mass of about 94.97 g/mol.

The phosphate is usually divided into four groups by depending on the number of phosphorus atoms: pyrophosphates, tripolyphosphates, orthophosphates, and polyphosphates. Each of the types contains its particular functional properties.

Key Differences

  1. The multi-valiant nonmetal chemical element of the group VA in a periodic table is phosphorus; on the other hand, the chemical derivative of the phosphoric acid which contains the phosphate ion, and any salt of the phosphorus oxoacid is a phosphate.
  2. Phosphorus has a molar mass of 30.97 g/mol; on the contrary, the phosphate contains the molar mass of about 94.97 g/mol.
  3. The oxidation degree in which phosphorus exhibits is -3, +3, or +5; on the flip side, phosphate exhibits a degree of oxidation of -3.
  4. The white phosphorus which is the type of phosphorus contains the P4 molecules, and the red phosphorus which contains a crystal atomic lattice; on the other hand, as the phosphate has a polyatomic ion with having a tetrahedral arrangement of the certain atoms, contains one phosphorus atom in its center and four oxygen atoms which are surrounding it.
  5. The phosphorus has the symbol of P; on the contrary, the symbol for phosphate is PO4.

Conclusion

The above discussion concludes that phosphorus is an essential component for all living organisms, but it is not found as a pure element in nature because it is found as the main component in the bodies of other animals. The phosphate is considered an anion of oxygen and phosphorus atoms. The basic difference between them is that phosphorus is an element, while phosphate is an anion.

Harlon Moss

Harlon currently works as a quality moderator and content writer for Difference Wiki. He graduated from the University of California in 2010 with a degree in Computer Science. Follow him on Twitter @HarlonMoss

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