But both Ukraine and Russia, now under heavy international trade sanctions, are also major producers of chemical products, that is leading to shortages that are affecting a wide swathe of industries. Businesses are finding their usual suppliers can no longer source the stock to meet their demands.
For example, agricultural and farming industries as well as the food and drink sector are facing shortages of phosphates. Norkem has long supplied phosphate products to agribusinesses, livestock farmers and food and drink processors. As a global business, we have the benefit of being able to source stock from lots of different places around the world.
This has allowed us to offset shortages triggered in Europe by the war in Ukraine. It has also allowed us to expand our range to source products we haven’t stocked before but which are not as readily available on the market.
One of these is Monocalcium Phosphate, or MCP. This is a highly versatile compound that is used variously as an additive for food stuffs and animal feed, as well as a fertiliser.
Food grade MCP is best known as a leavening agent and an ingredient in baking powder. An acid, it is combined with alkaline sodium bicarbonate and the addition of water triggers the famous reaction that releases carbon dioxide. This is used in baked goods to aerate and add volume.
MCP is popular as a leavening agent because it is not sodium based and has a neutral taste. However, it is very fast acting, releasing 60-70% of its carbon within the first few seconds of the reaction. When a longer proofing is required, it is sometimes combined with slow-release leavening acids to produce double action baking powders. But these slower acting acids are sodium based and therefore add taste.
Food grade MCP is a common ingredient in non yeast-based leavened products such as biscuits, cakes, cookies, pancakes and flatbreads, as well as self-raising flour. It is vegan and gluten free.
As an additive for livestock and poultry feed, MCP is an important source of calcium and phosphorus. Calcium is vital for healthy bone development in all animals. Phosphorus, meanwhile, is a multi-purpose nutrient that plays a vital role in many areas of animal health, including metabolism, cell growth, fertility, nervous and immune systems etc.
Likewise, MCP is a popular fertiliser because it offers the highest phosphorus content of any non-nitrogen based fertiliser, and is therefore ideal for crops that don’t need additional nitrogen. As with animals, phosphorus plays a number of important roles in plant health, including promoting healthy tissue growth and regulating protein synthesis.
As well as MCP, we continue supplying MKP, or monopotassium phosphate, to agricultural clients in the UK. As well as phosphorus, MKP provides crops with potassium, another vital nutrient that promotes enzyme activity, in turn helping to control a huge range of processes that mean a plant can grow, respire, absorb water and other nutrients.
As always, quality, sustainability and safety are at the heart of all the chemicals we supply. We work to guarantee all the products we source conform to internationally accepted standards and reach our clients in the best possible condition. Contact our sales team to find out more.