Last updated: March 15, 2017

What Does Phosphonate Mean?

Phosphonates, also referred to as phosphonic acids, are a broad family of organic molecules related to phosphorus. A variety of phosphonates occur naturally in many organisms, including plants.


Maximum Yield Explains Phosphonate

The primary metabolic functions of phosphonates in organisms include cell signaling, metabolism of cell membrane molecules, and the biological synthesis of naturally produced antibiotics. Some bacteria, fungi, and yeasts can break down phosphonates so they can use them as a food source and/or a form of usable phosphorus.

Phosphonates are highly soluble in water, exhibit strong adsorption, have the ability to sequester (chelate) metal ions, and the ability to modify hard-water deposits. They show resistance to corrosion and oxidation, and remain stable under harsh conditions such as acidity and extreme temperatures. Phosphonates are also compatible with other chemicals and components in detergents.

Many commercial products contain phosphonates, including glyphosate, the herbicide Roundup, and ethephon, which is a widely used plant growth regulator.

Bisphosphonates are popular for use as a treatment of osteoporosis.



Phosphonic Acids

Share this Term

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter

Related Reading


Plant NutritionPlant Growth

Trending Articles

Go back to top
Maximum Yield Logo

You must be 19 years of age or older to enter this site.

Please confirm your date of birth:

This feature requires cookies to be enabled