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Sodium bicarbonate (IUPAC name: sodium hydrogencarbonate), commonly known as baking soda or bicarbonate of soda, is a chemical compound with the formula NaHCO3. It is a salt composed of a sodium cation (Na+) and a bicarbonate anion (HCO3−). Sodium bicarbonate is a white solid that is crystalline, but often appears as a fine powder. It has a slightly salty, alkaline taste resembling that of washing soda (sodium carbonate). The natural mineral form is nahcolite. It is a component of the mineral natron and is found dissolved in many mineral springs
Because it has long been known and widely used, the salt has many different names such as baking soda, bread soda, cooking soda, and bicarbonate of soda and can often be found near baking powder in stores. The term baking soda is more common in the United States, while bicarbonate of soda is more common in Australia, United Kingdom and Ireland. and in many northern/central European countries it is called Natron. Abbreviated colloquial forms such as sodium bicarb, bicarb soda, bicarbonate, and bicarb are common.
Although the minimum temperature for germination is 10°C, germination will be faster and less variable at a soil temperature of 16°C to 18°C. At 20°C, maize should emerge within five to six days. Yield is reduced if the temperature reaches about 32°C.
At the other extreme, frost can damage maize at all growth stages, and a frost-free period of 120 to 140 days is required to prevent damage. A yield of 3,2t/ha requires between 350mm and 450mm of rain per annum. At maturity, each plant will have used 250ℓ of water in the absence of moisture stress.
In cooking, baking soda is primarily used in baking as a leavening agent. When it reacts with acid, carbon dioxide is released, which causes expansion of the batter and forms the characteristic texture and grain in cakes, quick breads, soda bread, and other baked and fried foods.
Acidic materials that induce this reaction include hydrogen phosphates, cream of tartar, lemon juice, yogurt, buttermilk, cocoa, and vinegar. Baking soda may be used together with sourdough, which is acidic, making a lighter product with a less acidic taste.
Baking powder, also sold for cooking, contains around 30% of bicarbonate, and various acidic ingredients which are activated by the addition of water, without the need for additional acids in the cooking medium. Many forms of baking powder contain sodium bicarbonate combined with calcium acid phosphate, sodium aluminium phosphate, or cream of tartar.Baking soda is alkaline; the acid used in baking powder avoids a metallic taste when the chemical change during baking creates sodium carbonate.
Sodium bicarbonate is one of the main components of the common "black snake" firework. The effect is caused by the thermal decomposition, which produces carbon dioxide gas to produce a long snake-like ash as a combustion product of the other main component, sucrose. Sodium bicarbonate is also used to delay combustion reactions by releasing CO2 and H2O when heated, both of which are flame retardants.
Sodium bicarbonate can be used to extinguish small grease or electrical fires by being thrown over the fire, as heating of sodium bicarbonate releases carbon dioxide. However, it should not be applied to fires in deep fryers; the sudden release of gas may cause the grease to splatter. Sodium bicarbonate is used in BC dry chemical fire extinguishers as an alternative to the more corrosive monoammonium phosphate in ABC extinguishers. The alkaline nature of sodium bicarbonate makes it the only dry chemical agent, besides Purple-K, that was used in large-scale fire suppression systems installed in commercial kitchens. Because it can act as an alkali, the agent has a mild saponification effect on hot grease, which forms a smothering, soapy foam.