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Ammonium bicarbonate is an inorganic compound with formula (NH4)HCO3. It is the bicarbonate salt of the ammonium ion. It is a colourless solid that degrades readily to carbon dioxide, water, and ammonia. Ammonium bicarbonate is used in the food industry as a leavening agent for flat baked goods, such as cookies and crackers. Although there is a slight smell of ammonia during baking, this quickly dissipates, leaving no taste. It is used in, for example, Swedish “drömmar” biscuits and Danish “brunkager” Christmas biscuits, and German Lebkuchen. Compared to baking soda or potash, Ammonium bicarbonate has the advantage of producing more gas for the same amount of agent, and of not leaving any salty or soapy taste in the finished product, as it completely decomposes into water and gaseous products that evaporate during baking. It cannot be used for moist, bulky baked goods however, such as normal bread or cakes since some ammonia will be trapped inside and will cause an unpleasant taste. It has been assigned E number E503 for use as a food additive in the European Union.
Other use includes fire-extinguishing compounds, pharmaceuticals, dyes, pigments, and it is also a basic fertilizer, being a source of ammonia. Ammonium bicarbonate is still widely used in the plastics and rubber industry, in the manufacture of ceramics, in chrome leather tanning, and for the synthesis of catalysts