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Potassium metabisulfite, also called potassium pyrosulfite, is a white crystalline powder that possesses a pungent odor. It is used as a chemical sterilant or an antioxidant. It can be used as an alternative to sodium metabisulfite as it is a disulfite. Potassium metabisulfite is generally preferred as it does not add sodium to the diet. Decomposition of potassium metabisulfite gives potassium sulfite and sulfur dioxide due to its monoclinic crystal structure. However, potassium metabisulfite can be detrimental to health as constant exposure to this substance causes reddening and irritation of skin, severe burning and damage to eyes, and difficulty in breathing. It should be reacted under alkaline conditions in order to avoid the liberation of toxic gases when potassium metabisulfite reacts with acids. Hence, it is necessary to carry out operations using protective elements such as gloves, coat, masks, and glasses.

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Global Potassium Metabisulfite Market: Trends and Opportunities

Potassium metabisulfite is used in various end-user industries such as beer, food preservatives, textiles, wine, and photographic chemicals.  It is commonly used as an additive in wine due to its antioxidant properties. During wine making, potassium metabisulfite reacts to form sulfur dioxide, which helps in protecting the delicate taste and color of wine. It is also used in the process of stabilization in breweries to prevent growth of fungi and wild bacteria. Potassium metabisulfite is used to neutralize chloramine, which is added to tap water during the process of disinfection. It is used in the textile industry for cotton printing and dyeing. Potassium metabisulfite is also used as a preservative in lemon juice and pickles.

Potassium metabisulfite is also used in the bleaching of coconut cream. It is used as a solution in photographic printing. Most importantly, it is used as an alternative to sodium sulfite to precipitate gold from the solution of aqua regia. However, more than two-third of the total potassium metabisulfite is used in the beer and wine industry. Growth in the food industry is likely to drive the market for potassium metabisulfite in the near future. Research is being done to reduce the harmful effects of potassium metabisulfite so as to make it completely safe for consumption. Growing restriction on the consumption of wine and beer may act as a restraint for growth of the potassium metabisulfite market.

Global Potassium Metabisulfite Market: Geographical and Competitive Dynamics

In terms of volume, Europe is the largest consumer of potassium metabisulfite, whereas Asia Pacific is the fastest-growing consumer of potassium metabisulfite. North America is the second-largest consumer of potassium metabisulfite. Beer and wine are consumed in the Polar Regions to maintain body temperature at a higher level. The largest consumers of potassium metabisulfite are the U.S, Italy, Turkey, and France due to increasing youth population and their dependence on beer as compared to other alcoholic drinks.

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The Middle East and Africa constitutes the smallest share of the potassium metabisulfite market. Growing food and beverage industry is one of the major reasons for the increasing demand of potassium metabisulfite in the Asia Pacific reagion. Increasing demand for packed food is also propagating application of potassium metabisulfite as a preservative. Climatic conditions also affect the potassium metabisulfite market along with other reasons such as changing lifestyle of people, rise in disposable income in developed countries, and changing scenario regarding consumption of beer and wine.

Key manufacturers of potassium metabisulfite include Aditya Birla Chemicals Thailand, BASF SE, Triveni Interchem Pvt. Ltd., Imperial Chemical Incorporation, Murphy and Son Ltd., Laffort, Jay Dinesh Chemicals, and Avantor Performance Chemicals.