Difference Between Potassium and Potassium Gluconate

Main Difference – Potassium vs Potassium Gluconate

Potassium is a chemical element which is indicated by the letter “K”. It was the first metal to be isolated by electrolysis. Potassium is very reactive and can react with various non-metal atoms to form molecules. Potassium gluconate is one such molecule. The main difference between potassium and potassium gluconate is that Potassium is a chemical element found as an alkali metal whereas potassium gluconate is the potassium salt of the conjugate base of the gluconic acid.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is Potassium
      – Properties, Structure, Uses
2. What is Potassium Gluconate
      – Properties, Structure, Uses
3. What is the difference between Potassium and Potassium Gluconate
      – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms: Potassium, Potassium Gluconate, Alkali Metal, Gluconic Acid, Elemental Potassium, Potassium Salt, Potassium Isotopes

Difference Between Potassium and Potassium Gluconate - Comparison Summary

 

What is Potassium?

Potassium is an alkali metal found among the elements of group I in the periodic table. Potassium is an element which is absolutely necessary for both plants and animals. Sir Humphry Davy isolated potassium element by electrolysis of molten potassium hydroxide (KOH). Potassium metal is soft and silvery white in color. It has a very low melting point. Since it is a metal, it is a good electrical conductor. Potassium is the seventh most abundant element on earth. Most commercially available compounds are obtained from electrolysis of certain compounds such as carnallite because elemental potassium is present in water insoluble sediments and rocks, which makes it is difficult to be extracted.

Potassium makes monovalent ion, K+1 by removing the electron located in its outermost shell. Hence, it is more likely to have ionic bonds with non-metals or anionic compounds through electrostatic attractions. Potassium can be found in sea water or other salty water sources as the solubilized K+1 ion.

Potassium is needed by all plants and animals as K+1. Plants mainly need it for photosynthesis process; animals need it because it is the primary inorganic cation in the living cell. However, excessive amounts of potassium can be toxic.

Potassium naturally exists as three isotopes. The most abundant isotope is potassium-39, which has equal amounts of protons and neutrons in its atom. The other two isotopes are potassium-41 and potassium-40, which are radioactive.

Difference between Potassium and Potassium Gluconate

Figure 1: Soft, silvery-white potassium metal

What is Potassium Gluconate

Potassium gluconate is the potassium salt of the conjugate base of the gluconic acid. It is also called as D-gluconic acid potassium salt or potassium D-gluconate. Potassium gluconate is composed of 16.69% potassium by weight. Gluconic acid is a carboxylic acid; thus, K+1 ion is attached to the oxygen atom of the hydroxyl group by replacing the Hydrogen atom.  This compound exists in the solid phase. The melting point of potassium gluconate is about 175oC.

Potassium gluconate is used as a mineral supplement or a sequestrant. It is sold as capsules or bulk powder. The molecular formula for potassium gluconate is C6H11KO7. In this compound, potassium ion (K+1) is bonded to the conjugate base of gluconic acid via an ionic bond. This means that there is an electrostatic attraction between K+1 and gluconate anion.

Main Difference - Potassium vs Potassium Gluconate

Figure 2: The chemical structure of potassium gluconate

Differences Between Potassium and Potassium Gluconate

Definition

Potassium: Potassium is an element which belongs to the group I of the periodic table.

Potassium Gluconate: Potassium gluconate is the potassium salt of the conjugate base of the gluconic acid.

Number of Electrons

Potassium: Elemental potassium has one unpaired electron in the outermost shell of its atom.

Potassium Gluconate: Potassium ion in potassium gluconate has no unpaired electron in its outermost shell.

Melting Point

Potassium: The melting point of elemental potassium is about 63.5oC.

Potassium Gluconate: The melting point of potassium gluconate is about 175oC.

Morphology

Potassium: Potassium is a soft metal and the color is silvery white.

Potassium Gluconate: Potassium gluconate is a solid crystalline compound and is white to yellowish white in color.

Uses

Potassium: Potassium is used to make a number of chemical compounds.

Potassium Gluconate: Potassium gluconate is used as a supplement or a sequestrant.

Conclusion

Potassium is an essential element for both plants and animals. Potassium is found in soil almost everywhere; thus, it can be up-taken by plants and then eventually reach animal life. Potassium is used in the production of several different compounds such as potassium gluconate. The main difference between potassium and potassium gluconate is that Potassium is a chemical element found as an alkali metal whereas potassium gluconate is the potassium salt of the conjugate base of the gluconic acid.

References:

1. “Potassium gluconate.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. PubChem Compound Database. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. . 06 June 2017. 
2. “Potassium – Element information, properties and uses | Periodic Table.” Royal Society of Chemistry – Advancing excellence in the chemical sciences. N.p., n.d. Web. . 06 June 2017. 

Image Courtesy:

1. “Potassium” By Dnn87 – Self-photographed via
2. “Potassium gluconate” By Fvasconcellos 01:39, 8 October 2007 (UTC) – Own work (Public Domain) via

About the Author: Madhusha

Madhusha is a BSc (Hons) graduate in the field of Biological Sciences and is currently pursuing for her Masters in Industrial and Environmental Chemistry. Her interest areas for writing and research include Biochemistry and Environmental Chemistry.

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