Magnesium sulfate (anhydrous) is an inorganic salt made up of magnesium, oxygen, and sulfur. The molecular formula of magnesium sulfate is MgSO4. Magnesium sulfate is also known as Epsom salt (heptahydrate), English salt, and Bitter salt. Magnesium sulfate also occurs in hydrated forms, including monohydrate and heptahydrate. The monohydrate and heptahydrate forms contain one and seven H2O molecules, respectively. Magnesium sulfate is commonly encountered as the heptahydrate sulfate mineral epsomite. It is usually called as Epsom salt. Magnesium sulfate exists as white crystalline solid. Magnesium sulfate shows very high solubility in water. Magnesium sulfate is odorless. Magnesium sulfate can be prepared artificially by neutralizing sulfuric acid with magnesium carbonate or oxide to obtain the heptahydrate form, but it is usually obtained directly from natural sources. The only known method for preparing anhydrous magnesium sulfate is by the dehydration of a hydrate.
In gardening and other agriculture processes, magnesium sulfate plays an important role to correct magnesium or sulfur deficiency in soil. Magnesium sulfate is important component of various fertilizers. Magnesium is an essential element in the chlorophyll molecule, and sulfur is another important micronutrient. Magnesium sulfate is also effective in the removal of splinters. Magnesium sulfate is an effective anticonvulsant drug. Magnesium sulfate is well known for its application as most effective, low cost, and safe treatment available for severe pre-eclampsia and eclampsia. Magnesium sulfate also has ability to act as a vasodilator, having actions which relieve vasoconstriction, decrease cerebral edema formation, protect the blood-brain barrier, and act as a cerebral anticonvulsant. Magnesium sulfate can be administered either intravenously or intramuscularly. Magnesium sulfate is the main preparation of intravenous magnesium. Magnesium sulfate plays an important role to increase water content in the intestines. Magnesium sulfate is can also preferably used as a laxative to relieve occasional constipation. Anhydrous magnesium sulfate exhibits features, which make it a suitable drying agent. The anhydrous magnesium sulfate form is hygroscopic i.e. it readily absorbs water from the air. Magnesium sulfate is also recognized for its use as a beauty product. Athletes prefer magnesium sulfate to soothe sore muscles.
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Asia Pacific is projected to be the fastest growing market for magnesium sulfate in the next six years. The main reason for this is the growing demand for greater quantity of food from countries such as China and India, as a result of increasing population in these countries. As fertilizer consumption is increasing to achieve higher yield, as a result consumption of magnesium sulfate is also increasing in these countries. China is the leading producer of magnesium sulfate, followed by the U.S., and Russia respectively. The global magnesium sulfate market is expected to grow at a moderately paced CAGR from 2014 to 2020.
Some of the major companies operating in the global magnesium sulfate market are PQ Corporation, UMAI CHEMICAL Co. Ltd., Laizhou Guangcheng Chemical Co., Ltd., Laizhou Zhongda Chemical Co. Ltd., Giles, Balaji Industries, China Nafine Group International Co. Ltd., Laizhou City Laiyu Chemical Co. Ltd., and Weifang Guomei Chemical Co. Ltd.