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zinc nitrate hexahydrate is a colourless, water-soluble crystalline compound with the chemical formula ZnSO4-7H2O or H14O11SZn. It is a lab grade chemical with the potential to be toxic when produced in high concentrations. It has a long list of uses, but its most important is as an anti-rust agent.
Often found in the form of a powder, the chemical can be dissolved in water to produce its hydrated form. This form is commonly used as a fertilizer to boost the zinc content in plants and prevent or correct zinc deficiencies. It is also popular as a brewing additive for its ability to improve yeast production and alcohol yield in the process.
The best part is that the chemical is safe to use at a moderate dose and can be recycled for commercial use. Its main negative is that it can be corrosive to stainless steel, copper kettles and fermenting vessels.
Some people may experience eye irritation from the powder form of the material. Other side effects include increased acetaldehyde production by the yeast resulting in a soapy or goaty taste.
Zinc sulfate hydrate has been named by the World Health Organisation as an essential medicine for humans and animals alike, but it is only as useful as the way in which it is utilised. It is one of the most utilised ag chemicals in the world, so it is crucial to understand its uses and hazards in order to protect ourselves and our planet.