The salt is obtained by partial neutralization of phosphoric acid. The pKa of monosodium phosphate is 6.8-7.2 (depending on the physicochemical characteristics during pKa determination).
Heating this salt above 169 °C gives the corresponding sodium acid pyrophosphate:
2 NaH2PO4 -Na2H2P2O7 + H2O
Phosphates are often used in foods and in water treatment. The pH of such formulations is generally adjusted by mixtures of various sodium phosphates, such as this salt. The sodium chloride equivalent value, or E-Value, is 0.49. It is soluble in 4.5 parts water.
Monosodium phosphate is used to detect the presence of magnesium ions in salts. Formation of a white precipitate on the addition of ammonium chloride, ammonium hydroxide and monosodium phosphate to an aqueous or dilute HCl solution of the salt indicates presence of magnesium ions.