# Can sodium acetate anhydrous be used as a desiccant?

Sodium acetate trihydrate can be converted to sodium acetate anhydrous easily with an oven. I've been told to quickly store sodium acetate anhydrous in a sealed container because it takes water from the air and turns back into the trihydrate form. It's also non-toxic, and is even sometimes used as a food additive. For these reasons, would sodium acetate anhydrous be viable as a desiccant? Perhaps as a less-toxic replacement for silica gel?

• Many salts can be (and indeed are sometimes) used as dessicants, but what's wrong about silica gel, really? That it is not edible? Why would it be? Your computer is not edible either, so what? Jun 18 '16 at 23:31
• @IvanNeretin For lab use, silica gel and other common desiccants would certainly be better, but I figured that something non-toxic (edible, even) would be better for use in, for example, beef jerky packages. Aug 20 '16 at 2:03
• Now that makes sense. Well, $\ce{CaCl2}$ is another lab dessicant which is more or less edible, but it might be too strong to use on food... Wait, why would beef jerky need a dessicant in the first place? Isn't it usually vacuum-packed? Aug 20 '16 at 7:11
• @IvanNeretin I'd imagine it would be for when you open and reseal the package. You'd let moisture from the air inside the bag. Aug 20 '16 at 8:31

A quick look at Wikipedia says that the specific surface area of silica gel is 800 m$^{2}$ /g as it has a nanoporous structure. I don't know the figure for sodium acetate but I would think that it does not have such a nanoporous structure and therefore would not have as much capacity to absorb water (note that technically silica gel adsorbs water onto the surfaces inside its pores, rather than acting like a sponge).