Best Source Of Calcium Hydroxide

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Calcium hydroxide (traditionally called slaked lime) is an inorganic compound with the chemical formula Ca(OH)2. It is a colorless crystal or white powder and is produced when quicklime (calcium oxide) is mixed or slaked with water. It has many names including hydrated limecaustic limebuilders’ limeslaked limecal, and pickling lime. Calcium hydroxide is used in many applications, including food preparation, where it has been identified as E number E526Limewater, also called milk of lime, is the common name for a saturated solution of calcium hydroxide.

Calcium is an essential mineral that is found in a variety of forms in nature. The various forms of calcium share an intimate chemical relationship with each other and the physical environment. These relationships are important in understanding the differences in the forms of calcium and how each form is used in food and traditional medicine production.

Portlandite

The various forms of calcium in the environment are constantly changing. However, when the correct conditions are induced, the result is the formation of the mineral portlandite 1Portlandite is the naturally occurring form of calcium hydroxide. Portlandite is also formed during the curing of concrete 1. The most noted location of natural portlandite is in Northern Ireland, but calcium hydroxide is actually formed and used commonly for a variety of natural and chemical processes.

The Calcium Cycle

The most common form of calcium is found in the minerals calcite and aragonite, which make up the bulk of limestone deposits. These minerals are made up of calcium carbonate and are believed to form naturally from deposits of coral and oyster beds. When calcium carbonate is heated in a process referred to as burning or calcining, it forms calcium oxide, also known as quicklime. This reaction is reversible such that cooling the calcium oxide will change it back to calcium carbonate. If water is added to the calcium oxide, the process is termed slaking or hydration,and calcium hydroxide will form, also known as slaked-lime. Exposure to carbon dioxide will cause setting or carbonation of the calcium, which returns it to the form of calcium carbonate.

  • The most common form of calcium is found in the minerals calcite and aragonite, which make up the bulk of limestone deposits.
  • If water is added to the calcium oxide, the process is termed slaking or hydration,and calcium hydroxide will form, also known as slaked-lime.

Calcium Hydroxide and Food

Calcium hydroxide is a basic compound that is often used in the preparation of foods such as in the process of making corn tortillas. This process is known as nixtamalization, which literally translates from the Aztec language into “ashes” and “corn dough.” Traditional methods of producing calcium hydroxide include heating or burning pulverized oyster shells or bird egg shells, both high in calcium carbonate, and then adding the ashes to water to make a paste of calcium hydroxide 2This paste is also used in Native American cultures to increase the bioavailability of other nutrients and plant alkaloids. The application of this process is still practiced in the preparation of corn dough for tortillas and tamales.

  • Calcium hydroxide is a basic compound that is often used in the preparation of foods such as in the process of making corn tortillas.
  • Traditional methods of producing calcium hydroxide include heating or burning pulverized oyster shells or bird egg shells, both high in calcium carbonate, and then adding the ashes to water to make a paste of calcium hydroxide 2.

Calcium Hydroxide and Traditional Medicines

Traditionally prepared calcium hydroxide is also used in the preparation of various ethnobotanicals such as chewing tobacco, betel nut or coca leaves. The addition of calcium hydroxide ultimately increases the ability of the body to absorb certain compounds within the plant. In the case of corn, it allows for vitamin B3, or niacin, absorption. Niacin is important in reducing the incidence of pellagra, a disease characterized by diarrhea, dermatitis and dementia that can result from niacin deficiency.

Foods Containing Calcium Propionate

Calcium propionate is a preservative used to delay the growth of mold, rope bacteria and other microorganisms in a variety of commercially processed foods. The preservative, which occurs naturally in some foods and is added to others, also provides the mineral calcium and sometimes affects flavor. Foods containing calcium propionate include baked goods, dairy products, processed meats, some vegetable products and dairy, egg and fat-based desserts. According to the watchdog organization Center for Science in the Public Interest, calcium propionate is considered a safe food additive.

Baked Goods

Bread and other baked goods that are stored for any length of time develop mold. To extend the storage time of commercially prepared baked goods such as bread dough, pizza dough, bread and pastries, manufacturers add chemical preservatives, such as calcium propionate, that inhibit mold formation. Calcium propionate works best in baked goods with a pH of 5.5 or less and and in products that use yeast, rather than baking powder, as a rising agent. Other grain foods that may be preserved with calcium propionate include breakfast cereals, pasta and noodles.

  • Bread and other baked goods that are stored for any length of time develop mold.
  • To extend the storage time of commercially prepared baked goods such as bread dough, pizza dough, bread and pastries, manufacturers add chemical preservatives, such as calcium propionate, that inhibit mold formation.

Dairy Products

Dairy foods containing calcium propionate include dried and condensed milk; flavored milks and yogurt drinks; ripened, unripened and processed cheeses; dairy desserts such as flavored yogurts and puddings; and dairy-based spreads. Some cheeses, such as Emmentaler or Swiss cheese, contain naturally occurring calcium propionate, which develops as the cheese ripens and acts as a preservative in the cheese.

Meats

Meat products containing calcium propionate include processed meat, poultry and game products; sausage casings; and preserved fish, including canned fish and shellfish. Calcium propionate is also added as a preservative to livestock and poultry feed.

Other Foods

Other foods containing calcium propionate include alcoholic beverages such as beer, malt beverages, cider and distilled spirits with more than 15 percent alcohol. In addition, the preservative can be found in sports drinks, diet foods and beverages, commercially prepared salads such as potato salad, condiments such as vinegar and mustard, soups, sauces and dried or otherwise processed mushrooms, beans, seaweeds and nut butters.

Calcium Carbonate and Seashells

The ornate shells of marine organisms like mollusks are remarkable on any number of levels, not least in the intricate coloration they often exhibit. These calcium-carbonate structures also are remarkable for the transformation they can undergo under the right conditions, metamorphosing into one of the world’s most arresting and ornate rock types.

Calcium Carbonate

The chemical compound calcium carbonate is composed of calcium, carbon and oxygen. A simplified equation for its formation would be the addition of calcium, oxygen and carbon dioxide to form CaCO3, the chemical formula for calcium carbonate. A major source of the compound is marine organisms such as coral, shellfish and mollusks, which use it to construct their shells, or skeleton-like casing. The prototypical “seashell” is usually a mollusk’s protective structure, such as a clam’s or oyster’s.

Shell Growth

Mollusks usually build their shells in a trio of layers. The outermost band, the periostracum, derives mostly from protein, chiefly quinone-tanned protein but also some chitin,which makes up only a very small proportion of the total shell material. The inner layers are calcium-carbonate material. Specialized cells constitute the mantle tissue just beneath the shell, which produces the shell-creating material. The proteinous periostracum partly serves as a structural base for the mineralization of the calcium carbonate, which manifests as specific crystalline characters, or polymorphs, including calcite, aragonite or both. Due to the chemical conditions of modern-day seawater, aragonite tends to be the form into which calcium carbonate precipitates in many, though not all, marine organisms.

The Rock Cycle

Given enough time and pressure, layers of cemented shells and coral bodies may transform into limestone, a sedimentary, carbonate rock mainly composed of calcium carbonate precipitated by these organisms. These rocks that stem from such organic matter are called biogenic. As G.H. Dury notes in “An Introduction to Environmental Systems,” limestone is a great storage reservoir of calcium carbonate, removing it – if only temporarily – from more active phases of precipitation and dissolution. Fairly resilient in the face of many forms of erosion, limestone is easily excavated by water laced with carbon dioxide. The wild formations that result, from convoluted caverns and caves to aboveground pillars and “stone forests,” are some of the most striking landscapes in the world. Great beds of limestone on land, such as those exposed in the Ozark Plateau, are phantom traces of ancient seaways.

As a Supplement

Calcium carbonate is sometimes prescribed as a supplement for those whose diet is lacking in calcium, the body’s most abundant mineral and one of its most important. Other forms include calcium citrate and calcium lactate. Abnormally low levels of calcium can be detrimental to body function, as in the depletion of calcium reserves in the skeleton. However, many people are able to balance their calcium levels simply through careful consideration of diet.

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