Antiseptic and astringent properties of lime are familiar to mankind for a long time. Once with the help of lime cement, the Chinese built their Great Wall. Today it is used in construction, agriculture, trees are treated to protect the bark. But few know that it can be in food under the guise of an additive E526. Why is it added to juices and baby food?
The main properties of the additive
What manufacturers call the E526 is popularly used slaked lime. It turns out that the areas of its application go far beyond the usual spring whitewashing of trees. It is used as a fertilizer in the manufacture of silicate concrete, in tanning the skin and disinfecting the root canals in dentistry. It is obtained in the only way that is familiar not only to chemists - by combining with water. To do this, take calcium oxide (quicklime) and "quench" it with water. When this takes place a chemical reaction with the release of energy and steam, a new substance is formed - calcium hydroxide (slaked). This is a new connection and is E526 or "fluff".
It looks like a white dense powder, without a pronounced smell, burning taste. It is poorly soluble in water, and the higher the temperature of the liquid, the slower the reaction. Not soluble in alcohols. In chemistry, this substance belongs to the bases, so the solution with it has an alkaline reaction. Neutralizes acids, releasing calcium salts and water. Like other bases, the lime solution interacts with carbon dioxide (CO2). Due to this quality, such a substance is sometimes used to search for leakage of carbon dioxide, reacting with CO2 lime darkens.
The bulk of the produced E526 get in the laboratory. In addition, the substance is found in mineral form in volcanic, metamorphic and deep rocks. Most often in the form of a rare mineral - portlandite. Due to its natural origin, lime is considered a completely natural product, even if it is obtained in a laboratory. As we have already understood, quicklime is used as a raw material for it, and it, in turn, is also obtained from minerals (marble, chalk, limestone).
Also, the alkaline reaction of the lime solution provides an excellent antiseptic effect, sterilizes the surface and kills pathogens. That is why slaked lime has become so popular with gardeners (for the prevention of bark diseases), with dentists (for temporary dental fillings). When it interacts with carbon dioxide, it hardens, so it was used as a connecting and building material. However, today lime is rarely used in this role, since structures from such a component readily absorb moisture and are susceptible to the formation of fungus.
Calcium hydroxide use
The physical and chemical properties of this substance have been applied in many industries. The bulk of the calcium hydroxide produced today is consumed by the construction industry, although this is more due to the use of materials, rather than the popularity of the substance itself. At the same time it is used both at home during construction or painting, and on extensive construction sites.
Calcium hydroxide powder is widely used in the following areas:
- For painting rooms as an affordable and easy-to-use material.
- As a component in the mortar. Today it is rarely used in this area due to the accumulation of moisture, and the slaked lime has practically extruded cement as a binder.
- To create silicate concrete. This material is much more practical compared to the previous solution, as it is processed differently, it hardens faster and resists mold better.
- In the process of tanning the skin, lime milk is used.
- In the chemical industry for the neutralization of acids, the production of organic acids, etc.
- For the sterilization of dental canals and the prevention of periodontitis in dentistry.
- For the treatment of acid burns on the body.
- As a substance that reduces the resistance of the soil, lime is used in electrical engineering.
- In the petroleum industry, it is used as an additive to oils.
- In the metallurgical industry (as a neutralizer of acids in the treated gas stream).
At home, in addition to whitewashing and building this powder can be useful in the garden, in the garden, for animals. For example, liming the earth improves its structure, increases looseness, reduces acidity. Processing of fruit and ornamental trees protects the plant from parasites, fungi, mold. In areas with an open pool of fluff, ichthyophthyriosis is prevented. Whitewashing the rooms in which pets live provides disinfection. So, in chicken coops, sheds and other livestock buildings, lime destroys fleas, pathogens, bedbugs, carriers of avian cholera and glanders.
Also, a small amount of this powder is added to the hayloft, the fiber is softened by the action of alkali and the straw is easier to digest. For egg storage, the shell is treated with dry lime, thus the surface is disinfected, the shell itself is hardened, and the eggs can lie longer without damage.
Slaked Lime in Food
In the production of food, fluff is used under the name E526. Here it performs the same functions as in other areas. In the food industry, it acts as:
- emulsifier (for connecting several components into one);
- stabilizer (retains the specified consistency);
- acidity regulator;
- as an additional source of calcium.
Most often, E526 can be found in fruit and berry juices, chocolate products, butter, marinades and pickles. It can also be added to breakfast cereals, muesli and granola. To soften hard water, this food additive is used in breweries, wineries, and in the production of other alcoholic beverages that are being fermented. To normalize the pH-balance, this component is included in the composition of children's supplements and mixtures intended for children under the age of 3 years.
The use of pushon in food production allows enterprises to give the goods the desired shape and appearance, improve taste, extend shelf life. To date, manufacturers in the EU, Ukraine and Russia are officially allowed to use this food additive, since it is considered to be safe for human health. However, most companies prefer to replace it, because the hydrated lime powder is prone to caking and the formation of lumps.
Is the supplement dangerous for the body?
For oral administration, E526 is considered safe if it acts as an additive. That is, it does not mean that you can taste pure hydrated lime, it is safe only in negligible quantities. Due to the composition of the food additive itself, manufacturers who use it, can sometimes mark on their products: "enriched with sa". However, a meager amount of calcium hydroxide in the product cannot act as an additional source of useful components.
For the same reason, you should not be afraid if the purchased product contains an emulsifier or an E 526 acidity regulator, there is no benefit from it, but there is no health risk. Harm from this additive can be received in living conditions: inhalation of a large amount of lime dust, contact with the mucous membrane of the eyes, accidental ingestion.
What to do in case of poisoning
If hydrated lime gets into your eyes, rinse well with plenty of clean water. It is better to contact an optometrist after this incident, as the alkali can lead to blindness. If E526 is swallowed, the victim should drink 1-2 cups of milk and urgently call an ambulance, because lime can leave burns on the mucous membrane in the esophagus. You need to work with pushon carefully, wear gloves, close your mouth and nose, protect your eyes. Keep it better away from children. Lime poisoning products with E526 is hardly possible for the same reason: the additive is used very rarely and in very small quantities, which is not dangerous to health. And, in order to completely avoid risk, it is worthwhile to give preference to goods without "E-nis".