Calcium sulfate is actually a very famous and widespread substance, most popularly known as gypsum. The astringent properties of this product were initially appreciated by doctors, and only in the last century it was used in the food industry as a food supplement marked with the E516 mark.
How is calcium sulfate used in the manufacture of products? What are the consequences of its use? Where else is this supplement used? You can find out all this by reading the following article.
Calcium Sulfate Properties and Key Features
Other names for this food supplement include: gypsum, calcium sulfate, anhydrite, selenite, Calcium sulfate, E516. In French, its name sounds like sulfate de calcium, and in German - calciumsulfat.
This substance in a wonderful way combines the properties of a stabilizer and emulsifier. In nature, its analogue also exists - sulfuric acid, calcium salt. In the natural environment, calcium sulfate is formed from dehydrated gypsum deposits, is contained in gypsum and selenite, like dihydrate. The hardness of tap water is directly related to the concentration of potassium sulfate in it.
On an industrial scale, such an additive is obtained by fusing potassium sulfate with calcium chloride. As a result of this reaction, a precipitate forms, which is calcium sulfate.
In appearance, this substance most closely resembles a white or slightly yellowish crystalline powder of a bitter-salty taste and odorless. Its chemical composition includes calcium sulfate and various impurities: fluorides, selenium and others. The molecular formula of a substance can be denoted as: CaSO4.
This food emulsifier is practically insoluble in water and absolutely insoluble in ethanol. However, it has good solubility in glycerol, acidic medium and ammonium salts.
This food supplement is a moisture-absorbing substance. It is capable of absorbing up to seven percent of the total water. Melts at very high temperatures, hygroscopic.
Major manufacturers and standard packaging of calcium sulfate
In the Russian Federation, only one company produces such an additive, which is located in Udmurtia in the city of Glazov - Chepetsk Mechanical Plant.
The main world leading producers of calcium sulfate are:
- Bassermann minerals GmbH & Co.KG, registered in Germany;
- Dr. Corporation Paul Lohmann GmbH KG, also located in Germany;
- Polish company "Alwernia" Spółka Akcyjna.
The main supplier of this substance to the world market is China. This prerogative is wholly owned by Foodchem International Corporation.
The most acceptable standard packaging for such a substance is considered to be big-bag containers, soft, polypropylene bags, paper multilayer bags, cardboard-wound drums. In addition, the food additive E516 is pre-sealed in plastic bags.
Application in various fields
The most common uses for calcium sulfate are in the food, medical, and cosmetic industries.
In the field of food preparation, this food supplement is used as an independent substance or in combination with other emulsifiers and stabilizers.
The high moisture absorption capacity of calcium sulfate provides it with widespread use in drying mushrooms and vegetables, in the manufacture of various spices, milk, sauces and other products.
This food supplement is used for various purposes:
- to improve the structure of plant tissue, better preservation of useful substances, as well as increase heat-resistant properties, it is used for canning tomatoes;
- French wine-makers in the manufacture of wines are used to regulate acidity in grape must.
- to improve the texture and quality of the clot, it is used for making tofu, cottage cheese and cottage cheese;
- to normalize the pH level in the malt mash in the manufacture of beer;
- as a nutrient for various microorganisms in the production of baker's yeast;
- to increase the plasticity of the dough and its elasticity, improve the quality of flour and protect it from spoilage, it is used in the manufacture of bakery products;
- for binding components in the production of frozen fish products.
In addition, this substance is often used in nutrition as a salt substitute.
In the medical field, calcium sulfate is used for the manufacture of surgical fixative dressings. In the recent past, this was the only material that was used for dental prints in dental practice.
Calcium sulfate is widely distributed in the cosmetology industry. It is used as one of the components for the preparation of alginate masks with seaweed.
The substance is diluted in water, applied to the face, and then removed as well as a rubber mask. Due to its plasticizing properties, calcium sulfate contributes to the rapid hardening of such a mask.
When combining the powder of calcium sulfate with water, a viscous homogeneous substance is obtained, which is applied to the face and body, receiving the so-called nutritious thermal mask.
After solidification, the resulting mixture has the property of heating, which contributes to better opening of pores and accelerate the penetration of necessary substances into skin cells. You can find this substance in decorative cosmetics as a matting component, as well as in scrubs, where it is popular as an abrasive.
Calcium sulfate is considered to be a universally permitted product; its maximum daily dose is not regulated.
Useful and harmful properties of the additive E516
Food supplement E516 is easily digestible and absolutely safe for the human body. Often it is used with a lack of calcium, for its speedy replenishment. However, it should be borne in mind that calcium can be absorbed only in company with other substances - especially vitamin D. Food products contain a small amount of such an additive.
Calcium sulfate obtained by chemical synthesis may contain a certain amount of impurities that can harm the body, especially those taken in excessive dosages.
Therefore, it is better not to abuse such a product. Moreover, an excess of calcium is also unsafe for human health, as well as its lack. In the end, this can lead to hypercalcemia, which will entail negative and unpleasant consequences.
Calcium sulfate is an absolutely safe food supplement for human health, and therefore its use even in the food industry is approved and allowed in all countries of the world.
Due to its stabilizing and emulsifying, as well as high moisture-absorbing properties, calcium sulfate is widely used in medicine and in the cosmetology industry.
Thanks to it, it is possible to significantly increase the level of calcium in the body, however, it is necessary to use it only in conjunction with vitamins, because in its pure form it is not absorbed by the human body.