Lime is used to remove temporary hardness from drinking water and to adjust its pH for optimum purification conditions by precipitating out the heavy metals as insoluble hydroxides. As such, lime is vital for the well being of millions of people.
Sugar manufacturers use lime to precipitate out impurities from beet and sugar cane extracts. Lime is also used to neutralise the odours which are generated by beet washing and transport.
Lime, as well as calcium carbonate, is used to adjust the pH of soils to give optimum growing conditions and hence improve crop yields. More information on agricultural liming is available from the Agricultural Lime Association.
Lime is added to chicken litter and animal bedding to extend the life of the litter/bedding and help protect against parasites and diseases.
The pH of acidic ponds and lakes is controlled using lime. In general terms this creates a more hospitable environment for all aquatic organisms, in particular fish. Lime is therefore used by fish farmers to maintain a suitable habitat for breeding fish.
Lime is used to extend shelf life of fruit in storage. As fruits ripen they emit carbon dioxide, which lowers the level of oxygen in the atmosphere and accelerates the rate of deterioration of the fruit. By circulating air around the fruit and over exposed lime, the lime absorbs the carbon dioxide and the fruit remains fresher for longer.
Residues from processing citrus fruits when mixed with lime can then be dried and sold as cattle feed. In addition, lime can also be used to neutralise waste citric acid and to raise the pH of fruit juices to stabilise the flavour and colour.
Lime is used in the manufacture of many inorganic salts such as calcium citrate a food and drink additive, and calcium phosphate, a toothpaste additive.