Is chloride necessary for animals?

Is chloride necessary for animals?

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Of the twelve well-known atomic constituents of our body eleven elements have specific properties obviously relevant to their rôle, making them indispensable. Oxygen (electronegativity and valence), carbon and hydrogen (both elements have virtually unique properties), nitrogen (amino group), calcium (calcium(II) is necessary for bones in vertebrates), phosphorus (use of phosphate in nucleotides and ATP), sulfur (-S-S- bridges), sodium (Na+ is a small cation), potassium (K+ is somewhat larger, together with its companion and presumed substitute Rb+), iron (used in hemoglobin because of properties of a transition metal), magnesium (Mg2+ takes part in the ATP cycle, if not anything else).

What about chlorine? A search resulted in

Chloride is involved in the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the red cells. In this, chloride passes into the plasma (chloride shift) and bicarbonate into the cells.

(, certain use by muscle cells and also some mention of ligand-gated chloride ion channels in neurons. Chloride in stomach secretion may be dismissed because is used as a generic acid (that is, to complement H+), not for its own special properties. And no mention of biological chlorine compounds other than ionic (such as, having a C-Cl bound) can be quickly found.

Which cells absolutely need specifically Cl to function? Is the anion mandatory for animals to live?

My answer may be a little basic, but I think it is comprehensive:

Many elements are special; for instance, many metal ions such as iron or cobalt are required as cofactors or in catalytic sites due to their chemistry. Oxygen is highly electronegative, that also grants it some of its functions. But… without delving too much into things… chloride is the most basic constituent of saline, without which it would not be saline. Here are 3 very, very important and yet

  • It works well with alkali and alkaline earth metals, hydrogen, and many compounds… it's a natural pairing!
  • You cannot separate positive and negative charges in a solution at a macroscopic level. It's not a feasible thing to avoid harboring chlorine atoms as part of biochemistry.
  • It accounts for a large portion of extracellular fluid tonicity.
  • etc…

Thus, most inter- and extra-cellular fluid is relatively chloride ion rich, across the entire bush of life. To my knowledge there is no life, tissue or cell on this planet that does not contain chloride ions as part of its makeup by necessity. It is simply heavily constrained in evolution as a basic component. It's just not practical to obtain K+ or Na+ or Ca2+ ions without Cl-, it is so common in nature.

If you want specific examples, you can always mention its indispensable roles in neuron firing (transmission of axon potentials) and general cellular homeostasis, which is dependent on electrochemistry and osmolarity and stuff like that which is heavily influenced and dependent on the presence of a regulated concentration of solvated Cl-.

Animal Biology

Animals play important roles in human economy, society and culture. They can be valuable economic resources, beloved companions, destructive nuisances or members of complex natural systems. Animal biology, the study of biological principles as they apply specifically to animals, bridges the gap between general biological sciences and applied animal husbandry techniques. As an animal biology major, you'll have the chance to put your theoretical knowledge into practice by working with wild and domesticated animals in hands-on situations.

Major Requirements

Animal biology requires lower division preparation in science, calculus and statistics. You will also take courses in the application of biological principles to animals in natural and agricultural systems. At the upper division, you will deepen your knowledge of biology and its application to animals. You will also choose electives in areas of special interest to you. A special feature of this major is your senior practicum, in which you will design and carry out an individual creative project that will integrate your coursework and practical experiences and serve as a capstone to your major.

Assessment of the negative effects of various inorganic water pollutants on the biosphere—an overview

Priyanshu Verma , Jatinder Kumar Ratan , in Inorganic Pollutants in Water , 2020

5.2.3 Chloride

Chlorides are very common water pollutants. Most of the time, they are naturally present in water. The presence of excess amounts of chloride salts in ocean water is mainly responsible for its nonapplicability in drinking purpose. However, in the last few decades, the evolution of advanced water desalination techniques has significantly reduced this hurdle. The contamination of chlorides in surface water may emerge due to nearby storage of salts or salty rocks, mixing of freshwater with ocean water, dissolution of salty industrial wastes, and so on. Presence of chloride is a very common cause of well water pollution that occurs due to the leaching of salts from soil to well reservoir of water. Although, chlorides have mild effects on living organisms, their excessive intake may cause some serious damage or poisoning to the living body. The recommended limit of chloride in water is <250 mg/L.

Benefits of Chloride

Most of us only know chloride due to the fact that it is a part of sodium chloride, which is commonly called table salt. It is not really a popular mineral and not much has been written about it in health publications. However, it is very vital to your general health. Since our bodies like being PH neutral, the work of chloride is achieve this through reducing the levels of acid and alkaline.

1. Improves physical health

Chloride offers several features for enhancing physical health in a highly dynamic manner. The optimal electrolyte balance is vital for accelerating physical fitness. Alkaline levels should also be controlled since too much alkaline usually lowers stamina levels and boosts physical discomfort and also obstructs the systematic muscle functionality. Chloride therefore acts like a neutralizing agent and balances electrolyte and alkaline levels to improve physical health.

2. Enhances metabolism

Once food has broken down into fluid, the chloride is sucked into the intestines to ensure better metabolism. Furthermore, chloride also assists the liver during the cleansing process. Hence, chloride helps the liver to effectively remove waste products from the body.

3. Promotes digestion

Chloride is present in the stomach, where it appears as hydrochloric acid. It helps the body to digest food effectively through breaking the food products down into a smaller form that small intestines can easily absorb. Besides from simply speeding up the process of digestion by splitting food into smaller pieces, chloride also strengthens the overall digestive system.

You can obtain chloride from most processed foods like canned vegetables, olives and ketchup. Chloride is in plenty in processed products due to the preservatives used to ensure that the foods remain fresh. It is suggested that you only consume 750 mg of chloride per day since it is needed by the body.

How much chloride do I need per day?

How much chloride you need per day changes according to your age, sex and life-stage.

The DRV* set for healthy adults (over the age of 18), including during pregnancy and lactation, is about 3 g of chloride per day.

Similar to chloride, the recommended amount for chloride is considered both safe and adequate, which means it&rsquos enough to meet our bodies&rsquo needs while preventing us from having a higher risk of health consequences linked to diets rich in sodium chloride (salt), such as higher blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases.

Following your country's dietary guidelines on a healthy and balanced diet, particularly in regard to salt intake, will help you meet your needs for chloride without risking exceeding the recommended amounts.

* These values are based on the safe and adequate intake estimates from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). They should not be interpreted as nutrient goals. To know more about dietary reference values (DRV) in Europe click here.

The oral cavity, or mouth, is the point of entry of food into the digestive system. The food is broken into smaller particles by mastication, the chewing action of the teeth. All mammals have teeth and can chew their food.

Figure (PageIndex<1>): Digestion begins in the oral cavity: Digestion of food begins in the (a) oral cavity. Food is masticated by teeth and moistened by saliva secreted from the (b) salivary glands. Enzymes in the saliva begin to digest starches and fats. With the help of the tongue, the resulting bolus is moved into the esophagus by swallowing.

The extensive chemical process of digestion begins in the mouth. As food is chewed, saliva, produced by the salivary glands, mixes with the food. Saliva is a watery substance produced in the mouths of many animals. There are three major glands that secrete saliva: the parotid, the submandibular, and the sublingual. Saliva contains mucus that moistens food and buffers the pH of the food. Saliva also contains immunoglobulins and lysozymes, which have antibacterial action to reduce tooth decay by inhibiting growth of some bacteria. In addition, saliva contains an enzyme called salivary amylase that begins the process of converting starches in the food into a disaccharide called maltose. Another enzyme, lipase, is produced by the cells in the tongue. It is a member of a class of enzymes that can break down triglycerides. Lingual lipase begins the breakdown of fat components in the food. The chewing and wetting action provided by the teeth and saliva shape the food into a mass called the bolus for swallowing. The tongue aids in swallowing by moving the bolus from the mouth into the pharynx. The pharynx opens to two passageways: the trachea, which leads to the lungs, and the esophagus, which leads to the stomach. The tracheal opening, the glottis, is covered by a cartilaginous flap, the epiglottis. When swallowing, the epiglottis closes the glottis, allowing food to pass into the esophagus, not into the trachea, preventing food from reaching the lungs.

Why Is Centrimonium Chloride Used?

Preservatives, despite the bad reputation that has been unfairly bestowed upon them by the beauty industry, are one of the most important parts of the formulation process. Preservatives help to prevent the growth of bacteria, yeasts and molds that can grow in your product due to use and exposure to the air. This contamination often occurs when you scoop out your product or take off the lid to use it.

Preservatives, like centrimonium chloride help to reduce the likelihood of contamination. This ensures that your product is safe to use for longer. Without preservatives your product would only be safe to use for a few days to a few weeks depending on the type of product and whether it is a water or oil-base. Definitely not long enough to get through your favorite cream.

Centrimonium chloride is an anti-statc ingredient which means it reduces flyawys and frizz caused by static electricity. As the hair strands rub against each other or a fabric such as a pillowcase or hat, they cause static electricity. You’re probably familiar with static electricity through science class where your teacher rubbed a balloon against some long-locked student’s hair and made it stand up. This effect is what tends to cause flyaways and frizz.

Anti-static ingredients, like centrimonium chloride help to reduce this, smoothing the hair and often adding shine. Centrimonium chloride is a positively charged molecule which means it sttratc the slightly negatively charged skin and hair proteins.

Calcium Chloride Uses

Calcium Chloride uses are many. On lawns and farms, it provides an immediate source of calcium with virtually no harmful affects to the environment. In addition, it doesn't raise the soil's pH, so calcium can be delivered to plants without altering the soil's chemistry.

Both calcium and chloride have life sustaining uses in the human body as well as plants. Without either life would suffer and die.

Sadly, there are just as many myths surrounding this product. I will describe some of the myths and misinformation as well as the facts.

ਏirst, let me say that concerning Calcium Chloride uses that it is considered a very safe product.

The FDA's GRAS List ('Generally Recognized as Safe' List), Calcium Chloride is listed as safe. The definition of the GRAS list is described as follows:

(GRAS) Federal Food and Drug Adminstration- "Generally Recognized As Safe" (GRAS) is an American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) designation that a chemical or substance added to food is considered safe by experts, and so is exempted from the usual Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) food additive tolerance requirements.

Common Myths Around Calcium Chloride Uses

Below are a few frequently repeated statements by well meaning farmers, hunters, etc, often followed by partially true or completely untrue points. Some I have read on forums but by people with clearly no background in agronomy or soil science. Common statements are:

"Calcium Chloride is very harmful to the environment and should never be used".

"It is extremely damaging to plants and crops"

"Calcium Chloride can kill your plants and animals. It is a terrible chemical."

Not only are these completely untrue as a general statement, but there is absolutely no credible science to back it up, especially when used as prescribed. 

I will explain what it really does and how it works.

CaCl 2 consists of a calcium ion and a chloride ion. It is highly soluble in water and is hydroscopic in nature, meaning it can draw moisture out of the air and dissolve.

Therefore, unless already dissolved in water, it must be kept in tightly sealed containers when not in use.

Calcium is necessary for plants in all stages of life and for more efficient photosynthesis, in resisting disease penetration, cell wall strength, and many other internal functions. 

Chloride is one of the 16 essential nutrients necessary for all plant life. Without chloride every plant on earth would suffer and die. It is an essential component for photosynthesis and other functions. 

Chloride is also essential in humans. It is found in bodily fluids and makes up 70 percent of the negative ions in the blood. It helps balance the body's pH and is essential in several life sustaining functions. Without calcium and chloride we would be extremely sick or die. 

Soil Applied Calcium Chloride

When water is applied to dry CaCl2 it becomes totally dissolved. This means the ions separate and they become "free agents" - "free" calcium and "free" chloride ions. 

The calcium is a positively charged ion and will search out cations to cling to. HIgher CEC soils, such as clay, silts, and high organic matter soils will have the ability to hold more calcium. The calcium clings to these spots and can be used by plants. 

The Chloride is a negatively charged ion and doesn't cling to anything in the soil. It moves through the soil via water. As long as water is percolating through the soil, the Chloride will be taken with it where ever it goes, usually below the root zone and washed away. Once the product is applied and you get a hard rain, most of the chloride will be gone. 

Why Research on Chloride Levels is Wrong

I spoke with Dr. Suren Mishra, a researcher with TetraChemicals, a leading manufacturer of Calcium Chloride. He got his doctorate in England, later moved to Australia where he was a professor and now is in his current position as the leading researcher for TetraChemicals.

Dr. Mishra stated, "Every text book on Chloride retention in soil uses Sodium Chloride as its source for study. The problem is that sodium chloride has almost double the salt index and has little value in testing for cacl2.

Why? Because the sodium binds in the soil and the test will always come back contaminated with sodium. It is never accurate." I believe Dr. Mishra told me he is working on getting universities to review and update their testing practices.  

Fate of Chloride in the Soil

In contrasts to other chemicals, tests using Cacl2 have found that as much as 1200 to 1300 ppm of chloride can be applied to soils with absolutely no harmful affects. This is because the ions are free flowing and do not build up in the soils.

They move through the soil by water and as long as water is flowing the chloride will be washed away. At the same time you will be delivering a lot of calcium.

Salt index of Calcium Chloride: 82*
Salt index of Sodium Chloride: 153*
Salt index of Potassium Chloride: 116*

(*based on equal parts of plant materials)

Calcium in Sandy Soils

Sandy soils do not have much nutrient retention due to the lack of clay and organic matter to hold nutrients. Sand is a low CEC soil type (Cation Exchange Capacity) where clay and organic soils have a higher CEC. High CEC soils have the ability to attract + ions and hold more nutrients. 

In sandy soil tests, the electro-magnetic pull of calcium ions gripped the sand and showed that even with as much as 5" of rain the calcium held in place. There was less leaching of calcium due to the magnetic pull that is lacking in many other nutrients. 

With Calcium Chloride, the scare of salts building up in the soil is simply not true. Here are a recap on facts:

  • Calcium and Chloride ions totally separate in water and become "Free" ions.
  • Chloride is a negatively charged (-) ion and doesn't cling to anything in the soil. It flows with the water and is gone with rain or irrigation. 
  • Calcium is + charged and will cling to Cation sites. It will not wash away easily and in high CEC sites is considered immovable.
  • Far more CaCl2 can be applied safely than most know. 
  • Both Calcium and Chloride are necessary to sustain plant health and vigor. 

CaCl 2 in Super-Cal and Agri-Cal

Agri-Gro's Super-Cal and Agri-Cal use 

CaCl 2 as the source of calcium. It is included as an immediately available source of calcium that plants can use the moment it is sprayed. Contrast that to Calcium Carbonate which can take 6 months to 2 years before it can be used by plants.

In addition to the immediately available calcium, Super-Cal and Agri-Cal contain a propitiatory blend of organic acids that dissolve unavailable calcium in the soil.

In tests performed by a university extension in Illinois and also in Mississippi, 1 gallon of Super-Cal produced the equivalent of 500 lbs of lime do the action of the organic acids.

Increasing Soil's Base Saturation of Calcium

This is important because Super-Cal and Agri-Cal increase the base saturation of calcium in the soil. Calcium makes up from 65%  to 85% of nutrients in the soil. A lot of people don't realize that base saturation of calcium is far more important than soil pH in determining calcium needs. Keeping the base saturation of dissolved calcium on the higher end means your plants will be getting the calcium it needs when it needs it. 

In addition, soil microorganisms need calcium to operate at their peak performance. Super-Cal and Agri-Cal when mixed with Foliar Blend, Turf Formula, and Ultra have shown in tests at the University of Missouri/Comumbia to increase beneficial soil microorganism numbers and activity by an amazing 3400% in 24 hours.  

This increase in activity of beneficial microorganisms have reduced pathogens, greatly increase plant health and vigor, increased soil nutrients naturally as well as make fertilizers more efficient. There is no down side to using Agri-Gro Products. 

Super-Cal and Agri-Cal are safe to use on all plants and will increase you bottom line as well as quality of turf and plants. 


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All natural waters contain some dissolved solids (salinity) from contact with soils, rocks, and other natural materials. Too much, though, and dissolved solids can impair water use. Unpleasant taste, high water-treatment costs, mineral accumulation in plumbing, staining, corrosion, and restricted use for irrigation are among the problems associated with elevated concentrations of dissolved solids.

The dissolved solids concentration in water is the sum of all the substances, organic and inorganic, dissolved in water. This also is referred to as “total dissolved solids”, or TDS. Calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, bicarbonate, sulfate, chloride, nitrate, and silica typically make up most of the dissolved solids in water. Combinations of these ions—sodium and chloride, for example—form salts, and salinity is another term commonly used to describe the dissolved solids content of water.

Salinization—the buildup of salts in soils to levels that are harmful to plants—is a worldwide problem and affects about one-fourth of the irrigated land in the United States. Effects include reduced crop yield and restrictions on the kinds of crops that can be grown. Cotton for example is one of the more salt-tolerant crops grown in California. (Credit: Gary Bañuelos, USDA ARS)

Total dissolved solids can be monitored in real time in surface water and groundwater by measuring its surrogate, specific conductance. Specific conductance measures the ability of water to transmit an electrical current. That ability increases with the amount of dissolved ions in the water.

Concentrations of dissolved solids in water can be so high that the water is unsuitable for drinking, irrigation, or other uses. Concentrations greater than the recommended value for drinking water of 500 mg/L give water an unpleasantly salty taste. Elevated concentrations of dissolved solids in water distribution systems can contribute to corrosion of plumbing fixtures and reduce the lifespan of equipment.

When used for irrigation, water with high dissolved solids can reduce crop yield because the dissolved salts make it more difficult for plants to extract water from the soil. Dissolved solids in irrigation water can cause salts to build up in soils and aquifers and can eventually make the land unsuitable for growing crops.

Use interactive mappers to explore river dissolved solids loads and yields and determine the importance of different sources of contaminants in a particular river basin.

What causes dissolved solids to be high?

High concentrations of dissolved solids are more likely to be a problem in groundwater than in surface water. That’s because when groundwater moves through the rocks and sediments that make up an aquifer, some of the minerals in those rocks and sediment dissolve, a process called “weathering”. Groundwater that has been in an aquifer a long time has had more time to react with and weather aquifer materials than groundwater that has recharged recently.

Groundwater age is just one of the factors that can affect the concentration of dissolved solids. Other factors include climate, geology, and human actions.

Climate affects concentrations of dissolved solids in groundwater through precipitation, evaporation, and groundwater recharge. In arid regions, where precipitation is low and evaporation rates are high, there is less water to dilute the products of rock weathering. Evaporation of shallow groundwater, where the water table is near the land surface, also concentrates dissolved solids in groundwater in arid regions. Climatic differences extend across the wide spatial scales and result in broad regional patterns in dissolved-solids concentrations. Consequently, elevated concentrations of dissolved solids tend to be higher in groundwater in the arid western part of the U.S. than in the humid east. In a study of groundwater in Principal Aquifers in nine regions of the U.S., the highest concentrations of dissolved solids in groundwater were measured in the Denver Basin, High Plains, and Southwestern Basin-Fill Principal Aquifers.

Geology affects dissolved solids concentrations because some types of rocks weather more readily than others. Some sedimentary rocks, such as shales, carbonate rocks, and evaporites, are more soluble and easily weathered than quartz-rich sandstones or crystalline rocks such as granites. Geology can vary at regional and local scales, and can even vary with depth in an aquifer.

Excess irrigation, especially in arid areas, can increase the concentration of salts in shallow roundwater by flushing concentrated salts in soil own to the groundwater table. (Credit: Jeff Vanuga, USDA NRCS)

Human activities can affect concentrations of dissolved solids in groundwater. Groundwater pumping can pull deep saline water upward to shallow depths, or in from the coast into freshwater aquifers. Irrigation can increase concentrations of dissolved solids in groundwater in several ways, particularly in arid regions. When irrigation water evaporates or is taken up by plants, it leaves the dissolved salts it contained in the soil. Excess irrigation water can flush minerals that have accumulated over thousands of years in soils and the unsaturated zone down to the water table. Irrigation can raise the water table close to the land surface, so that direct evapotranspiration of shallow groundwater can further concentrate dissolved solids. Human activities can add dissolved solids to recharging groundwater. Detergents, water softeners, fertilizers, road salt, urban runoff, and animal and human waste all contain elevated concentrations of dissolved solids that are delivered to groundwater by wastewater disposal, septic systems, or direct application to the land surface. As a result, dissolved solids concentrations are more likely to be high in shallow, recently recharged groundwater near the water table beneath urban, suburban, or agricultural areas than in shallow groundwater beneath undeveloped areas or in deeper groundwater.

Learn more about dissolved solids and the processes that cause them to be elevated in groundwater in Principal Aquifers.

Urbanization and chloride—a concern for streams and groundwater

Chloride is a major component of dissolved solids. The use of road salt—sodium chloride, the same chemical as table salt—for deicing is a major manmade source of chloride to surface water and groundwater. Application of road salt in the United States has tripled since the 1970s, while other uses of salt have remained stable or decreased.

Concentrations of chloride have been increasing in U.S. streams, especially in urban areas affected by snow. Elevated concentrations of chloride in streams can be toxic to some aquatic life. Additionally, the presence of chloride increases the potential corrosivity of the water. Corrosion in water distribution systems affects infrastructure and drinking water quality.

Chloride also is a concern in groundwater, and concentrations are increasing in many aquifers across the U.S.
In the glacial aquifer system, which extends across the northern United States, chloride concentrations were highest in shallow groundwater beneath urban areas, in some cases exceeding the guideline for drinking water of 250 mg/L for taste and odor. During low-flow conditions, when groundwater is the dominant source of water to streams, high concentrations of chloride in groundwater in this aquifer system can cause chloride in streams to exceed the chronic aquatic criterion developed to protect fish and other aquatic life.

High concentrations of dissolved solids can indicate other problems

Calcium and magnesium ions tend to precipitate as mineral solids on the surfaces of pipes and especially on the hot heat exchanger surfaces of boilers. The resulting buildup of scale can impede water flow in pipes and reduce the efficiency of heating elements.(From USGS Circular 1352: Water Quality in the Glacial Aquifer System, Northern United States, 1993–2009)

High concentrations of dissolved solids sometimes are accompanied by other nuisance constituents. For example, water with high total dissolved solids usually is hard, because calcium and magnesium—the two elements that define hardness in water—are two of the major components of dissolved solids in groundwater. Hard water reacts poorly with soap and sometimes leave scale deposits in pipes and water heaters. Although high dissolved solids is not in itself a health concern, it can sometimes signal the presence of elevated concentrations of arsenic, uranium, radium, or other trace elements in the groundwater as well. The occurrence of high dissolved solids in drinking water therefore can indicate that testing for a broader range of constituents might be warranted to assess possible risks and to determine options for reducing those risks.

Learn more about nuisance constituents that can cause taste and odor problems in drinking water.

You should be able to get the results of your test within a few days. It may be sooner if your doctor has ordered that the results be checked at once.


The normal range for chloride in your blood is between 96 and 106 milliequivalents per liter (MEq/L). Some labs may vary in their definition of the normal range.

Talk with your doctor about your test results, especially if you’re outside the healthy range. Chloride levels tend to change if your sodium levels change, too.

Chloride levels above 106 could point to kidney problems, such as renal tubular acidosis (when your kidneys aren’t removing enough acids from your blood and into your urine).

Low levels have several other possible causes, including common, temporary problems such as vomiting and dehydration. Among the more serious causes are:

    (when your heart muscle is weakened and can’t pump blood to your body as it should)
  • Addison’s disease (when your adrenal glands don’t make enough of certain hormones)
  • Metabolic alkalosis (ncreased bicarbonate in the blood )
  • Hyperaldosteronism (a condition that can cause high blood pressure and weakness)
  • Chronic (ongoing) lung disease

Testing the chloride levels in your blood or urine is practically painless and takes little time. The information it gives your doctor can help you avoid some painful and serious health problems down the road.

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