What is Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous Earth (DE)or Diatomite is a naturally occurring sedimentary rock, composed of silica shell remains of single-cell aquatic plants called diatoms, that has been exposed over thousands of square miles of the earth’s surface for millions of years. People live on it, farm on it and rear animals on it. Many species of wildlife (with the exception of crawling and burrowing insects) live on it. Streams with viable fish and wildlife populations, flow through it, and people, their animals and wildlife utilise the water without harm. D.E. is non-toxic, extremely stable and does not produce residual chemicals.
These algae-like cells still proliferate in oceans and lakes today, as they did at least 20 million years ago in the lakes and seas of the Miocene. The phytoplankton absorbs dissolved silica and converts it into a highly ordered bivalve shell made of porous pure silica with a myriad of small (0.5 to 1.0u) holes. Phytoplankton is responsible for much of the food and most of the oxygen that is consumed on the earth. About six tenths of all phytoplankton are diatoms, and the ocean averages 7 to 8 billion per square metre. Plankton diatoms divide once every 18 to 36 hours, and the life cycle of a diatom is about 6 days. Marine diatomaceous phytoplankton is often called ‘grass of the sea’ because many ocean creatures depend on them for food. Masses of them are consumed in the food chain, as it takes 10,000 lbs of diatoms to make 1,000 lbs of coepeds, then 100 lbs of herring and finally 1lb of tuna fish.
The predominant species of diatom in each deposit give each source different properties, an important consideration when choosing a product for a particular use.