What Is Diatomaceous Earth? Facts, Benefits & History

 Diatomaceous earth is a sedimentary rock that is made from the fossilized remains of tiny, one-celled organisms called phytoplankton. Diatomaceous earth is sharp, hard, and abrasive and it is formed from the skeletons of diatoms when they die, which is easily crumbled into a fine white to off-white powder. It is used primarily as a filtering aid in products such as cat litter and food, and also as a preservative or desiccant. Diatomaceous earth is also used to clean or polish many things, but its uses in food, skincare, and hair care have made it popular in recent years as well. it's simply a mixture of the same species of hard-shelled algae that make up the majority of oceanic plankton. A single-cell organism, diatoms are synonymous with several other similar algal species that lend their names to a whole host of different products. These products include diatomaceous earth, which is used for gardening and animal food purposes; diatomite, used for construction energy generation and medical industries; and DAP (diammonium phosphate), a common additive in various fertilizers. 

 Diatomite (diatomaceous earth) (6.8 centimeters across) 


History Diatomaceous Earth.

In the early 1900s, scientists were trying to find a way to control insect populations and started using this particular form of rock, which had a high amount of fossilized diatoms, to trap the insects. It wasn't until the 1960s that it was discovered that this rock was able to kill insects by causing dehydration and irritating their exoskeletons.



Composition and Formation of Diatomaceous Earth.

It is made of the skeletal remains of microscopic organisms called diatoms, which are single-celled algae. These fossils are composed of silica, calcium carbonate, and calcium phosphate in varying amounts with small quantities of other substances like magnesium and iron. The exact composition varies depending on where the rock was formed and how it was held during formation. Diatomaceous earth (also known as DE or D.E.) is finely-ground silica that's extracted from fossilized remains of microscopic algae. Diatomaceous earth is a sedimentary rock formed during the process of fossilization. These algae die and become embedded in layers within the sedimentary rock (called kieselguhr). The diatomaceous earth is essentially made of the small silica particles that are found inside these tiny shells – but at a much higher concentration! The technique used to extract DE from the fossils is a common process among miners, who remove the fossilized shells of diatoms from limestone, looking for deposits of valuable minerals.

Siliceous-microfossil


Types of  Diatomaceous Earth

Food Grade DE

The most common form of DE available today is known as "food grade," which is derived from the fossilized remains of diatoms that lived in lakes and rivers millions of years ago. This type of DE contains approximately 95% silica and only 5% organic matter such as pollen, algae, or bacteria.

Industrial Grade DE

"Industrial grade" DE is derived from the fossilized remains of large algae known as calcareous micro-organisms (CAM), which are more commonly known as "seaweed." CAMs predate the diatoms and are typically found in deeper water near shorelines where oxygen is less available to them.


Benefits of Diatomaceous Earth:


DE is used as a natural pesticide to eliminate insects and other pests that destroy plants and crops including termites. It is excellent at killing mites, ants, mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas. When treated soil or plants are exposed to DE for an extended period, the insect remains to die from dehydration and dehydration causes the insect's exoskeleton to become brittle and break down on contact with water.*


The bacteria in the soil eat the dead insects before they decompose so there is no need to apply additional pesticides. DE is safe for people and animals when properly used. It can disperse over wide areas without harming livestock or plants because it is non-toxic

Most people think of diatomaceous earth as a substance that's used in gardens, but it's actually a very versatile material with several uses. It's used in the production of insecticides, fungicides, and herbicides, but has also gained popularity as an all-purpose cleaner.

The fossilized remains are three-dimensional and resemble small, silica grains (the outer shell of algae), which makes it an excellent filter for filtering out impurities in water. Each filter is made up of two parts: the diatomite, which is the fossilized remains of diatoms, and the silica gel, which traps the impurities in water.

diatomaceous dirt


What is the side effect of taking diatomaceous earth?

Because it's a natural product, it doesn't have many side effects. However, some people may be allergic to it. If you know that you're sensitive to diatomaceous earth, you should speak with your doctor before using it or taking any other supplements containing silica or clay. Diatomaceous earth is harmless to most animals, including humans. However, because animals do not metabolize their ingredients very well, they can get toxic levels of silicic acid when they eat large amounts of dried diatomaceous earth (which contains tiny bits of silica)


Conclusion


Diatomaceous earth is a natural and organic substance that has become popular in the world of health and wellness, due to its wide variety of purported uses. While it is naturally occurring, its uses have been somewhat misunderstood, as some people believe that diatomaceous earth can be used to treat and prevent disease, but this wasn't true. This article is intended to set the record straight. While these uses may help you understand what diatomaceous earth is, the benefits of adding it to your pet's diet are more difficult to find. Diatomaceous earth helps with minor health problems such as hairballs in cats and food digestibility in dogs. Human studies on the benefits of diatomaceous earth have led to inconclusive results. Also concerning are diatomaceous earth's potential side effects and the possibility that the use of diatomaceous earth could kill worms and parasites in your body. However, since there is little or no evidence that these things happen, most people have decided to just enjoy their pets' diet without worrying about whether or not they are ingesting large amounts of food-grade diatomaceous earth.


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