Our Diatomaceous Earth (aka Fossil shell flour) comes from an extremely pure fresh water deposit of the diatom Aulacoseira from a deposit created in the Miocene epoch. Why is this diatom so special? Its shell is made of amorphous silica. Its shape and hardness are important to how it works. Its hardness keeps it from dissolving in liquid. The holes along the diatom’s wall allow it to absorb moisture, hence its commonly used as an anti-caking agent.
The colour of this DE is almost pure white and consists of 89% (and sometimes more) Silicon Dioxide plus 28 trace minerals which means more diatom surface area is available. More diatom area means greater absorptive capacity and more improvement in the mixability and flowability when used in animal feed. It does not swell nor absorb nutrients and thus poses no long-term hazard when used as an anti-caking agent in animal’s feed. Darker coloured DE often contains an excess of a particular mineral such as iron or a high percentage of clay.
Freshwater versus saltwater DE?
Freshwater deposits like in this DE, have a consistent diatom presence. Their fossilized shells have maintained their tubular shape. This shape and strength of the fossil shell is critical to its effectiveness. This deposit has 89 – 95% amorphous silica content and is also more consistent in its purity of other elements that have settled in it. A freshwater deposit is confined to the runoff water of its surrounding environment. A freshwater deposit in the mountains, such as in this DE, formed when snow was pure and its runoff provided the water source these diatoms lived in.
Saltwater deposits contain a mix of types of diatoms of different shapes. Their fossilized shells are fragile and break easily. This renders them ineffective for our purposes. The salt water deposits are less predictable in their sediments.
What’s the difference between amorphous and crystalline silica?
Amorphous silica is silica in its naturally occurring state. It is a trace mineral every mammal on the planet needs to live. It becomes crystalline when it is exposed to extreme heat through volcanic activity or commercial manufacturing means. The type of DE used in swimming pool, and other, filtration systems is crystalline silica. Crystalline silica is extremely dangerous when inhaled or ingested. It is not biodegradable. Our DE contains less than one half of 1% of crystalline silica and is considered GRAS (generally regarded as safe).
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