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A Micro-Plant from the Past for Present and Future Use

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By Donna Porter

A million or so years ago, when the earth was younger and the seas covered the land and freshwater seas were abundant, billions of algae -like organisms developed.   All of the waters of the earth where inhabited by microscopic one-celled, algae-type plants called diatoms (Melosira spp.).  These diatoms absorbed the minerals (mainly silica) from the water, creating protective shells or exoskeletons for themselves. They lived in quantities beyond the mind’s ability to conceive and provided nutrition and sustenance for other forms of sea life. As they died, their exoskeletons sunk to the bottom of the sea beds where vast deposits- thousands of feet thick – were laid down. When the waters receded, these huge deposits were eventually covered with land and the shells fossilized and compressed into a soft, chalk-like rock called diatomite or diatomaceous earth (DE).  Geological upheavals over the eons have exposed these abundantly-rich sedimentary deposits.


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