Diatomaceous Earth (What is it?)

Chia Jin Ngee mcblab47 at leonis.nus.sg
Fri Feb 18 23:58:03 EST 1994


Hi to all in bionetlant!

This is to benefit those who don't know what this dirt really is.

Well Diatomaceous Earth is basically the remains (eek :-|) of diatoms.
They are sea creatures or plankton. When they are alive, they make whales
very happy :->.  But when they die, they just drop down into the ocean bed
and form a layer of fossilized remains. Dead things just can't swim you
see. 

Then with tectonics and stuff, the sea bed was exposed on dry land and 
you get this dirt that happens to be very absorbant of moisture. Grind it 
up and you get some fine white powder that has a variety of purposes.

Its analysis is mainly silicon dioxide. Alfred Nobel himself used it for
making dynamite (kieselguhr). It is used mainly as a filter aid (Celite
545) as well. 

With its main content of silicon dioxide, it is no wonder that it is used 
as DNA binding resin in the "Magic Preps" and thin layer chromatography 
(TLC). Someone even hinted that it may be used to replace glass powder 
fines in glass milk. The TLC versions sized seleted to about 50 microns, 
are very absorbant to moisture (DNA?) and are called kieselgels from Merck.

Well that is the difference between diatomaceous earth and errh... dirt.

Blessings and regards
 --
Jin Ngee, Chia			Chemical Carcinogenesis Laboratory
(Genie, the OligoMan)		Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology
mcblab47 at leonis.nus.sg		National University of Singapore
Tel: (065)772-3797		Kent Ridge Crescent
Fax: (065)779-1117		Singapore 0511
"I'm Mr Chia not Ms Chia and I know Genie is a girl's name"-Jin Ngee, Chia



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