Diatomaceous Earth (DE)

Last updated: November 18, 2021

What Does Diatomaceous Earth (DE) Mean?

Diatomaceous earth (DE) is a naturally occurring siliceous sedimentary rock that is easily crumbled into a fine material. It is usually white to off-white in color and is processed as both a food-grade substance, which is suitable for animals and humans, and an industrial-grade substance, which is not edible.

Diatomaceous earth is also sometimes referred to as diatomite.


Maximum Yield Explains Diatomaceous Earth (DE)

Diatomaceous earth is the fossilized remains of diatoms, a form of complex algae. It has a particle size that ranges from less than three micrometers to more than one millimeter, but usually measures from 10 to 200 micrometers. Diatomaceous earth powder can have an abrasive feel and has a low density as a result of its high porosity.

In horticulture, industrial diatomaceous earth is used as an organic pesticide. Growers spread it on the surface of a soil in order to deter slugs and snails, who are bothered by its sharp surface area. While commonly known as a non-chemical insecticide, DE can also be used as a growing medium because it is very light and has a low density (just avoid use in flooding systems, as it may float when dry). Most diatomite used in a container can be recovered and reused after harvest.

Diatomaceous earth is also used in some abrasive cleaners and in swimming pool filtration systems.

Food-grade diatomaceous earth is often found in abrasive substances like toothpaste.


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