On Gaia: A Critical Investigation of the Relationship between Life and Earth
Gaia, the brainchild of James Lovelock, was born in 1972. The historical constancy of Earth's chemical conditions and climate seemed just too much for chance alone. In Gaia it is postulated that the Earth's conditions were determined by the biosphere and regulated for the further benefit of life's persistence and activity. Gaia has motivated a huge number of biogeochemists to think about ecology on the planetary scale, and to examine what causes the movement and transformation of elements in global cycles.
In this book, Toby Tyrell — a professor of Earth science at the University of Southampton — offers a systematic, dispassionate, retrospective examination of Gaia. It will be hard to ignore the flaws in Gaia, illustrated nicely in a table showing the success and failure of Gaia relative to some alternative theories based on the geosciences and coevolution. In the face of data, Gaia fails in its idea that the Earth is held at conditions optimal for life. Using net primary production and biodiversity as metrics, Tyrell finds that the Earth is actually too cold for the maximum development of the biosphere. Gaia also fails in its postulate that the Earth is held at relatively stable conditions. True, the climate and biogeochemical cycles of the Holocene have been unusually stable, but over longer periods of time the biosphere has been buffeted by events that have dealt it quite a blow. What is remarkable is that life persisted at all — a statement of the power of evolution to rebuild the biosphere everywhere as long as life has endured somewhere.
Foodopoly. It’s about the corporate control of every aspect of our food system, from how what we eat is labeled to the pesticides we’re exposed to.
We, the people, must reclaim our democracy. We must reestablish strong antitrust laws to begin the work of fixing our broken, corporate-controlled food system. Our food system should work for consumers and farmers, not big agricultural, processing, retail, and chemical conglomerates.
How has consolidation enabled Monsanto, Tyson, Nestle, Kraft, Cargill, McDonalds and other giant companies to write our food policy, and why is it about to get worse?
Foodopoly delves into the history of food and farm policy to explain how the food supply became so consolidated. For example, only four gigantic companies process 80 percent of the beef we eat, and only four retailers sell 50 percent of the groceries. Today, one out of every three dollars spent on groceries in the United States goes to Walmart.
The top 10 fast-food companies control 47 percent of all fast food sales. Together, these industries have commandeered local economies, and now it is clear that the era of family farmers and mom and pop stores has ended. What’s not as clear is the effect this has on our political system...
Naturally occurring toxins that can harm humans, pets and wildlife have been found in more than 100 New York lakes, ponds and bays, including several in Westchester County, and, in many cases, at levels considered unsafe."
We "DO SOMETHING" about these problems by employing Biology to balance the unbalanced watershed and re-establish the food web dynamic (reversing hyper-eutrophication). We have presented with Putnam Lake, Lake Carmel, Lake Shenorock, Lake Lincolndale, Lake Mehaugh, Mohegan lake, Putnam Lake, Glenmere Lake, Lake Oscawana, Lake Peekskill, Mill Pond (So. Hampton, LI), Lake Champlain (Town of Burlington, VT), leonard Park Pond, Mt. Kisco, NY, Grand Lake St. Mary's, Lake Katonah, Katonah, NY, Hillside Lake, E. Fishkill, NY, Santuit Pond, MA.
We have active projects underway in Greenwood Lake, Duck Pond, Tarrytown Lakes Reservoir's, Lake Collins, Scotia, NY and hundreds of other Municipal as well as private lakes, drinking water reservoirs and ponds throughout the US as well as overseas, with great results in reversing eutrophication for over 40 years. There is no way around ignoring this problem anymore. We have a vital responsibility to ourselves and our community as well as our next generation, in terms of leaving a legacy of restoration as a best management practice (That WORKS).
Herbicides and Alum, Dredging,Weed Harvesting, Lowering the lake, employing Grass Carp, Aeration systems that are not up to professional grade, nor are engineered to achieve the task at hand are adequate alternatives for reasonable assessment any longer. "Expert" opinion's from "professional's" need to be brought to bear for accounting from their very expensive "expertise". That said, I am suggesting that anyone being paid for "professional Services" to consult on "lake Restoration" be reviewed on a basis from which they SHOW their results in reversing eutrophication in actual Lakes they have "restored".
I can speak to this specifically because I have lectured, advised, educated and informed the municipalities and private lake association's in public and private "Town Hall" style meetings for many years now. I have seen the "Folly" and our precious time and resources wasted as we permit this folly to continue any further frankly. There is and there are solution's to this problem. It will cost money.. Money that is accountable for results through reversal of putrid water bodies and restoring our greatest natural asset.. Our Water bodies.
I'm an open book.. Google me. See my youtube videos (moseljack) and seek me out for consultation. All the local politician's know me. Many run on a Lake Restoration as a 'stump' advocating and/or riding our wave from recent presentations.. lake Restoration is such a great platform.. Who'd buck it.
My partner Mr. John Tucci, President of Lake-savers and I have heard it all from those who seek to remain IN THE WAY of actual restoration and PROGRESS. I usually close (lately) with this:
"We are the last house on the block. We can do what we say we can do (other's cannot and have not). Their is no simple solution to reversing the decades of damage we all have done to our water. We can however engineer on a case by case basis, a plan for each lake and manage its' restoration with goal oriented targets to hit, on a 5 and 10 year basis. We increase depth from our process up to one foot per year and remove the accumulated organic detritus (muck) from the lake's bottom (where up to 60% of the TMDL from Phosphorus and Nitrogen are deposited). We remove 90% of Bio-available Phosphorus from these lakes in this way (Taking away the FUEL that cycles ALGAE growth). We're ready to talk when you all are."
Tid bit: I was present 25 years ago with the founder of Clean-Flo Labs Mr. Robert Laing, while Ii was installing a pilot project to restore a canal off the East River, NYC in English Kills in Newtown Creek. We were asked by URS Consultant's (Env. Engineers for NYC) and the City of NY to provide a plan to provide our systems in ALL the 12 NYC Drinking Water Reservoir's. We were also asked to provide our scalable process for the Hudson River. It was then that we received an immediate cold shoulder from both project's after other dredging outfits and wastewater treatment facilities construction plans were to take center stage in our stead. We had at that time just completed a restoration in Formies France on a 15 mile River (Le helpe' River) and subsequently won France's highest environmental award for achieving what we did. So.. Show me YOUR interest and tell me when WE get moving...
Jack Mosel, Senior Lake Restoration Consultant Lake-Savers
John and I were having a late-night philosophical mumble about what it takes to restore a lake. I said, “To restore a lake you have to think like the lake.” John said “that’s stretching the hyperbole a bit.” I said, “Thinking...
The comment I made that 90% of the TMDL Phosphorus that will be removed is going to be from within the waterbody itself, where the overall TMDL I believe, is that 60% of which is from internal accumulation from within the lake.
(please forward to any/all >>> if you believe!)... :)
To Suncoast Coop farmer's, Florida:
Great news received tonight on your co-op group! I restore lakes (www.lake-savers.com). We have been employing natural processes to restore lakes in our country for many years now. We have been employing the use of a bio-available nano silica fertilizer in these lakes which have produced siliceous diatom colony growth. This advent has hyper-oxygenated the lakes we are restoring and as a result, zooplankton and fish are rapidly increasing and there health is great too.. I digress. The point here is that I have been researching this non-toxic additive to use in our lakes to overcome the nutrient loading from NPK fertilization from point source agriculture upstream. I think we all "get it" that this is a problem. The onset diatom growth is redirecting the nutrients arriving in the water bodies and directing the nutrients into zooplankton and fish instead of accumulating in the water body and then through this accumulation, causing internal loading dynamics that fuel weed growth/plant growth over animal (fish) growth. The reason I am stating this here on your blog is simple, I want to let you know that Lake-Savers' goal is to introduce a "Win - Win" scenario for agriculture and specifically organic farmers to consider what I am going to say very closely...
The Nano-Fertilizer we are employing in our lake restoration projects (nation-wide) is producing very good (remarkable) results, Oxygenation is super-saturated in these waters (from photosynthesis from siliceous diatoms) and nutrients are being redirected to higher order trophic levels, thus nutrient loads are dropping, weed growth is diminishing and depth is being increased one foot + per year (from bottom muck being bio-re-mediated) from aerobes, also benefiting from the abundant O2 produced, all from the enhanced and explosive onset siliceous diatom growth we are initiating from this process. The nano-silica with trace micro-nutrient's formulated precisely and elegantly from this inert and non-toxic, natural mineral compound (nano molecular additive) is so beneficially potent, it's remarkable that this is actually even possible. Science has been looking for such an additive for a very long time actually to accomplish the very same thing we are now realizing within our water-body projects.
Why is this note-worthy of my reaching out to you then as farmer's and local grower's?
Along with the bounty and all the benefits we are seeing from this additive within water-bodies is that this same nano-formulation of nano-available silica is also beneficial to agriculture as a foliar spray. As a foliar spray this nano-silica formulation will cause some remarkable results to all crops where it is applied. The advantages are the following:
Drought resistance (from fortifying the plant cell wall and making the plant much more efficient at retaining and using water). More energy efficient (Photo-Synthesis is greatly enhanced from leaves and stalks being raised to a higher angle to the sun from the plant being more stout from silica reinforcement). Greater strength plant (from being fortified with higher internal silica, the plant becomes less vulnerable to being blown over or to wilting and physical stress). More efficient use of NPK fertilizer (the plant is much more efficient overall and requires less fertilizer.. by up to a third less). Less or no need for pesticides (in many cases the nano-silica infused within the plant becomes a physical reinforcement or barrier, enhancing the armor quality of the leafs, insects cannot break the leaf with their jaws). Greater tasting, healthier and more nutritious food from the vegetation is reported due to the plants being more vital overall, from the silica enhanced and natural growing environment. Greater yields and over all greater plant size (Almost a doubling in the plants size and a 30% yield improvement has been recorded from agricultural use in India).
Secondary to these benefit's is that runoff from the nano-silica that reaches a water body will only help diatom growth. Diatom's are in soils... They are highly beneficial to native soils and provide as much benefit to soils as they do in lakes. The ancient humic soils, so rich in silica and nutrients support this.
As we are the U.S. Import / distributor's of this product, we are going to be reaching out to expand this message to agriculture and individual coop farmers and local-grow farmer's markets everywhere in the U.S.
GMO and heavy pesticide use is clearly hurting all of us.. There is no argument for GMO being more beneficial for greater yields in any commercial application, this is an untruth used to propagate the continued use for potentially harmful practices that support runaway GMO agricultural / commercialized farming practices. This myth is destroying the American Farmer and diminishing the nutrient value within our foods. Pesticides are also harmful, causing the onset promulgation of fatal disease and poor health. Pesticide's are clearly poisoning or waters and our foods (US!).
Anything that would decrease the use of these would only help to benefit us all directly.
I ask that you consider reaching out to us and let us 'pilot' this with you.. If you have a list or other contacts for connecting Local Grower's and local Coop Farmers we'd love to be informed about them too. We are pioneering this here in the U.S. and I'd like to thank you for your attention on reading all about this on your site.
Jack Mosel, Senior Lake Restoration Consultant Lake-Savers www.lake-savers.com email@example.com
"At the base of the Sound's food chain are diatoms–single celled organisms that are found in fresh and salt water."
We too have identified that the shift in the food chain due to decline in Diatoms is the cause of many problems in eutrophic waters.
We have invented an unique product to cause Diatom Algae to grow in both lakes and coastal waters.
Our product is a Nano Silica based micro nutrient called NUALGI [ Nutrition for Algae ]. The US Patent document is attached for your ready reference.
Nualgi contains Iron and 9 other trace metals / micro nutrients, all on a Nano Silica base. Since only Diatoms require silica, they consume it and grow rapidly.
Nualgi does not have any direct impact, either positive or negative, on other organisms in the water.
The indirect impacts are - the oxygen from diatoms causes the dissolved oxygen to increase and this causes beneficial aerobic bacteria to grow,
- diatoms consume nutrients, N and P, this reduces the availability to other phytoplankton - cyanobacteria and dinoflagellates and also weeds,
- the availability of diatoms causes bloom in organisms that feed on them to grow rapidly, in aquaculture ponds various types of zooplankton grow and the shrimp and fish feed on the diatoms and zooplankton.
Nualgi was invented for use in shrimp hatcheries, since shrimp feed only on diatoms for the first 3 days of their life.
Then the inventor Mr T Sampath Kumar of Bangalore, India discovered that Nualgi works even in large ponds and lakes and that the diatoms improved the water quality too. So we started promoting its use in Aquaculture ponds and polluted urban lakes.
We now have a distributor for Nualgi in USA, Lake Savers LLC, in Michigan and NY. They have been testing Nualgi since August 2011 and are very satisfied with the results and have written about it on their website -
"As part of our ongoing Biological Acceleration research and technology we’re deploying a silica based micro-nutrient formulation developed for Lake Savers by Nualgi Nanotechnology that’s proven to stimulate, regulate, and sustain continual diatom growth."
They are currently working only on fresh water lakes but would also like to work in coastal waters. Nualgi works in both fresh water and sea water.
We are confident that Nualgi can be used in Long Island Sound to cause Diatom Algae to grow and restore the food chain back to the earlier status.
Human activity has resulted in input of N and P into waterways and this has upset the natural balance, so decreasing input of N and P and / or adding silica and micro nutrients to balance the inputs for photosynthesis is the right solution. Nualgi can also be used in any aerobic process Wastewater Treatment Plant to reduce nutrient levels. So the problem can be solved at source or at the tail end waterway.
In agriculture too micro nutrients are used to balance the fertilizer and manure used. Iron Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, etc., are used.
Nualgi contains the same micro nutrients sold in fertilizer shops but these are on a nano silica base for better delivery and consumption by Diatoms. This is a better way to deliver micro nutrients than using chelating agents such as EDTA.
I would like to introduce John Tucci and Jack Mosel of Lake Savers to you.
Jack is in Carmel NY and can tell you about a few lakes in NY in which he is using Nualgi.
A major mineral is missing in many soils and most soil tests do not even monitor its presence. This mineral can increase stress resistance, boost photosynthesis and chlorophyll content, improve drought resistance, salt tolerance and soil fertility and prevent lodging. lt can also reduce insect pressure, frost damage and destructive disease while lowering irrigation rates, neutralising heavy metal toxicity and countering the negative effects of excess sodium. If I were to tell you that this same missing mineral can increase root growth, boost yield and enhance crop quality, you could well ask, “how could we have overlooked something so important?” and you would be correctIt has been a serious oversight. The mineral in question is silicon, and science is rapidly revealing the scope and scale of our silicon neglect. Poverty in a Sea of Abundance Silicon is not classed as an essential nutrient, but, in response to a wealth of new findings highlighting the importance of this nutrient, that status may soon change. Silicon is the second most abundant mineral on the planet. It is everywhere. Clays are alumina silicates and sand is largely silicon, so how could there be a shortage of silicon? The answer lies in the form of silicon that enters the plant. Plants uptake silicon as silicic acid and this is what is missing in the soil. Something we have done in conventional agriculture appears to have compromised the conversion of insoluble silicon into the plant available form. It may reflect a mineral imbalance or we may have knocked out some of the soil microbe species that solubilise this mineral. It is not yet understood what drove the widespread deficiency but we do know that a healthy, disease suppressive soil should contain 100 ppm of monosilicic acid (as measured in a soil analysis) and very few soils come anywhere near that mark! Little was known about the multiple roles of silicon until recently. It was known to be present in every soil but it was only when it became less plant available that it was realised that there may be a link between this loss and a host of growing problems. During the last decade, silicon seems to have become “flavour of the month” in the soil science community. Researchers have delved more deeply and hundreds of papers have been presented at the International Silicon Conferences in Brazil and South Africa. This neglected mineral is now emerging as a key player in proactive pest and disease management and the production of nutrient dense food. If you are not yet aware of the silicon story then this article should serve to fill some gaps.
Cell Strength is Resilience
The cell wall in plants is a substantial barrier that must be breached to gain access to the goodies within. A fungal pathogen must drill through this wall with its hyphae to be able to tap into the nutritious cell centre. Once this goal is achieved, the pest has the food source that sponsors its spread, and a disease is born. There is an obvious opportunity here to stop the pathogen in its tracks. What happens if we strengthen that cell wall so that the hyphae buckle? It’s simple – the disease cannot gain a foothold and will not spread. Similarly, why would a leaf eating insect choose to wear out his eating gear on silicon-strengthened rock cakes when it can go elsewhere for sponge. Many published papers have now confirmed the exciting potential for increased disease and insect resistance through good silicon nutrition. In one paper presented at the South African conference, soluble silicon used as a soil drench had the equivalent inhibitory effect as phosphorus acid in the management of phytopthora in avocados. However, the silicon-treated plants had much more vigorous roots and canopies. In another case silicon was shown to offer effective management of dreaded black sigatoka in bananas. Other papers reported efficacy against brown rust in sugar cane, powdery mildew in cucurbits, fusarium wilt in potatoes and leaf blast in rice. Interestingly, the plant understands the protective potential of silicon, even if we don’t. When a disease begins, the plant directs all available silicon to the attack site, to strengthen the surrounding cells and stop or slow the spread of the pathogen. There is a problem here, though, because silicon is immobile once incorporated into the cell wall. It must be in constant supply so that the plant can utilise it at these times. Most soils contain less than half of the soluble silicon required so there can be significant benefits in foliar spraying silicon at the first sign of a disease. This can stop the spread of the disease and many growers are successfully using this strategy.
Silicon and Sun Power
Photosynthesis is the most important process on the planet. The green plant is the only source of food and the management of chlorophyll, the green pigment where all the action happens, is the chief role of the farmer. Silicon is a gold sponsor of the sugar factories within the plant as it supports this process in several ways. The leaf is essentially a solar panel, the underside of which also serves to capture the CO2 gas as it rises from the roots and soil life. The better that panel is presented, the more efficient it will prove in capturing sunlight, water and CO2 (the three components of photosynthesis). Silicon strengthens the stem and holds that panel in perfect position. The plant is less likely to droop in warm conditions and more likely to maximise photosynthesis. Minerals are the major players in the photosynthesis equation. Blotches, stripes and pale colours, from shortages of minerals, represent the mismanagement of chlorophyll. Sometimes it’s not just the lack of these nutrients but their delivery into the crop that is the issue. Silicon can have a big impact upon mineral uptake. Phloem and xylem are the pathways that govern mineral absorption and the translocation of minerals within the plant. These nutrient highways are built from silicon and their performance will suffer in its absence. Calcium is an example of a poorly translocated mineral that will be utilised more efficiently when the nutrient highways are broad and true. Boron is a calcium synergist, which can improve the performance of calcium, but it has recently been recognized that boron also boosts silicon uptake. Boron solubilises insoluble silicon and it is a good idea to combine boron, calcium and silicon in your program to maximise the synergistic potential of the trio. One popular strategy involves the application of boron to the soil in late winter to trigger the release of silicon. The soluble silicon will be used to build the super highways that will improve the sluggish uptake of calcium (needed for cell division during the spring flush).
Silicon – The Stress Savior
There are two types of stress that affect production negatively. Abiotic stress involves the negative impact of environmental factors upon living organisms and biotic stress is about pest pressure. Abiotic stress is the single most harmful factor impacting crop growth and productivity on the planet and it can only have more impact as global warming progresses. However, biotic stress is not far behind. Every year since we began the chemical experiment in agriculture there has been an increase in the total amount of chemicals applied on a global scale and every year there has also been a marked increase in pest pressure. The current path is not sustainable; in fact it is not working! There is an obvious relationship between abiotic stress and biotic stress in that environmental factors will increase pest pressure. We are seeing this in all of the countries in which we work. Even in the local ginger industry, right on our doorstep, growers are experiencing pythium pressure unlike anything they have previously experienced. This destructive fungus has found a new niche in the wettest growing season ever. This does not represent a deficiency of fungicides but rather it highlights the desperate need for a more holistic approach that will offer a greater level of inherent protection during times of stress. Silicon can reduce the impact of both abiotic and biotic stressors and it represents an essential component of a program designed to create a disease suppressive soil and stress resistant plants. The stronger the cell wall, the more stress resistant the plant, whether that stress is from pathogens or non-living factors. Part of the climate change forecast is an increase in extreme weather events. Wind can be particularly destructive in that it can promote lodging, which can render the crop unharvestible. At the most recent silicon conference, Iranian researcher, A. Fallah, presented a paper reporting a reduction of silicon within the plant associated with high nitrogen usage. It is already understood that over application of nitrogen has a nutrient diluting effect and that the mineral most affected is potassium. Now we understand that mismanagement of nitrogen can also impact silicon nutrition and the associated protective effect of this mineral. In this instance, weaker stem strength and increased susceptibility to lodging were noted in the rice crop studied. Fallah reported much stronger stems and resistance to lodging in silicon treated crops. One of the stressors that is becoming more of an issue in many soils is the oversupply of heavy metals, salts and some trace minerals. In all cases, silicon has been shown to mitigate the stress. Copper (Cu) can build up in the soil due to the overuse of fungicides. We have found humates a valuable tool to neutralise the negatives associated with this excess. Silica has been effective in mitigating the effect of a variety of heavy metals but recent US research suggests that silicon may be a viable management tool in high copper soils. J. Li, J. Frankz and S. Leisner working in flower crops in Ohio, found that silicon could very effectively mitigate Cu toxicity stress and the improvement was measured on multiple levels. Swedish researchers working in cadmium contaminated soils found that the higher the silicon level in the plant, the lower the cadmium level. In fact, there was 60% less cadmium in the silica treated food grains. In some exciting Russian research involving wheat, silica was shown to alleviate salt stress quite dramatically. Wheat is notoriously sensitive to high salinity and the salt created a major decrease in photosynthesis. The addition of silicon to the soil resulted in increases in photosynthesis ranging from 158% to 520% depending upon the salt concentration in the soil. This is one of several studies highlighting the silicon link to salt management. We always recommend the inclusion of small amounts of humic acid and potassium silicate with every irrigation, to manage saline irrigation water. A South Australian study reported reduced drought stress and an associated reduction in pest pressure following silicon treatment. This study found that applied silicon mitigated the increased insect pressure that was a direct effect of high levels of nitrogen. Not only does high N shut down silica uptake but applied silica can also compensate for this nitrogen mismanagement. Cold stress can even be addressed with silicon. South African scientists working with bananas have shown that silicon protected the plants from cold damage and that an associated increase in vigour decreased the banana’s susceptibility to Fusarium Wilt. This enhanced protection from disease has been well researched. A recent Japanese study entitled “Silicon in the Control of Diseases in Rice, Sorghum and Soybean”, found reductions in brown spot pressure that varied between 35% and 75% in rice studies. They found significant reductions in anthracnose in silicon-treated sorghum and the results were quite dramatic when foliar applying potassium silicate to manage soybean rust. They concluded their paper with the following words; “The results of these studies underscore the importance of Si to increase plant resistance to foliar disease”. This increase in disease resistance was originally thought to be related to the “barrier effect” linked to increased cell strength, but it is now understood to be also related to increased plant immunity.
One of the most dynamic research streams in agricultural science relates to the investigation of plant immunity and the triggers that activates the plant to fight its own battles. It is now understood that the plant has an immune system, which can be both monitored and magnified. Salicylic acid, for example, the biochemical upon which aspirin is based, activates the plant’s immune system. Aloe vera is the richest natural source of this compound and many of our growers benefit from the inclusion of this plant extract in their programs. Recently, silicon has been found to trigger the production of a suite of compounds that fuel immunity. This mineral is now seen as an integral tool in proactive pest management as it offers both protective cell strength while also fuelling a robust defense system. Phenolic compounds are one of the biochemicals that are part of this defense system and these compounds are now recognised as key players in the protection of avocado trees from Phytopthora cinnamoni. T.F Bekker, et al, from the University of Pretoria, conducted research which demonstrated that soil applications of potassium silicate to soils affected by this disease, increased the total phenolic content of the avocado root tissue. It is interesting to note that this silicon-based, immune response is most pronounced when there is existing disease pressure. It’s almost like the plant calls in the heavy artillery when the going gets tough!
A Canadian paper presented at the South African conference involved the study of 30,000 genes. The researchers reported that unstressed plants appeared to be minimally affected by silicon feeding with the associated up regulating of only two genes. (Note: upregulation is the process by which a cell increases the quantity of a cellular component such as RNA or protein in response to an external variable.) However, in stressed plants (affected by powdery mildew) there was an up regulation of a number of genes. A Spanish paper also covered the Powdery Mildew control potential of silicon and they found that the inclusion of amino acids with the silicon fertiliser enhanced the response. Russian researchers have hypothesised that the plant immune system requires mobile silica compounds and if there is luxury levels of silica available to the plant there will be additional synthesis of stress protection molecules. A co-operative research effort between American and Japanese scientists showed that silica related resistance involves multiple pathways and that silica amendment clearly alters plant defense signaling, increasing the plant’s disease resistance.
But WAIT! There’s More..
Not only does silicon offer increased pest and stress resistance. It can also provide a major fertilising response and substantial yield increases. In a paper by J Bernal, involving research with rice and sugarcane in Columbia, just 100 to 200 kg of magnesium silicate per hectare achieved yield increases of 14.63% in sugar cane and the increases in rice ranged from 21% to 33% (depending upon the application rate). Iranian research with rice mirrored the South American findings but in this case the yield increase was 22% after applications of 500 kg of silicon. Rice and sugarcane have been most researched, as they are recognised silicon accumulators. In fact, rice has the highest levels of silicon of any crop. However, we have found that most crops respond to silica and research is now quantifying our in field experience. Brazilian researchers trialed six different application rates of potassium silicate on potatoes and found that the1% rate was most effective. In fact, 6 litres of potassium silicate in 600 litres of water, sprayed each week during the crop cycle, produced an impressive yield increase of 22.4%. Australian, M. Lynch, a champion of silica fertilisers for over a decade, presented a paper at the SA conference where he suggests that silica fertilisers have consistently outperformed high analysis fertilisers in cereal production. This has included increased protein levels, increased yields, decreased screenings and increased grains/heads. He contends that silica fertilised grapes have superior skin quality, higher brix values, uniform bunch size and a virtual absence of fungal diseases. At NTS, we have often found unexpected benefits when including silicon in programs. An avocado grower from North Queensland found that he no longer lost up to 15% of his crop to wind abrasion. The increased skin strength created fruit that did not mark when the fruit rubbed against the branches in windy conditions. Golf courses often report that the greens are wearing better following applications of liquid, micronised diatomaceous earth (a rich silicon source).
Silicon and You
If plants respond so favourably to silicon, what about humans? One could assume that if most plants are silica deficient then most people would also suffer from a shortage of this mineral. The Japanese Government has certainly recognised this problem and have strongly encouraged the use of soluble silica on rice crops. H M Laane from the Netherlands, presented a research summary of human health research into silicon. The human body contains 7 grams of silicon, which is more than all the other trace minerals put together. High levels of this mineral are deposited in bones, nails, tendons and the walls of the aorta and substantial amounts are found in the kidneys, liver and lungs. Silica intereacts with several minerals but important research has highlighted the use of silicon as a means of inhibiting aluminium toxicity. Aluminium has been strongly implicated in the plague of Alzheimers disease which now sees 1 in 4 Westerners over 65 succumb to this disease. Silicon is also a calcium synergist and should be included in all good calcium supplements. H M Laane concluded that dietary levels in Western diets are too low and there is a coincidence with increased skin, hair and nail problems, osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s disease. There are also obvious benefits in silicon-strengthened arteries.
Fertiliser Sources of Silicon
Silica fertilisers are available in liquid and solid form and the liquids offer the most rapid response. Silicon is found in good levels in rock mineral fertilisers and in rock phosphate and guano products. However, this is not the plant available form of the mineral and, depending on the particle size, it may take many years for the mineral to become available. This is not the case if the fertiliser is a calcium silicate or magnesium silicate but you need to ask about the solubility of any silica fertiliser you may be considering. This is also not the case if these materials are micronised. Diatomaceous earth in the amorphous form is a very rich source of insoluble silica. The material is basically the exoskeletons of tiny prehistoric creatures called diatoms. These remains contain up to 85% silica dioxide and the silica shell is sharp and jagged under a microscope, almost like a broken razor blade.
Diatomaceous earth has been used as a natural insecticide for decades, as the jagged, little razor blades can cut up the offending insect’s exoskeleton causing the creature to dehydrate and die. This material is also used internally as a natural means to control intestinal parasites. The rich silica lode fromdiatomaceous earth can be made plant-available by micronising the material right down to a tiny particle size of 5 microns. It can then be held in a liquid suspension and applied via boom spray or fertigation. As little as 5 litres of liquid, micronized diatomaceous earth per hectare, applied through fertigation on a regular basis, can lift leaf levels of silica into the luxury zone, with all of the associated benefits. Potassium silicate is a good soluble form of silica but it is not compatible with many other fertilisers and must often be applied as a standalone. One way out of this limitation is to use a pre-formulated potassium silicate-based fertiliser which includes other synergists.
*** Note: We at Lake-saver's (www.lake-savers.com) are integrating a 'whole watershed' approach toward addressing "lake and watershed Restoration" as a connected and relevant 'Source, Point-Source, and Sink'.
Agriculture is a very big part of this connected approach
If we can make measured and impoving changes to agriculture (which helps agriculture), we can establish a truly win-win paradigm for all. As this article cites all the great benefits for Silica enrichment, there needs to be comparrison's made with the most effective and beneficial product to be employed through this approach. There are many provider's of Micronized Silica products available. We feel we have a truly unique nano / bio-available silica derived from nature with essential trace micro-nutrients combined, to accomplish all the benefits mentioned herein, as cited from the statement's above. We are importing/distributing and more importantly, applying a nano Silica product (Nualgi) already, here in the U.S. and we are seeing rapid onset Siliceous Diatom blooms in water bodies throughout the country from this past summer. Super saturated Oxygenation is also recorded (the fact that we are actually blooming Diatom's in water bodies is nothing short of amazing). We are seeing as an ancilliary benefit, that dense and invasive weed growth and summarily algae is also being erradicated from the shift in the trophic index from this bio-augmentation, to aerobes over anaerobes. The initial trials of the terrestrial foliar spray we are also now advocating, for watershed and agriculture, is substantiated, also from the above reference that grasses and other horticulture is holding up surprisingly well through drought condition's. We'd be happy to accomodate pilot projects throughout the U.S. We are the largest and most successful lake restoration company in the U.S. We have crew's that can accomodate very large projects and our technology is entirely scalar.
Jack Mosel (914) 260-5678 Senior Lake Restoration Consultanat Lake Savers firstname.lastname@example.org