With 28% abundance Silicon (Si) is after oxygen the most abundant element on earth In the earth crust, 95% of the element silicon is present in the form of silicates. Several thousands of different silicon compounds are known.
The forgotten mineral
In the first part of the 1960’s a scientific article of the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that silicon was inert and did not play any role in the human body. A remarkable statement because 7% of all the minerals in the human body is silicon. Only in the 1990’s it was recognized, that Si was not inert at all. As a matter of fact it was the most important mineral of them all!
From that moment on research on silicon took off worldwide, not only in the human body but also in animals and plants. Overwhelming evidence showed that Si was responsible for many beneficial processes taking place in human beings, animals and plants. In humans enough Si-intake would reduce the chance of suffering from osteoporosis (decalcification of the trabecular bone) by 30 - 40% for women after menopause. Also it was scientifically supported that Silicon prevents and cures brittle nails and hairs; it enhances the immune system; it cures bone fractures more rapidly; it can ameliorate and even cure bone arthritis; it can reduce wrinkles permanently in women with photo damaged skin. In animals comparable results were found.
A profound effect was also found in the metabolism of plants resulting in higher crop yields, better quality plants and fruits, less water demand, better resistance against (a)biotic stress; more chlorophyll, less consumption of pesticides and insecticides, etc. Silicon has long been the forgotten mineral; science has been working on it for only some 20 years. For this reason, it seems that the important role of silicon comes ‘out of the blue’ for most people; however the biochemistry and positive effects of silicon has been there all the time. We just were not aware of it!
Basics of Silicic Acid
It was discovered that of all the silicon compounds known, only one molecule is bio-available i.e. can be absorbed by organisms either human, animal or plant. This molecule is silicic acid; Si(OH)4. However, there is a problem with silicic acid. It is highly unstable as it reacts with itself to form long chains of molecules which eventually turns the compound into a gel. This process is called polymerization. After polymerization sets in, this process is irreversible and the molecules are not bio-available anymore.
So, how could silicic acid be stabilized?
Some years ago, in a joint effort, silicic acid was stabilized in its monomeric form. It was also discovered that adding the element boron (B) further enhanced the positive effect of the stabilized silicic acid. The technology of producing stabilized silicic acid and to combine it with a mineral was patented. Si Technologies International B.V. owns the exclusive license rights to the patent and is therefore legally authorised to manufacture and sell the product.
From numerous scientific studies, we already knew the positive effects of silicic acid. Now we found a way to stabilize this molecule.
Is stabilized silicic acid safe?
The first product based on stabilized acid was called SiWell, a food supplement for human consumption. At a later stage, NewSil was formulated and tested on plants. (So one should realize that NewSil in fact is as safe as the human food supplement). NewSil applied as a foliar spray showed highly positive effects on the metabolism of plants even though it is applied in very tiny amounts of about 16 ppm (parts per million), much less than most pesticides and chemicals used in agriculture.
How could NewSil bring such an effect then?
Many trials on numerous crops in a variety of soils and weather conditions, showed that NewSil acts as a growth enhancer. NewSil "fires up" the metabolism giving the plant a jump start. Most of the effect of silicon on the metabolism is not yet known in biochemistry but it seems to be a regulatory mechanism switching genes in organisms on or off. The action of NewSil is different from fertilizers or conventional micronutrients. NewSil causes the plant to take up more nutrients more efficiently. The United States of America, has recently recognized silicon as "beneficial to plants".
Impact of NewSil on drought stress
Scientific tests evidence fact that silicon reduces the water demand of plants substantially, even up to 50%. As from 2015 on, universities in Zambia and Malawi together with the Zambia Agriculture Research Institute will execute a three year research program with NewSil titled "enhanced resilience to seasonal dry spells in rainfed maize, and upland rice using silicon based fertilizer".
Impact of NewSil on climate change
It has been observed and scientifically measured that the chlorophyll content (wich causes the green color) in treated plants was significantly higher than in untreated plants (e.g. it was detected that Bangalore held 70% more chlorophyll). This means that photosynthesis which uses CO2 as a carbon source is increased and as a consequence the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere diminishes. More CO2 will be stored in depot, which improves the carbon foot print.
Social impact of NewSil
Today the world inhabits 7 billion people. In 40 years from now it will be 9 billion and the worlds Agricultural food production needs to double by that time. In 10 years from now the available arable land will be half of what it is today because more and more arable land is running dry, is sacrificed to biofuel crops or urbanization. Of the arable land 40% is irrigated with water pumped up from contained layers deep in the ground (aquifers). These will partially run dry eventually. In the next decade the amount of middle class families will double, in particular Asia. They will shift from a dominantly vegetarian to a meat diet. However it is well known; cattle take up space, pollute the environment and consume a lot of bio crops that could also be directly taken up by human beings. Cattle is highly inefficient producer of proteins. Last but not least, overconsumption in the Western world and crop failures due to climate change will put pressure on the availability and distribution of food.
Overall, the agricultural output has to be increased by a factor 7 over the next 40 years in order to feed all the people and cattle in the world and supply the increasing demand for biofuel. If we do not succeed in this, people will starve and food wars may break out. As NewSil is capable of increasing crop yields by 20-50%, this new technology can contribute to boost the agricultural output.
On a micro scale NewSil will contribute to the improvement of the economic position of the small scale famer. Small farmers will have higher crop yields and consequently a more reliable source of feeding their families and generate a better income with less possibly less expenditure (e.g. reduction in pesticides);
NewSil has official product registrations in India, South Africa and Indonesia.
All together, NewSil can be considered as a new groundbreaking technology ready to cope with the Agricultural challenge of today and tomorrow.