Some facts about diatoms

  • Diatom is any of a large group of tiny one-celled algae that live in fresh and salt water.
  • Diatoms are usually golden brown in color, but they may have a rodlike, round, triangular, rectangular, star, or oval shape.
  • Most diatoms are solitary, but some join together to form chains or other types of colonies.
  • Unlike seaweed and other kinds of algae, diatoms are enclosed by a pair of transparent cell walls, called valves.
  • Although diatoms contain the green pigment chlorophyll, they also contain brown pigments, which mask the green color and usually make the cell appear golden brown.
  • Diatoms are sometimes called the grass of the sea because they constitute a major food supply for many small aquatic animals that are eaten by fish, which are in turn consumed by man.
  • Without diatoms many fish could not survive. Diatoms are also the source of the valuable industrial material diatomite.