a member of the smectite family is a 2:1 clay, meaning that it has 2 tetrahedral sheets sandwiching a central octahedral sheet.  The particles are plate-shaped and extremely small with an average diameter of approximately 1 micrometer.  Montmorillonite’s colloidal nature lends it well to the transport of nutrients and enhanced bioavailability of nutrients. 

1st pie chart


Book Review of and Excerpts from:
Secrets Of The Soil
New Age Solutions for Restoring Our Planet
© 1989 by Peter Tompkins & Christopher Bird
Authors of the Secret Life of Plants
Harper & Row Publishers, NY
Isbn 0-06-015817-4
Lib. Congr. S591.T64


Montmorillonite tetrahedral molecular geometry 



    The known defense enzyme of the body, catalase, contains Iron and Copper; Molybedenum is a component of two enzymes (oxidases).  Many trace elements are also a part of vitamins.  One example is Cobalt, which is a component of Vitamin B-12.




    Iodine is a part of the complex protein molecule, thyroglobulin in the thyroid gland.  The trace element Zinc is a part of the insulin molecule in the pancreas.  Magnesium is contained in the protein chlorophyll, the green coloring matter of plaints.  Iron, on the other hand, is a part of the hemoglobin molecule, the red coloring matter of the blood.

    Copper is a valuable catalyst, especially in the oxidation-reduction mechanisms of all living cells.  Essential enzyme systems, including those responsible for the oxidation of ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), seem to be dependent on traces of Copper.

    The trace element Manganese activates the enzyme, arginase, upon which the formation of urea in the liver depends.  Lack of Manganese in soils causes citrus plants to be low in Vitamin C content.




    Traces of Fluorine are regularly present in human tissue, notably in the bones, teeth, thyroid gland, and the skin.  However, since Fluorine is a powerful inhibitor of cellular metabolism, it is poisonous in large does.  It inhibits a wide variety of enzymes as it combines with the metallic catalysts, such as, Calcium, Magnesium, Iron, Copper, Zinc, and Manganese. 

   This fact explains Flourine’s powerful effectiveness in preventing the growth of bacteria, so why not also in preventing the growth of animal and human cells?


    I think the foregoing facts prove that trace elements carry out a great variety of functions in the plant, animal, and human, and that they are absolutely indispensable to metabolic activity.

    Let us recall that trace elements function as catalysts and that a catalyst functions merely by its presence and never becomes a part of the reacting substances. 

   Its value lies in the fact that its mere presence sets off any and all metabolic activity.  Its action, known as catalysis, is a physical-chemical process, having the property to facilitate, speed up, and possibly even initiate a chemical reaction.  In all of these processes the catalyst itself does not undergo any change. 

   To be able to utilize catalysts intelligently, one must constantly bear in mind the facts just given.  We should also remember that minute quantities of trace elements are constantly needed to correct deficiencies that may occur.


    Trace elements are so-named because they exercise their influence and action on the mechanism of life, even when they are present in very small amounts (parts per million or even less) in the soil, or in the living cell, plant or animal or human.  We know today the reason of this enormous influence.

     Mineral trace elements, can directly influence the enzyme content of plants.  According to their correct use, mineral fertilizers improve or reduce the quality of agricultural products.  It is understandable, therefore, that a slight variation in the content of a trace element in the soil is sufficient to reduce the capacity of the animal, or human organism, to resist microbial attacks.

     The soil must be kept in good health if the animal is to remain in good health.  The same is true of man.




a.  Trace elements function as catalysts.  The most known trace elements are:  iodine-iron – zinc – copper – manganese – cobalt – silver – gold – nickel – chromium.  Trace elements act as catalysts and are involved in hormone and enzyme systems – and act as enzyme activators.

b. Trace elements produce profound biological effects within all living cells and are at the root of all living processes be it plants, animals or man.

c.  There exists significant inter-actions among trace elements, as for instance, iron and copper, both are concerned in the human with blood formation.  In plants iron and magnesium are closely associated in chlorophyll formation (the green coloring matter of plants).

d.  Trace elements are functional elements.   They act on a cellular basis.

e.  Combinations of trace elements acquire under certain conditions entirely new properties, very different from the properties of the individual elements, acting singly.

f.   Trace elements are used in case of inhibited enzyme activities.  They re-establish chemical balance in disturbed cells.

g.   Their function is to normalize enzyme activities.

h.  Trace elements act as catalysts as mentioned before.  Catalysts act merely by their presence. They regulate electronic exchanges and re-establish a balance in physico-chemical metabolic reactions. 

j.  A grouping of different catalysts behaves very different from the single chemical element catalyst.

k.  Trace elements help form enzymes or co-enzymes, and in such manner, function in the enzymes of proteins.  We must at all times keep in mind that all enzymes are proteins.