See more from this Session: Soil Minerals and Human Health: II/Div. S09 Business Meeting
Tuesday, November 2, 2010: 2:30 PM
Long Beach Convention Center, Room 202C, Second Floor
Soil is known to perform unique functions that are basic to life such as regulating water supplies, recycling of raw materials, providing medium for plant growth, habitat for soil organisms, and a medium for engineering. What scientists started realizing in the 20th century is that soil can also be a source of compounds that can be used to combat human diseases and health supplements. At present, many cultures ingest soils for traditional medicine, for dietary supplements, and as pastimes in what has been referred to as “geophagy”. This practice continues inspite of health Department warnings on the risks of such practice. Therefore evaluating the usefulness of soil materials to alleviate problems has become a major part of soil mineralogy. The goal of this study is to describe and characterize the geochemical and mineralogical properties of selected geophagic materials from different cultures. The geophagic materials will be collected from the different cultures where they are deliberately and regularly injested for different reasons, studied and characterized with respect to soil material morphology, chemical and mineralogical properties. XRD techniques will be employed to characterize the mineralogy of the soils. Wet chemical and spectroscopic analyses will be carried out on the samples to characterize the chemical composition and the clay structural characteristics of the soil materials. Evaluation of data generated from the morphological, chemical and mineralogical analysis should indicate the health and nutrition imperative for the use of the soils as geophagic material.