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freshwater silt deposits containing large amounts of organic matter—for example, lignin and humus complexes, carbohydrates, and bitumens—in a colloidal state. Sapropels are used in medicine (physical therapy) for applications and diluted baths.
In agriculture sapropel is used after aeration as a fertilizer, especially on acid and light sandy soil and sandy loam; 30–40 tons/hectare are used for grain crops, and 60–70 tons/hectare are used for vegetable, potato, and root crops. Sapropel is also used in the preparation of composts. Sapropels, which are rich in salts of calcium, iron, and phosphorus, contain no sand and are poor in clay. They are added to the rations given agricultural animals as a mineral supplement; daily sapropel supplements reach 2 kg for hogs, 3 kg for cows, and 10–15 g for hens.