Lithuanian Sapropel Association

Origins of sapropel

The fact is the world becoming increasingly concerned about food shortages, due to such factors as population explosion and the effects of climate change and weather patterns, the need for maximizing the potential of the land has never been greater.

To date the agricultural world is generally faced with a choice of chemically produced fertilizers, increasing rejected by the consumer, or manure based organic varieties. There is an alternative that combines the effectiveness of the former with the eco soundness of the second.

The beneficial properties of peat and sapropel have been known in Europe for many years as natural resources, successfully used in agriculture as fertilizing conditioners for soil structure and fertility improvement.

Meanwhile sapropel, despite its advantage over peat due to its superior agrochemical characteristics, has not been widely used because of numerous difficulties connected with its mining and processing.

Origins of lake sapropels

The term of sapropel from the Greek words sapros and pelos mean putrid and silt, mud. In this sense, Sapropels are formed in anaerobic conditions as the result of physical and chemical, as well as biological transformations of the lakes’ aquatic organisms provided different levels of the mineral and organic components involvement from terrigenous flow. The lakes flowage factor plays a great role in the benthic sediments formation. The average annual increase of sediments is 1 to 6.6 mm.

The sapropel sediments in modern lakes are typically not older than 12 thousand years. The freshwater pools sediments with organic substance content not less than 15% are considered sapropel, or else, if the organic substance content is lower, they are considered limnetic sediments. The composition and properties of sapropels from different deposits vary widely due to the parent lake productivity, surface flow peculiarities and climatic conditions.

Sapropel is a jelly-like homogeneous mass, its texture in upper layers is close to cream-like, and in lower layers it becomes denser. The sediments are odorless except for separate types which smell of hydrogen sulfide. Sapropel color depends on organic substance and mineral additions and it refers to caustobioliths.

Sapropel consists of silt solution, skeleton and colloidal complex. Silt solution includes water and substances dissolved in it – mineral salts, low molecular weight organic substances, vitamins and enzymes. The sapropel skeleton consists of non-decomposed flora and fauna remnants, and the colloidal complex includes compound organic substances causing the jelly-like texture of sapropel.


  • Caustiobiolithsare combustible natural resources (from Greek caustos– combustible, bios – life, litos– stone).
  • It is believed that all combustible natural resources – solid, liquid and gaseous were formed from remains of vegetative or animal origin.



  • Scientific discussion

    During the last 2017 summer days Association members initiated scientific discussion, which was related to sapropel benefits and application. The meeting took place in the Aleksandras Stulginskis University (ASU)

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  • Our members visiting Wageningen Soil Conference 2015

    Our members are attending Wageningen Soil Conference on the 23-27th August

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  • New generation soil probiotics – coming soon!

    We would like to inform you that our association members are developing new products – soil probiotics.

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