Biological transmutations – silica and grazing animals

biological biology transmutations silica silicon herds animalsThe Biological Transmutations book by Louis Kervran suggest that the natural element silicon in silica might be naturally transmuted (changed) by animals into something else - Kervran's first example is chickens converting it into calcium for their eggs and chick skeletons.

Do other animals, other life forms naturally carry out biologically transmutations of various forms/compounds of silicon including silica (silicon dioxide)?

Even though it is poorly soluble, silica occurs widely in many plants. Plant materials with high silica phytolith content appear to be of importance to grazing animals, from chewing insects to ungulates. Studies have shown that it accelerates tooth wear, and high levels of silica in plants frequently eaten by herbivores may have developed as a defense mechanism against predation.

... Silicification in and by cells has been common in the biological world for well over a billion years. In the modern world it occurs in bacteria, single-celled organisms, plants, and animals (invertebrates and vertebrates).

... It is unclear in what ways silica is important in the nutrition of animals. This field of research is challenging because silica is ubiquitous and in most circumstances dissolves in trace quantities only. All the same it certainly does occur in the living body, leaving us with the problem that it is hard to create proper silica-free controls for purposes of research. This makes it difficult to be sure when the silica present has had operative beneficial effects, and when its presence is coincidental, or even harmful.

The current consensus is that it certainly seems important in the growth, strength, and management of many connective tissues. This is true not only for hard connective tissues such as bone and tooth but possibly in the biochemistry of the subcellular enzyme-containing structures as well.
Silicon dioxide - Biology | wikipedia

Recent discovery of phytoliths from grass has been found in dinosaur dung, indicates that grass probably evolved earlier than previously thought.
Phytoliths |

Silicon is an essential element in biology, although only tiny traces of it appear to be required by animals. However, various sea sponges as well as microorganisms like diatoms and radiolaria secrete skeletal structures made of silica. Silica is often deposited in plant tissues, such as in the bark and wood of Chrysobalanaceae and the silica cells and silicified trichomes of Cannabis sativa, horsetails and many grasses.
Silicon | wikipedia

Most elements are said by standard science theories to have been created by the Big Bang and supernovas (stars at the end of their life cycle). Chemical elements can mainly only be created by forms of nuclear processes.

The Electric Universe model (EU theory) seems to imply that elements are still being transmuted or created by plasma events around electric stars or other plasma phenomena.

If elements can be created or transmuted by non thermonuclear processes then could animals and life have a natural biological transmutations of elements such as silicon?

Silica phytolith as plant defence against grazing animals?

silica phytolith plant defence grazing animals biological transmutationsSilica found in or on planets as silica phytolith is suggested as a defensive mechanism against grazing animals (herbivores). Is this the simple answer?

Or is it mainly used to construct the plants defence?

Are the plants with higher silica content grazed more than lower silicon content grasses and plants?

Are the defences to stop the wrong type of animals from eating them but high enough silicon content to attract the correct sort of animals?

The other conspicuous feature of molars adapted for grazing abrasive grasses is the high crown, termed hypsodonty. In some herbivores the tooth is continually growing for at least part of the animal's life, replacing enamel that is worn away. The classic example is the evolution of the horse dentition in relation to the expanding grasslands of the Miocene in North America. The common wombat (Vombatus ursinus) has molars that continually grow throughout life at 0.1 mm per day in captive animals fed lucerne hay, but can double their growth rate if abrasives are added to the diet (G. Sanson, unpublished data). These responses are due to the abrasives in or on the diet wearing the teeth. Abrasives are derived from two sources, exogenous grit and silica phytoliths in the grass tissue. Baker et al. (1959)⇓ measured the hardness of oat phytoliths using a microhardness indenter and reported that they are harder than sheep teeth. However, Sanson et al. (2006)⇓ measured silica phytolith hardness in four species of cosmopolitan grasses with a nanoindenter and found that no phytoliths were harder than any reported value for mammalian tooth enamel. Endogenous silica may not be an important abrasive for mammals, but the crystalline silica that settles on plant surfaces is harder than tooth enamel and does scratch it. The distribution and effect of dust on grasses and other plants accessible to herbivores in dusty environments needs to be examined.
The biomechanics of browsing and grazing

Silica contents in the field were higher in more heavily grazed grasslands and in tissue produced earlier in the growing season. Animal dung contained substantial quantities of silica. Laboratory experiments indicated that tissue silicification was increased by defolaition, was higher in plants in more heavily grazed grasslands, varied in different organs and species confirming current hypotheses about plant defence, and was affected by the availability of soluble silca in the nutrient medium.
Silica as a defense against herbivory and growth promoter in African grasses. Ecology | researchgate

Silica can constitute 2–6 % of the dry weight of the leaves of grasses, many times higher than is typical in dicotyedonous plants. It is actively taken up as silicic acid from the soil, and the majority is deposited as hydrated amorphous silica within the lumen of epidermal cells, forming bodies known as phytoliths, whose shapes are characteristic of individual grass taxa
A Novel Mechanism by which Silica Defends Grasses Against Herbivory

Plants deposit silica in their tissues to a varying degree; some form almost none and other are extremely silica-rich, for example horsetails, palms, and grasses.
What are phytoliths? |

bilogical transmutations silicon silica phytolith grazing animals

Silica is known to alleviate numerous sources of stress in plants including herbivory, pathogens, drought, and heavy metal toxicity. Members of the Poaceae family (grasses) accumulate high levels of silica, most of which is deposited in specialized cells called phytoliths. Herbivores return these indigestible particles to the soil in their dung, contributing to a silicon cycle.

Silica accumulation by grass is frequently considered an adaptation for increased herbivore pressure, and fossil evidence links the global spread of grasslands in the Miocene to a radiation of hypsodont herbivores (alternatively, hypsodonty may be a response to increased grit/soil ingestion associated with open habitats).

Several studies led by Fergus Massey and Sue Hartley have highlighted the efficacy of high silica forage as an anti-herbivore compound, but it remains unclear whether silica accumulation evolved for this purpose or represents an exaptation.

Our recently published study indicates that water availability plays an important role in silica accumulation. Thus, the induced uptake of silica following defoliation may be an indirect response to altered plant-water relations.
Silica as a plant defense | Anderson Lab

Sword grass is a name used for some species of grasses with blades that are sharp enough to cut human skin. This is because they contain many silica phytoliths, a hardening material in many plants. The sharp blades help to discourage herbivores from grazing, protecting the grasses around it as well.
Sword grass | wikipedia

Understanding interactions between grasses and their herbivores is central to the conservation of species-rich grasslands and the protection of our most important crops against pests. Grasses employ a range of defenses against their natural enemies; silicon-based defenses have been shown to be one of the most effective. Silicon (Si) is laid down on the leaf surface as spines and other sharp bodies, known as phytoliths, making grasses abrasive and their foliage indigestible to herbivores. Previous studies on Si defenses found that closely related species may have similar levels of Si in the leaves but differ markedly in abrasiveness. Here we show how the number, shape and distribution of Si-rich phytoliths and spines differ within and between different grass species and demonstrate that species also differ in their ability to change the deposition and distribution of these defenses in response to damage or increases in Si supply.
Defending the leaf surface: intra- and inter-specific differences in silicon deposition in grasses in response to damage and silicon supply

Though phytoliths reduce the digestibility of grasses to small herbivores such as locusts which digest only the cell contents, they may not have the same effect for large vertebrate herbivores such as ruminants. In the fermenting rumen, cell walls are broken down by symbiotic bacteria, so large herbivores could digest high-silica grasses whether chewing has mechanically disrupted their cell walls or not. However, reduced mechanical breakdown could slow down the rate of digestion, so ruminants might have to chew high-silica grass for longer and reduce their consumption rate. In support of this, recent work has shown that high silica reduces the bite rate of sheep.
A Novel Mechanism by which Silica Defends Grasses Against Herbivory

the results of the two series of tests suggest that silica can affect the mechanical disruption of the walls of chlorenchyma cells in these grasses; proportionately less chlorophyll is released from high-silica grasses by mechanical grinding, while more chlorophyll is left in the faeces of locusts after they have eaten, chewed and digested grass. More chlorenchyma cells must therefore have remained intact in the high-silica plants. Since chlorenchyma cells contain high levels of starch and proteins, especially Rubisco, the mechanical protection of these cells by silica could well be at least partially responsible for the reduced digestibility of high-silica grasses.
A Novel Mechanism by which Silica Defends Grasses Against Herbivory