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Term "sapropel" means "putrid slime", it was proposed by Lautenberg in 1901 and by G. Potogne in 1904 irrespectively. Term as Gyttia may occur, but it didn't expand through the scientific literature. In therapeutic muds group they are consolidated under common name peloids, which means slimes.

Sapropel is bottom sediments of freshwater basins, originated as a result of oxygenless decaying of faded aquatic vegetation, life forms reminders and soil pieces drifted by water.

Sapropel relates to renewable natural resources and is a unique natural organic feedstock. Its sediments are typical only for freshwater basins. Its accumulation processes continue nowadays and moreover for majority of water basins it is a progressive character. Sapropel's chemical compound and peculiarities of different minefields are significantly different and defined by its formation conditions and by lakes' flora and fauna.

Three main components are detached in sapropel: water (from 60 to 97%), ash part (sand, loam, carbonates, phosphates silica and iron compounds, etc.) and organic compound of very complicated and non-uniform structure (not less than 15%). In general sapropel is composed by water, organic and non-organic parts. Depending on mineral part quantitative content sapropel is differentiated as organic, where non-organic (ash) part composes less than 30% in-equivalent of dry substance and multi-ashes sapropel as a result of various mineral compounds domination. The last are subdivided for carbonates (СаО), silica (SiO2) and mixed, containing approximately equal parts of SiO2 and CaO.

Besides silica and calcium mineral part of sapropel may contain compounds of iron, magnesium, potassium, aluminium, sulphur, phosphorous and other elements. Sapropel's mineral part contains great part of microelements as Со, Мn, Сu, В, Zn, I, Вг, Мо, Cr, Ве, Ni, Аg, Sn, Рb, Sr, Тi, which are significant for sapropel valuation as fertilizers, therapeutic agents, supplements for farm livestock.

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