Sacha, their data isn't faulty, but your misapplication of their data is faulty. You've drawn conclusions that are not rational.So are you telling me this peer- reviewed scientific data is faulty?
Firstly, there are over 100,000 species of diatomic algae.
Is the species in your tank the same as they have analyzed?
Is the environmental conditions in your tank the same as in the environment the paper is based on?
The response of specific species depend greatly on the environment. It's very dangerous to extrapolate information and make assumptions about their behavior under your particular conditions. When I pull data from a journal I'm always cognizant of that fact. I make sure that it's relevant to my conditions. GSA, BGA and the others will behave differently in natural environments than they do in out tanks. They'll behave differently in fresh water versus salt water, and so on and so forth.
Secondly, so what if silicon is a major limiting nutrient for diatom growth? The condition in our tanks is the blooming of diatoms. Just because silicon is in abundance it does not mean that automatically diatoms will bloom. Diatoms can appear in a bare tank with RO water. Nutrients don't cause algae just by virtue of their presence. Something in our tanks triggers a diatomic bloom. If a food source is available they will take advantage but the food source does not trigger the bloom. The trigger is a much more sophisticated set of conditions and you have to deal with those root causes, not become obsessed with silicon. You've completely missed this important point.
Thirdly, and most importantly, the metabolic path of diatoms has nothing to do with silicon. I mean, glass is made of silicon and sand, clay and many rocks are composed of silicon, but diatoms cannot use silicon in this form. It must be silicic acid, typically orthosilicic acid (H4SiO4) which they process into Silicon Dioxide (SiO2). In order for sand and other silicon containing rocks to be hydrated into orthosilicic acid, the water needs to be about 4000 meters deep to develop enough pressure. So that's how it's produced in the ocean because the ocean is easily that deep. Your tank cannot produce orthosilicic acid from your Silicon containing hardscape (unless you have a tank that is as deep as The Abyss of course).
Fourthly, diatoms are very small, so they don't need a lot of orthosilicic acid. In natural systems orthosilicic acid content of less than 0.1 ppm can sustain a dominant population of diatoms once triggered, so it's not likely that you can starve out diatoms even if you do have high orthosilicic acid content.
Fifthly, diatoms in our tanks follow a boom-bust cycle. They take advantage of the hobbyists incompetence and bloom for a few weeks, then they go away - unless the hobbyist continues to degrade the tank with any combination of too much light, poor circulation, poor CO2 and poor cleaning habits. That's what this hobbyist did=> http://www.ukaps.org/forum/threads/diatom-dilemma.27208/
He didn't need a science degree, or try to solve the silicon content of the tank, or bemoan the fact that ceg4048 was a tyrant. He just followed the basic procedure and got on with his life and his problems went away. Now he knows that if and when diatoms appear, he has to stick with those procedures and he can be confident that the issue will be resolved.
So all of this hysteria about Silicon is completely misguided and what you should be looking at, within the context of our tanks is to reduce your lighting and to improve your flow/CO2 distribution.
The silicon lovers and high light lovers are the ones who continue to get diatoms. Instead of improving their technique and following the procedures, they make halfhearted attempts, fail, blame the procedure for their failure, and then try to find explanations for their failure in The Matrix.