Humic Substances (Humates)
Humic substances are a group of complex organic compounds consisting of humic acids, fulvic acids, natural salts of these acids (e.g., calcium humates), and sponge-like substances called humin. Humic substances (which includes humic acids) naturally constitutes a large fraction of the organic matter in soil, and is formed through the process known as “humification.” Humification is the natural conversion of organic matter into humic substances by microorganisms in the soil. This process begins with microorganisms separating out sugars, starches, proteins, cellulose, and other carbon compounds from the organic matter. The microorganisms use these components in their own metabolic processes. Subsequently, the microorganisms transform the majority of the organically bound nutrients into a mineral form that areused by plants and other organisms. The portions of the organic matter that are not digested by the microorganisms accumulate as humic substances.
Humification does not occur in one step, but involves an intermediate substance called compost, which consists of a mixture of humic substances and partially decomposed organic matter. As the humification process proceeds, various chemicals dominate at different times until conversion to humic substances is complete
Humic and fulvic acids have been scientifically shown to perform 4 plant functions:
Increase cell permeability, which allows for more optimal nutrient uptake
Act as chelating agents to facilitate nutrient availability within the plant.
Providing structure for the soil by acting as a colloid.
Providing a cation-exchange site for elements to bind with the plants roots.
Humic substances play a vital role in soil fertility and plant nutrition. Plants grown on soils which contain adequate humin, humic adds (HAs), and fulvic adds (FAs) are less subject to stress, are healthier, produce higher yields; and the nutritional quality of harvested foods and feeds are superior. The value of humic substances in soil fertility and plant nutrition relates to the many functions these complex organic compounds perform as a part of the life cycle on earth. Most of the current agricultural products offered are either humus. humic acids or fulvic acids.
what are the BENEFITS OF HUMIC AND FULVIC ACIDS?
Helps to neutralize chlorine in tap water
Improves nutrient uptake and mobility via chelating action
Improves water retention and drainage of soil
Improves buffering capacity and cation exchange
Supports healthy microbial activity
Decreases plant uptake of toxins in soil
Boosts plant metabolism and cell division for better growth
Reduces amount of nutrients plants need
Organic Matter , Humus , Humic Acid , Fulvic Acid & Humins
Organic matter is defined as a grouping of carbon containing compounds which have originated from living beings and deposited on or within the earth's structural components. Soil organic matter includes the remains of all plant and animal bodies which have fallen on the earth's surface or purposely applied by man in the form of organically synthesized pesticides. A fertile soil should contain from 2-8 percent organic matter, most soils contain less than 2%. In acid, leached soils, which are often sandy, substantial portions of the organic matter is in the form of plant debris and fulvic acids (FAs). In neutral and alkaline soils a large percentage of the organic matter is present in the form of humic acids (HAs) and humin. When organic matter is burned, there remains a residual ash. The residual ash is composed of the minerals, trace elements required by plants and animals during their normal growth processes. Thus organic matter contains mineral elements required by plants. An accurate measurement of the organic matter content of the soil would be helpful in monitoring soil fertility.
Humus is the stable form of organic matter found in the soil. It is derived from dead plant and animal
residues that have undergone extensive decomposition. Humus is the organic or non mineral material
that makes up a large part of any fertile productive soil that is in good condition.
Humus is defined as a brown to black complex variable of carbon containing compounds not recognized under a light microscope as possessing cellular organization in the form of plant and animal bodies. Humus is separated from the non humic substances such as carbohydrates (a major fraction of soil carbon), fats, waxes, alkanes, peptides, amino acids, proteins, lipids and organic acids by the fact that distinct chemical formulae can be written for these non humic substances. Most small molecules of non humic substances are rapidly degraded by microorganisms within the soil. In contrast soil humus is slow to decompose (degrade) under natural soil conditions. When in combination with soil minerals soil humus can persist in the soil for several hundred years. Humus is the major soil organic matter component, making up 65% to 75% of the total. Humus assumes an important role as a fertility component of all soils, far in excess of the percentage contribution it makes to the total soil mass.
Humic acid acts as a major carrier of nutrients into plant roots via a transfer mechanism which operates as the plant absorbs water. The negative charge of a humic acid molecule attracts and bonds with positively charged nutrients (cations) in the soil. The bonded molecules are then transported with water towards the roots and into the plant.
Hydrogen, Oxygen and Carbon are the most abundant elements present within a plants body, they are sourced via photosynthesis and water. When absorbed by plants the organic structure of humic acid molecules has been shown to mobilize hydrogen and activate oxygen, which in turn drives core plant processes. Humic acid also provides a supplementary carbon source for plants and soil biology which drives balanced, increased nutrient processing and uptake within the rhizosphere.
Fulvic acids are highly biologically active due to their small molecular weight. This allows fulvic acid to dissolve minerals and elements into its structure, at which point they are referred to as mobilised fulvic complexes. These natural complexes are then in a form which easily interacts with and is absorbed by living plant tissue. Fulvic acid is nature’s method of chelating metallic minerals into a bioavailable form. Fulvic acids also capture and transport a range of plant substances such as vitamins, amino acids, auxins, enzymes and hormones
Humin molecules represent stable carbohydrate like materials which form an aggregate component within the soil. Humins attract nutrients and organic molecules otherwise strongly bound to soil particles and provide a site for soil microorganisms to process them via enzymes into forms which then serve to further nourish other soil life and plants.