Humic substances, among the most wondrous products of nature, are the recycled essential residues of life. Plants harvest the sun’s energy and create life from that energy plus the carbon and oxygen they pull out of the air and the minerals they pull out of the soil. When plants die, all of their components are decomposed through the aid of microorganisms and mineralization, then returned to the soil as organic matter.

About 40%–60% of soil organic matter is humus. The humic substances that make up humus are carbon-chain complexes that are composed of carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, and sulfur. In addition are plant components—such as nucleic acids, hormones, and vitamins—that do not fully break down in the humification process but are incorporated into those humic substances. Humic substances in the soil are further broken down into humins, humic acids, and fulvic acids.

Humins are very large molecules that are very slow to break down; they provide structure, water-holding capacity, and stability to soils. Humic acids are soluble in water under alkaline conditions and function in the soil as important ion exchange and chelating agents. Fulvic acids are water soluble at all pH levels, have very small molecules that have a higher oxygen content than humic acids, and can easily enter plant roots, stems, and leaves, transporting minerals directly to metabolic sites in plant cells.

Humic and fulvic acids, the humified residue of plant life (imbued with the sun’s energy), help to cycle energy and nutrients back into succeeding generations of plants. Everything that has ever lived participates in this process, contributing their essence as stimulants and building blocks for future life.

People have been taking advantage of humic and particularly fulvic acids for a very long time. The Chinese Materia Medica pharmacological compendium, dating back to the 15th century Ming Dynasty, referred to the “golden medicine” of humic and fulvic acids in the treatment of many diseases. Fulvic-related medicines in particular continue to be used to reduce inflammation, increase circulation, regulate the immune and hormone systems, and for many other conditions. An attribute that makes fulvic acids and their sub-fractions particularly useful is their small size that allows them to penetrate living tissues and cell membranes and to interact on a cellular level.

In the United States and much of the rest of the world, humic substances are best known for the benefits they produce in soil and water life (plants and microorganisms). A review of the scientific literature notes that the benefits of humic substances related to agricultural application include:

  • Improved root mass and growth
  • Enhanced nutrient availability and uptake
  • Higher crop yield and quality

Read BHN Whitepaper: The Value of Humic Substances in the Carbon Life Cycle of Plants: Humic Acids, Fulvic Acids, and Beyond

Read: Organic Matter, Humus, Humate, Humic Acid, Fulvic Acid, and Humin: Their Importance in Soil Fertility and Plant Health

Bio Huma Netics, Inc. (BHN), in operation since 1973, has 5 product lines that incorporate the benefits of humic and fulvic acids and their subfractions. We have two mines that produce the raw humates used to create our products: The first is a mine in Idaho that produces a soft, humic material that is highly mineralized and rich in carbon, that was never compressed or heated to become coal. This is the humic material we further refine into Micro Carbon Technology® to use as a carrier for all of our liquid products for agriculture and for soil/water remediation. The second mine is in New Mexico, from which we produce granular and liquid humic and fulvic acid products for direct application to soil, as well as for use by other manufacturers in the production of their own humic-based products. The 5 BHN humic-based product brands include:

Read More on Micro Carbon Technology®

Humic substances are also used in the production of some animal feeds, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, for removing heavy metals from the environment, and in other industries.

BHN provides humates and humic technologies to other companies to help them improve their products. Benefits include:

  • Quick-, medium-, and slow-release technologies are available
  • Improves cell wall permeability for current products
  • Releases nutrients tied up in the soil solution
  • Proven to increase nutrient efficiency in soil and foliar applications
  • Enhances activity and diversity of beneficial microorganisms
  • Improves soil structure for long-term fertility
  • Ultra-concentrated, dramatically reducing storage requirements
  • Positive environmental impact
  • Buffers and degrades harmful chemicals and toxicities
  • Compatible with most agrochemical applications

Read: Advanced Humic Technologies: The Power of Humates at Your Fingertips

BHN creates custom humic technologies to empower products with improved efficiency, nutrient uptake, and effectiveness.

For a free consultation on how BHN custom humics can help improve your products, call today: 480.961.1220

About the Author

Larry Cooper

Director, Sustainability & Knowledge Management, Huma, Inc. Lifelong learner, master gardener, rescuer of greyhounds, grandpa. Once served detention for placing ecology flag on top of his high school.

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