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The Deal on Humic and Fulvic Acids...
courtesy of "Heads" magazine....
Millions of years ago, some of the same geo-biological forces that created deep deposits of oil also created vast amounts of buried organic matter that geologists call "leonardite." Leonardite contains many components, but two of its most useful components are humic acid and fulvic acid. In nature, these acids are produced by microbial actions; agricultural companies use acid hydrolysis to extract the two acids.
Humic acid is the first byproduct of acid hydrolysis; fulvic acid is the byproduct produced by further processing of humic acid. Fulvic acid is yellowish in color; humics are dark. On a molecular level, fulvics weigh far less than humics and are more biologically active.
These acids are extremely important to humans and plants. They contain hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorous, and sulfur, and are complex chain acid compounds that can benefit the health of people and plants.
Humans ingest humic and fulvic acids by eating organic foods and drinking clean, natural water, such as water from unpolluted rivers. They can also take in these acids as supplements sold by health products manufacturers. The acids survive the digestive process, are metabolized by the liver, and produce human health effects by circulating to cells via the bloodstream. Some humic-fulvic preparations can also be used by humans externally.
Decades of research indicate that these acids are useful for a variety of medical purposes including vascular system benefits, pain cessation, relief from musculoskeletal disorders such as arthritis and lumbago, relief from digestive disorders, treatment of skin and bacteriological diseases, purification of blood, and as agents that defeat liver problems and blood deficiencies. Experiments with oral ingestion of humic acids have shown the acids reduce our body's absorption of heavy metals and pesticides, and that such acids may prevent toxic pollutants from causing cancer and mutations; humic and fulvic acids are believed to be anti-carcinogenic. They also neutralize "free radicals" that are known to cause cell damage.
Benefits for Plants
In horticulture, fulvic and humic acids greatly improve plant health and vigor. One of the main reasons these acids benefit plants so much is that they improve plants' ability to uptake nutrients. In order to understand this, we must examine the use of "chelates," which are chemical agents that bind to essential metals and minerals, such as iron and zinc. So-called "trace elements" (sometimes called micro-nutrients) such as iron and zinc are essential to plants as the more well-known nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium (N-P-K) that are often given primary consideration by growers.
Indeed, one of the main reasons that plants grow poorly, even when they have ample supplies of N-P-K, is that there are inadequate supplies of necessary bioavailable micronutrients. These inadequacies occur because a nutrient manufacturer fails to include micronutrients in a fertilizer product, or because micronutrients in the product are not configured in a way that makes them bioavailable. N-P-K deficiencies can also be caused by these same two manufacturer-caused problems.
The reason that bioavailability is a problem with some fertilizers has to do with chelation, and with how plants absorb what they need for growth.
Role of Chelates
Trace elements as they naturally occur at a molecular electrical level often exist in forms that contain a positive ionic charge, but plant pores that absorb materials the plant needs contain a negative ionic charge. Pores occur all over a plant, but the ones most responsible for absorbing growth materials are on the leaves and roots. The opposing electrical ionic situation that exists between trace elements can cause them to bind with a pore at the opening of the pore, rather than transcend the pore and enter into a plant's circulatory system.
If the plant is to fully intake the element, the positive-negative ionic problem must be neutralized. The neutralization process is facilitated when a "chelate" binds with a trace element by partially or fully enveloping the element; this enveloping transforms the element's electrical charge into a negative or neutral character, thus allowing the element to get past the plant pore and become bioavailable to the plant inside its circulatory system.
In nature, natural chelates like fulvic acid and humic acid help create the molecular electrical transformation thath allows nutrients to enter plants. However, most marijuana growers are using unnatural systems and materials that are low in humic and fulvic acids. In fully hydroponic systems that use sterilized substrates such as rockwool, there are absolutely no humic or fulvic acids inherently present, and growers who grow in soil often do not realize that most soil has been depleted of its natural humic-fulvic content by human activity. Thus, most growers, even those using soil, need to use nutrient products that contain added chelating agents.
There are different kinds and qualities of natural and artificial chelates used in nutrient products. Fulvic and humic acids are natural chelates that facilitate the entry of nutrients into plants and also are themselves absorbed into plants, where they produce various benefits.