Humic Acid comes entirely from vegetation, and the earliest known forms were created the Carboniferous Period millions of years ago, when the earth's mineral-richsoils produced a profusion of lush green forests.

As this lush growth of vegetation died, it accumulated at the surface, and later was buried by rock and mudflows and deposits of sand and silt. The weight of these deposits compacted and compressed out all of the moisture. Over the ages, the vegetation underwent compaction and heating. It slowly carbonized and became coal.

Compaction squeezed out the organic acids and esters present in the vegetation and formed a pool on top of the lignite coal bed. This pool dried, aged and eventually formed Leonardite shale. What remains today is a deposit of prehistoric plant derivatives.

During this simple process of decomposition, amino acids, carbohydrates and phenols turned into very complex products called Humic Acids. Because of its vegetative origin, this material is very beneficial to plants today. In natural conditions, humus and its humic acids are not soluble. Otherwise soils could be deprived of humus and eventually washed out to sea.

Humates are the salts of humic acids, which form complexes with phosphorus and micro-nutrition elements which are easily assimilated by plants, and sharply increase efficiency of mineral-based fertilizers.

Humate materials from prehistoric deposits are widely distributed as various organic carbon-containing compounds, found in organic-laden soils, fresh water, and oceans, and make up approximately 75 percent of the organic matter that exists in most mineral soils. Humates play a direct role in determining the production potential of a soil.


Not all the products on the market sold under the name Humus or Humates are not, and of those that do, some are high quality and others are very low. Let the buyer beware, and always read the label information what the product is declared to be. If there is no declaration, the reasonable thing to do is not waste your money.

The more concentrated forms while more expensive, are the best - and in the long run, can be the cheapest depending on usage. There are several different chemical structures of Humic Acid found in ancient deposits, notably mined deep in the sands of New Mexico.

  • fossilized brown oxidized lignite or Leonardite. This product has 30- 40% humic acid content, 30-40% of mineral ash, and the balance is unknown ballast substances. Recommended application norms of these products are very high, because humic acids in them are insoluble and are not in an active form. Mineral content of these products contain metals which bind to humic acids. Long term usage of these products can pollute the soil.
  • produced in the common method of treatment of lignites with concentrated alkalines. The content of Humic acids of these products is within the level of 20-30%. Humates here are in active form, but they still have a high content of ballast and ash, which also causes pollution problems.
  • is produced in the way of treatment of brown lignite or Leonardite with alkaline solutions. These Humates are high quality products, because they are free from ballast, but they are very expensive and difficult to transport and handle. Moreover the production process leaves a lot of waste.
  • Humates produced from a high quality tested lignites, with 70% humic acid content, 12% mineral ash part and 18% organic ballast. These soluble products are in powder form with 75-85% of Humic acids.

Only two products meet those requirements; these come from East Siberia, Russia and N.W. New Mexico; these are freshwater deposits and have the highest percentage of low molecular weight humic acids, generally referred to as Fulvic acids. Fulvic acid is the acid radical found in humic matter which is soluble in alkali, acid, methyl ethyl ketone, and methyl alcohol. Fulvates are the salts of fulvic acid.

Humates In Soil

Both the humic and fulvic (most common form of acids found in soil), resulted from the chemical and biological degradation of dead plant material and the organisms that decompose it.

Humates in Compost

Well-managed aged compost can be tested to determine the level of humic substance that exists. The tests are not cheap, but they are very reliable indicators of how well a compost management system has produced humic and fulvic acids in a given batch of compost.

Fulvic acids provide multiple and natural chemical reactions in the soil, instigating positive influences on the plants' metabolic processes. Fulvic acid is especially active in dissolving minerals and metals when in solution with water. The metallic minerals simply dissolve into ionic form, and disappear into the fulvic structure becoming bio-chemically reactive and mobile.

The Fulvic acid actually transforms these minerals and metal into elaborate fulvic acid molecular complexes that have vastly different characteristics from their previous metallic mineral form. Fulvic acid is nature's way of "chelating" metallic minerals, turning them into readily absorbable bio-available forms.

Fulvic acid readily complexes with minerals and metals making them available to plant roots and easily absorbable through cell walls. It makes the actual movement of metal ions that are normally difficult to mobilize or transport. such as iron, easily transportable through plant structures.

It allows minerals to interact with one another, breaking them down into the simplest ionic forms, chelated by the fulvic acid electrolyte.

Fulvic acid is a natural organic electrolyte. An electrolyte is a substance that is soluble in water or other appropriate medium that is capable of conducting electrical current. Fulvic acid has proven to be a powerful organic electrolyte.

Fulvic acids also dissolve and transpose vitamins, coenzymes, auxins, hormones and natural antibiotics that are generally found throughout the soil, making them available. These substances are effective in stimulating even more vigorous and healthy growth through certain bacteria, fungi, and actinomycetes in decomposing vegetation in the soil. It has been determined that all known vitamins can be present in healthy soil . Plants manufacture many of their own vitamins with those from the soil further supplementing the plant.

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