Humic Acid

Last Updated: January 24, 2017

Definition - What does Humic Acid mean?

A humic acid is any of a variety of organic acids obtained from organic constituents of soil (humus), coal, and peat. It is also a key component of ocean water, dystrophic lakes, and upland streams. The process by which these acids are formed from humus is not well understood, but it is thought to be formed through the biodegradation of dead organic matter.

Humic acid is frequently used as a soil amendment to enhance crop productivity.

MaximumYield explains Humic Acid

Humic acid can be categorized as an aromatic polymer of varying reactivity and acidity. Therefore, this type of polymer differs from other forms of organic polymers such as carbohydrates and proteins. Fulvic acid is a common humic acid.

Most researchers agree that humic acid accumulates steadily as a residue from the metabolism of microorganisms. Humic acid is not a simple acid; it is a compound mixture of numerous different acids that contain phenolate and carboxyl groups. For these reasons, the acid may function as a dibasic, but sometimes it can also function as a tribasic acid.

Modern agricultural usage depletes the soil's humic acid content, and water filtration systems typically filter out humic acid, hence the need for humic acid supplementation. In organic agriculture it is important to supplement the soil with humic substances as food for microorganisms. Supplements can be in the form of humic acid or compost. Besides organic farming, humic acid is also used as an additive to premium crop products, compost teas, and conventional and sustainable farming.

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