HOW TO LEARN TO DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN HUMIC ACIDS AND FULVIC ACIDS
For many years there has been a controversy between the relationship of humic acids, fulvic acids and the farmer. Historically, the former have been appreciated more than the latter, perhaps for reasons that are not technically consistent.
To begin with, there is something that must be clarified. When talking about humus, it is often related, as a synonym, with organic matter . This, however, is not entirely true, since all humus is part of organic matter, but not all organic matter is humus.
In fact, humus is the most stable fraction and, therefore, the one that is most difficult to degrade, of the entire compendium that forms what we call organic matter.
ORGANIC MATTER, HUMIC SUBSTANCES AND NON-HUMIC SUBSTANCES
Historically, whenever humic substances have been mentioned, humic acids, fulvic acids and humins have been mentioned. However, since 1996 the Agricultural Research Service discovered a new part of the soil that was glomalin, a material capable of forming aggregates.
Structure of a humic acid
Among the non-humic substances found in the soil we find what would be carbohydrates, some amino acids and lipid substances.
What interests us, humic and fulvic acids , is nothing more than a very long process of decomposition of organic matter together with nitrogen-rich compounds, where a complex set of molecules (phenolic compounds) is formed along with other synthesized compounds. for microorganisms (those to whom we must be eternally grateful).
WORM CASTINGS, CONFUSION
We constantly see the term worm castings . If we analyze this denomination, we would think that it is a substance formed by humic acids (humus) thanks to the intervention of organic matter and worms.
This is not entirely true , since worm castings are still an improved standard compost thanks to the participation of earthworm excrements, which obviously improve the final result of the mixture.
However, we see that generic worm humus has the following riches:
- Humic acids: 2.5-3%
- Fulvic acids: 1-1.5%
HUMIC ACIDS AND FULVIC ACIDS
It is possible that humic acids better than fulvic are valued for various dimensionless ways of seeing the product. Perhaps the product is better recognized for being darker (more substance it carries), being heavier and more complex (molecular weight greater than 30,000 Da).
However, the differentiation of these two substances must be done depending on the objective that is sought. In many cases, humic substances are sought to promote activation and root development, when fulvic substances achieve better results .
WHEN TO CHOOSE ONE OR THE OTHER?
A priori, humic acids have a more continuous and persistent effect on the soil, they are used to improve the properties of the soil and, above all, to increase the cation exchange capacity (CEC) of the soil.
Instead, fulvic acids are used to perform a quick and fleeting action, such as improving the rooting of a crop.
They do not stand out for their cation exchange capacity (compared to humic substances) or for their water retention capacity. If we are looking for the latter, it is better to choose commercial products with a higher humic content.
With this graph that we add below, it will be much easier for you to learn to distinguish them.
THE CURRENT FASHION OF THE LEONARDITA
More and more, organic products rich in this material, leonardite , are coming onto the market . It is a way of declaring a higher quality humic extract or, at least, it is what you are looking for. What exactly is Leonardite?
The carbon formation process goes through these phases:
Turba –> Lignito –> Hulla –> Antracita
Almost all the terms mentioned are familiar to us, especially mob. The longer it takes to form, the higher the carbon content it will have (as is the case with anthracite). Now, where do we place the leonardite ?
When the peat is further compressed, it turns to lignite. In this formation process and in special oxygenation conditions (because they are located at an exact distance from the surface and in ideal mineralization conditions) leonardite is formed.
Which do you opt for, humic or fulvic acids?