The Impacts of Extracted Humates (Functional Carbons) and Their Novel, Innovative Nanotechnology in Soil and Plant Health: A Successful Path to Regenerative, Sustainable Agriculture
Our Raw Material Source
There are many different names for raw material humate (Leonardite, Lignite, Humalite, Brown Coal and Sub-bituminous Coal), but they are all essentially referring to the same thing. The key differences are generally the age and location of the raw humate sources, the levels of weathering, heavy metal content, and of course, humic and fulvic concentration levels.
(Read more: What are the types of coal?)
Our raw material humate is a weathered, oxidized sub-bituminous coal that is mined from an ancient freshwater peat bog in North America. Our raw material source is one of the only known ancient freshwater sources on the planet that contains high concentrations of humic and fulvic acids. Because of its age and location, it possesses extremely low levels of heavy metals and high concentrations of functional carbons. Simply put… our raw material source is considered among the best in the world when compared with any of our competitors.
Wet Chemistry Extraction
There are significant differences between unprocessed humates (raw material) and humates which have undergone a wet chemistry extraction/activation process such as our Humi[K]. If not extracted, raw humates are refractory, meaning they are insoluble, do not easily bond with clay minerals, and microbes cannot break them down. This makes them significantly less effective than extracted humates.
In our manufacturing process (wet chemistry extraction) we extract the humic and fulvic molecules from the raw material humate using a food grade alkaline extractant and mineral rich artesian well water, converting it into an aqueous humate solution. From there we filter out any undissolved solids through our proprietary Micro-Quad Filtration™ process, removing the insoluble material which causes clogging of spray or drip irrigation systems, a common problem with other humate products on the market today.
Spray Drying Technology
The final step in our process is to remove the moisture from the extracted humate solution. We accomplish this by using the most advanced and dynamic spray-drying technology. For a brief 3 to 5 seconds, at proper temperatures that don’t exceed 475 degrees, (to not degrade or denature the product), we remove the moisture creating an ultra-fine potassium humate powder that contains high concentrations of activated functional carbons. As a result of spray drying, the chief most distinguishable quality of our potassium humate is its vastly superior solubility and signature when compared to other extracted humates.
Patented Granulation Technology
Many of our competitors claim to offer a “soluble granule”. However, none of them can offer a truly soluble granule without the use of additives or binders. At HGS we developed and patented a manufacturing process which converts our soluble potassium humate powder (Humi[K] WSP) into a 100% Soluble Granule without the use of any additives whatsoever. It is perfect for dry blending with N-P-K fertilizers or conversion to liquid. As a result of our manufacturing processes and with its special zone of impact, our patented Humi[K] Granule is superior to other humate granular products on the market.
Solubility & Polydispersity
Scientists have conducted various long term studies on raw, unprocessed humates. These studies have shown that even when samples are left in the lab for 27+ years, the raw humates still will not gone into solution.
However, when we extract the humic substances from the raw material humate through our wet chemistry process, we are releasing (ionizing) the bound molecules from their current state and exposing the functional groups of the molecule (carboxyl, phenol, hydroxyl, ketone, ester, ether and amine). By doing so, we are essentially activating the molecules so they can chelate complex, and buffer nutrients more effectively. Additionally, the extracted humic substances are highly polydispersive, meaning they can easily move throughout the soil to bond with clay particles creating micropores in which microbes, roots, water, and nutrients can reside. These processes promote aggregate stability and a much healthier overall soil structure in which the crop can grow. Micropores enhance mass flow, root interception, and diffusion, which impact N, P, and K translocation to the plants.
It’s important to note that overall solubility and polydispersity are excellent initial indicators of a quality activated functional carbon. For additional quality comparison, a content analysis from an accredited laboratory is recommended.
Nutrient Use Efficiency
In conjunction with their current fertilizer applications, farmers globally are experiencing enhanced nutrient translocation in the root zone and other functionalities in soil solution chemistry as a result of their Humi[K] applications.
Functional humic substances are scientifically proven to chelate and complex calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, manganese, along with other nutrients, making them more readily available in soil solution chemistry and in plants. Additionally, these functional humic substances help prevent nutrients from being flushed out of the soil. Thus, with the addition of humic substances we can better retain bioavailable nutrients in and around the root zone. Also, because of buffering capacities in the soil, the translocation of the micro and macronutrients are more efficient and homogeneous.
According to Dr. Chuko, humic substances are an analog of ATP (adenosine triphosphate). ATP is a stored energy in the biological system. It attracts hydrogen ions and enhances the nitrogen influx vis-a-vis the transportation of nitrate in soil solution chemistry towards the root zone, along with its slow translocation to the roots. These actions enhance nitrate use efficiencies. In addition, these interactions influence the RNA (ribonucleic acid) in the cells to create citrate channels by which low molecular weight fulvic acids carry nutrients from cell walls within root cells. This process is referred to as citrate afflux, which in turn enhances fertilizer use efficiencies.
If you apply 100 lbs. of phosphorus in your soil (and even if you’re among the top-notch farmers in the world), you are only going to utilize 30% of the phosphorus you applied; 70% is generally lost. Typically, phosphates are applied in conjunction with other micronutrients like zinc, magnesium, iron, manganese, etc. When applying humic substances to the soil, you’re adding nanoparticles. If you compare the particle size of clay (<0.002 mm) with the particle size of the humic, the humic is on average, 3,000 times smaller. In other words, you have 3,000 times more surface area for nutrients to reside. This prevents the nutrients from becoming fixed in the soil. As a result, the humic substances chelate and complex those nutrients, making them more available, enhancing phosphorus use efficiency up to 25%.
Research shows that potassium can become fixed between the clay minerals. Extracted humic acids have the ability to prime the soil promoting chelation and complexation of the potassium. When clay particles fix the potassium, humic interacts with the potassium, releasing it into the soil. So, you’ll have more soluble potassium in the soil solution and as a result the potassium becomes more available for the plant.
Water Use Efficiency
When you add Humi[K] to the soil, you are essentially adding micropores to the soil. Science shows that roots, water and nutrients reside in micropores. Because these micropores act like a sponge, they can retain water. Research has demonstrated that overall, you can expect to see about 11.2% water sequestration.
Soil Health & Sustainability
Agricultural producers worldwide are seeking to reduce dependency on synthetic fertilizers and chemicals. Humic products, produced through our proprietary wet chemistry processes, provide an efficient and economical means to return FUNCTIONAL CARBON (Extracted Humates) to the soil. There are numerous studies that demonstrate and quantify a vital fact: The addition of functional carbons in the soil, in conjunction with conventional fertilizers, enhances soil health, along with increasing fertilizer, water-use efficiencies, and overall soil sustainability.
The Bottom line: Humic is the best factor for enhancing soil, plant, and human health, and thus the use of humic products is the best path to conducive and dynamic agriculture.