By Gift Briton
The use of humic substances (products resulting from rotting of animal and plant residues) including humic and fulvin acids is gaining popularity among farmers globally as one of the easily attainable bio-stimulants for increasing crop yields, quality and stress tolerance.
Dr. Hugo Opperman, from Omania Specialities, has extensively documented research findings underscoring the efficacy of humic and fulvin acids in crop production. Dr. Opperman illustrates that these acids can offer immense benefits in crop production through their unique bio-stimulant features.
A plant bio-stimulant is any substance that when applied to a plant or a crop can enhance its nutrition efficiency, abiotic stress tolerance and crop quality traits.
In his findings, Dr. Opperman indicates that humic substances, as a plant bio-stimulant, plays a critical role in soil fertility, as they can bind to metal ions and form complexes which can help to make micronutrients, such as iron and manganese, more available to plants. This, in turn, can improve the overall plant growth and health.
“The use of humic substances as bio-stimulants has gained popularity in recent years, and they are now widely used in agriculture to improve crop yield, quality, and stress tolerance,” he says.
Humic acid can be obtained from a variety of sources, including compost (a type of organic fertilizer that is made from decomposed plant and animal matter), vermicomposting (a type of compost that is produced using earthworms), peat (a type of organic soil material that is formed from partially decomposed plant matter), and leonardite (an oxidized coal).
“Humic acids are often used for soil amelioration and improvement due to their ability to enhance soil structure, nutrient availability, and water retention,” Dr. Opperman adds.
Moreover, humic acids can also improve soil structure. This helps to create a more porous soil structure that is more open to water infiltration, better able to retain moisture and nutrients, while also allowing for improved root growth and aeration.
They are also able to form stable complexes with water molecules, which can help to prevent water from leaching out of soil, especially in sandy or highly permeable soils and can act as natural chelators, which means that they can bind with cations such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, and metal micronutrients, and hold them in a form that is more available to plants.
“Humic acid has been shown to increase the rate of photosynthesis in plants, leading to increased growth and productivity, they also affect the levels of phytohormones such as auxins and gibberellins in plants, leading to changes in growth and development, they can also improve the tolerance of plants to environmental stress factors such as drought and high salinity,” the research reads.