Why Are Humic Substances Called Acids?

By Richard Lamar, PhD
Senior Director of Humic Research
Bio Huma Netics, Inc.

We are accustomed to seeing humic substances (humic and fulvic) in dry/granular form, and we tend to think of acids as liquids. So why are humic and fulvic substances called acids?All substances, solid AND liquid, have a chemical makeup. An acid is a chemical that can donate a proton (H+) to a water molecule (H2O, which would form H3O+) or to another chemical such as ammonia (NH3, which would form NH4+).

Organic acids are generally weak acids that do not completely dissociate (i.e., donate a proton) in water in the way that strong mineral acids do, such as in the case of hydrochloric acid (HCl). The most common organic acids are carboxylic acids, sulfonic acids, phenols and alcohols (Figure 1).

Organic acids can be aliphatic (structured as open chains rather than aromatic rings), such as acetic acid (Fig. 1A) or ethanol (Fig. 1E). Organic acids can also be aromatic (made up of ring structures, originally named so because of their fragrant properties), such as benzoic acid (Fig. 1B), benzene sulfonic acid (Fig. 1C) or phenol (Fig. 1D).

All of these structures can be found in humic and fulvic acids, sometimes all in the same molecule. For example, one humic acid or fulvic acid molecule might contain a benzoic acid, a phenol, an alcohol, and an aliphatic carboxylic acid (Figure 2). All of these functional groups can ionize (i.e., lose their H+ atoms and contribute to acidity) (Figure 3). The primary factor affecting ionization of organic acids is pH.


Figures 1–3.
Chemical structures found in organic acids

We will discuss the interrelationship of soil, pH, and humic substances in Humic Corner #4.

BHN Sponsors Online Course on Sustainable Organic Agriculture Production

To help increase awareness about sustainable agriculture production, Bio Huma Netics, Inc., (BHN) is sponsoring a FarmProgress course for Certified Crop Advisers (CCAs) and Pest Control Advisers (PCAs) in the United States and Canada.

This free online continuing education course, titled “Organic/Sustainable Agriculture Production -2022” aims to help working professionals learn about sustainable farming practices and pest management without the use of synthetic chemicals.

During the training, participants will learn about most common pests in organic/sustainable agricultural systems and current methods of controlling insect pests, weeds, and diseases in a range of organic crops grown in the United States.

The two-hour duration course is divided into ten sections and allows participants to complete it at their own pace.

Course Structure

Section 1: Introduction

Section 2: Organic Agriculture

Sustainable / Organic Management Options for Major Insects and Diseases of:

Section 3: Citrus

Section 4: Grapes

Section 5: Pome Fruit

Section 6: Blueberries and Strawberries

Section 7: Stone Fruit

Section 8: Nut Trees

Section 9: Vegetable Crops

Section 10: Forage Crops

“Pest management is an integral part of conventional and organic farming and requires adequate training. At times, managing pests in organic farming systems is much more challenging because of fewer options than in conventional production. By taking this course, participants can learn how to identify and combat pest infestation to minimize crop damage under organic cultural practices,” says Dr. Mojtaba Zaifnejad, Sr. Director of Field Research and Technical Services, BHN. In addition, this course provides a brief insight on how humic substances can benefit the health of soil and crops.

To enroll, or to learn more about the course, visit AgCEUOnline.

Field Trial: X-Tend® Increases Glyphosate Effectiveness

Objective

Over the years, some weeds have developed resistance to common herbicides such as glyphosate. To overcome this hurdle, growers may bump up the rates or add other herbicides or products with different mechanisms/modes of action into the tank mix. Such approaches have had mixed results over the long run and have increased the cost of weed control.

In this study, Huma Gro® X-Tend® was added to a glyphosate product to test the potential for improving the herbicidal efficacy of the product in a cost-effective way. [Read more…]

Video: Earth Day, 2022

Over 50 years ago, on April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets to protest environmental destruction and to celebrate the wonders of Planet Earth. The basic message was that we had to find new ways to live our lives, raise our food, and conduct our businesses that were environmentally friendly and sustainable—that would not waste resources or pollute the air, the water, or the soil.

In the early 1970s, Bio Huma Netics and Mesa Verde Humates were independently formed to provide earth-friendly agricultural products and soil and wastewater bioremediation products.

[Read more…]

Huma Gro® Fertilizer Products Increase Cucumber Yields at ROI of 113%

Conducted by: Southeast Ag Research, Inc.
Huma Gro Products Used: Breakout®, Max Pak®, Vitol®, and Zap®

Objective
The purpose of this research project was to evaluate how Huma Gro® liquid fertilizer products with Micro Carbon Technology® affect cucumber yield when compared with a control program of grower’s standard fertilizer.

[Read more…]

What Differentiates Humic and Fulvic Acids?

By Richard Lamar, PhD
Director of Humic Research
Bio Huma Netics, Inc.

For centuries, humic acids (HA) were thought to be composed of much larger molecules than those found in fulvic acids (FA). However, the application of Fourier-transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (FT-ICR MS), which separates molecules on the basis of molecular weight, demonstrates that the molecular weights of the two fractions both fall in the range of 200–800 Daltons (Da), with most of the molecules having molecular weights in the range of 200–400 Da (Figure 1). To give context, carbon (C) weighs 12 Da, oxygen (O) weighs 16 Da, and hydrogen (H) weighs 1 Da. Thus, phenol molecules (an aromatic organic compound, also called carbolic acid), which have 6 C, 1 O, and 11 H atoms, weigh 99 Da. [Read more…]

The Water Break Podcast Hits 4,000 Downloads

This week, our Water Break Podcast reached the milestone of 4,000 downloads. Our fanbase is growing quickly, as it took us 18 episodes and 16 months to reach 3,000 downloads but then only 3 more episodes to reach the 4,000-download mark. The statistics report from Blubrry, our podcast hosting service, has also let us know that we now have listeners in 63 countries. That’s a lot of interest for a podcast devoted to water and wastewater treatment.

While a great deal of the podcast’s success is due to Heather Jennings being such an amazing, hardworking host, we also send a big Thank You to the 35 guests (so far) who have volunteered to provide over 4,000 hours of free education to the water and wastewater community.

Congratulations to everyone who has participated in helping The Water Break Podcast become a growing success!

To view and listen to the 22 podcast episodes, click here or subscribe to The Water Break Podcast through your favorite podcasting service.

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