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How to correctly understand humus

Humus in nature: Humus is the biological-chemical-geological decomposition product of plants on Earth. The largest proportion of organic matter (biomass) in plants is humus. One of the most important characteristics of life on Earth is that biological decomposition products increase the number of biological reproduction. Humus (soil-peat-coal) is the most relevant decomposition product of organisms. Therefore, humus is the most important medium for the reproduction of biomass on Earth. The positive effect of humified organic matter or humus on agriculture and medicine is mainly related to their humic acid content. The acid molecules form a well-defined chemical structure and are indirect products of the decomposition of plant-derived biomass. The decomposition process of land plant biomass can be divided into two parts, namely humification and coalification. The precursor molecules for the formation of humic acids are woody plant residues, which are transforming chemical-biological oxidation-reduction.


Sources of humic acid in nature: There are many sources of humus in nature, including Soil: It is often called a constantly renewed source of humus. The upper soil layer of 20-30 cm thick generally contains 3-5% humic acid; Water: Natural surface water usually contains a certain amount of humus, especially fulvic acid. The yellowish-brown water comes from the humus decomposed from soil and other organic sources; Organic fertilizers: It is used to replace the chemical fertilizers that worked well in the past. In organic fertilizers, the humic acid content is 5-15%. The quality requirements of modern intensive animal farm management technology are not suitable for direct use of chemical fertilizers because they contain chemical residues, toxic heavy metals, and non-humified organic residues; Compost: This is a popular form of humus production. The names of humus in biological humus and compost are misleading because their humic acid content does not exceed that in high-quality soil; Humus mud: They are humic acids containing organic matter at the bottom of some rivers and lakes, which are the decomposition products of plants, microorganisms and plankton in the water. Humic acid content is about 10-20%; Peat: The first stage of the humification process in nature. Humic acid content is about 10-40%. The original mineral is very important in some balneological-therapeutic hot spring applications, including medicine, and the medical effect is mainly related to the humic content; Lignite: In the normal coal formation process, the humic acid content in lignite does not exceed 10-30%; Oxidized lignite: Under certain special geological conditions, lignite exists in a highly oxidized form. The humic acid content in these sediments can reach 50-80%. This is the only source of humic acid that is economical to extract.
Humic structure: During the natural formation of humus, humic acid molecules can be found in various chemical environments (metals, bitumens, paraffin, proteins, hydrocarbons). At the same time, it must be emphasized that in addition to these molecules, there is also a chemically definable molecular structure of humic acids. This means that high-quality humic acids can be extracted from these humic acid sources alone. They are mainly oxidized lignite or certain peat.
Humic substances (fulvic acid, humic acid, humin) are mainly formed by long-term accumulation. The difference between humic acid and fulvic acid lies in the degree of polymerization, that is, the molecular weight. According to literature records, even the same humic acid has very different molecular weight values because the authors did not define what they call humic acid. In nature, the molecular weight of humic substances is constantly changing, and it is difficult for us to strictly distinguish between humic acid and fulvic acid molecules.

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