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First Generation Humates Aren’t the Same As Older Sources

Updated: Oct 4, 2020

Scientists have confirmed through research that the chemical processes involved in promoting the healthy growth of plants are a complex dance of microbes, minerals and organic acids.

As their understanding of the processes became more precise, it became clear that humic and fulvic acids play an important role in enabling plants to absorb the some 17 crucial elements for healthy growth such as iron, which is necessary for photosynthesis. With that precision, also came a new appreciation that not all sources of humic and fulvic acids are equal.

Humic and fulvic acids can be found in any garden, with composting soil, as a byproduct of microbial growth. The decaying plant matter breaks down over years into smaller and more richly diverse molecules that aid plant growth.

Humic acid molecules are the first to show up during the composting process, helping to hold water and nutrients in the ground. As humic acids mature, tinier molecules appear, which have been classified as fulvic acids. Fulvic acid molecules are electrically charged and draw trace minerals to them. Because they are tinier and lighter than humic molecules, plant roots can absorb them easily along with their bonded minerals. Fulvic acid is bioactive; activating and boosting the biology of the plant and stimulating its growth.

Soil that composts undisturbed over the course of millions of years can turn into a complex matrix of clays and minerals with different levels of organic acids.

Sandia National Laboratories, a highly regarded research facility funded by the federal government, defines humates as naturally occurring organic substances found in coal, lignite, shale, claystone and mudstones. Depending on where they are found, commercial humate sources differ markedly in the percentage yields and types of humic and fulvic acid, as well as other important organic compounds.

Fulvic acid derived from fossil fuels such as Leonardite or a byproduct of coal are considered “first generation.” While first generation sources yield some value as soil amendments, they haven’t developed the same complex mix of more than 70 trace minerals, elements, organic acids, and electrolytes that older humates have.

AgTonik’s older humate source is proven through independent chemical testing to contain this rich mix of components that we extract. Our land is allowed to continue to build up its fulvic component as we harvest our shales and clays intermittently, without the use of heavy excavating equipment.

After a two-year curing process and simple water extraction method, much like the process handed down since the late 1900s, AgTonik produces a well-preserved highly concentrated product that is third-party lab analyzed to certify the contents.

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