History of Humic Acids

About 50 years back at Kherson University a young Soviet scientist named Lydia Khristeva made an important discovery.  Using ordinary soil, she educed humic acids from the samples as a solution of sodium salts and then watered  plants with the solution.  The plants had increased growth and an increased root mass over the control plants.  Thus, the biological activity of soluble humates was discovered for the first time.

All further scientific activity of Lydia Khristeva was devoted to this problem. She found a way of to extract humates from Ukrainian coal and together with pupils and employees she carried out thousands of experiments with the various kinds of plants.  Later, scientists from Byelorussia, Moscow, Uzbekistan and other regions of our country joined them.  In distant Siberia enormous stock piles of humic acids in coal deposits were discovered and scientists from Irkutsk, led by Professor Valentina Larina began active work in this area.

At this time I was just a student of the chemical faculty of Irkutsk University and my first scientific work was related to studying humic acids.  On time, similar research began in Czechoslovakia, Poland, Italy and the USA.  The results of applying humates in agriculture, animal industries, poultry farming, and also in some areas of engineering were gradually collected.

These results were widely discussed in scientific publications and at scientific conferences, but remained mostly unknown to the general public.  The main reason for this, in my opinion, was the absence of a reliable and effective technology for the production of soluble humates from their raw sources.  At that time humates were extracted from brown coals and peats by extraction with diluted solutions of alkalis.  This was, as it seemed, the most simple and reliable method, but it appeared extremely unprofitable in terms of large-scale industrial production because it produced only diluted solutions of humates with 5% to 7% humic acids.  Many years later I had an epiphany for a better and more efficient method of extracting humates from their raw materials.

The first patent protecting this technical discovery was received in the early 1990’s.  In 1996 we created the first industrial production in Russia.  The humates created with this technology had a number of important qualitative differences from their predecessors and it resulted in the creation of essentially new preparations of humates with no analogues.  It was the beginning of humic preparations of a new generation.

The major factor in the enhanced quality of these new preparations is the quality of the raw material itself.  The new production technology allows for greater conversion of humic acids into humates and also allows silica to transfer into its useful form – soluble salts of silicon acid.  Beyond that, part of the insoluble fraction of the organic substance, the humins, are able to be oxidized during the conversion and to transferred in humates.