An Introduction to Fulvic Acid

NZHumates Fulvic Acid Healthier Soils

This far reaching involvement of fulvic acid in all metabolic processes almost makes it seem like a
vitamin. But fulvic acid is neither a nutrient nor a vitamin; it is more accurately described as a
“molecular tonic” that promotes and enhanced molecular transport, chelation and bio-reactivity throughout the garden. There have been numerous scientific studies that indicate the use of Fulvic Acid results in bigger plants and bigger veggies and quicker harvests. Here we highlight just a few of the many interesting and important findings about Fulvic Acid, the miracle molecule.

Fulvic Increases Growth Rates

In experiments at the University of California, Riverside, using citrus plants, Dr. J.P. Martin, of the
Department of Soils and Plant Nutrition, has found that combining Humic and Fulvic Acid with
inorganic fertilizer improved the growth of first crop (one year) citrus seedlings by about 20% to 25%,
and a second cropping, in the same soil, by 100% or more.

Fulvic Acid Increases Nutrient Uptake

In a study published in the journal Plant and Soil, vol.63 (1981), scientists describe in detail the effects of Fulvic Acid treatments on the growth and nutrient content of hydroponically grown cucumber plants:

After six weeks, the plant tissues were analysed for their mineral content, and the differences between fulvate treated and control plants were noted:

“The application of 100 to 300 ppm of FA yielded highly significant increases (compared to controls) in concentrations of N, P, K, Ca, Mg, Cu, Fe and Zn in shoots and also in the N content of roots. Under these conditions, concentrations of all elements in the shoots, with the exception of Fe, more than doubled. Also, concentrations of N in roots greatly increased….In just a six week growing cycle as was applied here, we can see that at the optimum concentration, fulvates enable the fullest expression of growth. It is as though fulvates dissolved in solution can “lubricate” and help to intercalate nutrients between plant cell membranes.”

“We observed that when 100 to 300 ppm of FA was applied, the roots were highly branched and rich in hairs, which in- creased the surface area and .. facilitated more efficient nutrient uptake. Also, FA,which is known to be surface active, could have increased the permeability of root membranes and so nutrient uptake. Additional plausible explanations for the activity of FA are that it contains structuresthat act like hormones, that it facilitates the translocation of nutrients throughout the plant, and thatby complexing with metal ions it increases their solubility and availability to plant roots.”

Fulvic Acid Increases Yield at Harvest Time

In a study produced by Dr. Lynette Morgan, the Director of Research at New Zealand’s SUNTEC
International Hydroponic Consultants, the effect of Fulvic Acid on green bean plants also produced
positive conclusions: treated plants experienced a 36% increase in bean weight at harvest, a 36.5%
increase plant growth, and they flowered on average four days ahead of the control plants.

Research conducted by Dr. Vladimir Vaslenko of Canada’s CERES Corporation on tomatoes showed anoverall “changed growth pattern among treated tomatoes” including increased stem and height diameter, as well as increased leaf chlorophyll. The latter finding is of critical importance, since there is a close correlation between increased chlorophyll, improved photosynthesis, and the final yield of crops. According to the study, Humic Acid and Fulvic Acids increased the amount of chlorophyll in the tomato leaves by approximately 10%. The study emphasizes that photosynthesis in a plant’s upper leaves is key to the plant’s eventual yield; the use of humates results in 16 to 17% larger tomatoes as well as a slight in-crease in the overall number of tomatoes produced.

Fulvic Acid is an Electrolyte

Fulvic acid is a natural organic electrolyte. It will in effect “spoon feed” plant tissues with the minerals, biostimulants, cofactors and vitamins you have added to your reservoir. By the virtue of being smaller and more electronegative than humates, Fulvic Acid readily complexes with itself, along with other organic molecules (like vitamins) and inorganic materials like minerals and metals. In the process of all this, it makes them all become even more “palatable” to plant roots. Within the fulvic acid “complexes” that float around in solution, nutrients are immediately absorbable and more
transportable within the plant.

Fulvate increases the actual movement of micronutrient ions into plant cells that are normally difficult to mobilize or transport, such as iron. Experiments reported in the journal Plant and Soil, vol. 198 (1998) show that Fulvic Acids are required for Iron absorption and uptake. Found naturally in soil, Fulvic and Humic Acids should be added in hydroponic growing situations. By chelating these in “complexes” they become easily transportable through plant cell walls and membranes. Fulvic Acid inhibits minerals from interacting with one another, separating them down into the simplest ionic forms by chelation.

Using Fulvic Acids in your Garden

Fulvic Acid can be applied either at the root zone or through foliar applications. It can be used either in hydroponic medias and systems or it can be applied in Coco or soil based projects. The amazing benefits of Fulvic Acids can be experienced in any gardening environment. For the very best results use Fulvic with Humic Acid.

Foliar Spraying

Fulvic Acid molecules are so small, with such a low molecular weight, that they can readily enter plant
stems and leaves, shuttling nutrients, hormones and more directly into the plant. Once applied to
plant foliage, Fulvic Acids transport trace minerals directly to metabolic sites in plant cells. This allows for nutrients to be quickly delivered to all sites within the plant, correcting deficiencies and restoring natural balance. Fulvic Acid can be used to increase production in any given area through foliar application. you will see larger leaves and thicker shoots if foliar spray is applied during vegetative growth.

To increase the number of internodes or flower sites a plant produces, fulvic acid should foliar sprayed as soon as the first fruit/flower sites appear. Fulvic acid applications are also known to slow down the vertical growth of plants; concentrating the available plant energy into more Bloom sites with larger fruits / flowers.

Stress Resistance

Once plants are established, adding Fulvic Acid to the nutrient solution around the second week
strengthens a plants immunity and increases resistance to stress. Plants are not as susceptible to slight environmental changes in temperature or humidity. Fulvic Acid will protect the plant against short term pH fluctuations at the root zone. This being said, Fulvic Acid will not compensate for poor growing practices; however, it does offer a buffer against minor inconsistencies.

A Note for Soil Growers using Fulvic Acid

Fulvic Acid can do alot for a soil grower. It will promote the complexing, chelation and diffusion of all soil-derived nutrients towards your plants and throughout the soil. Fulvic Acids also dissolve and transport vitamins, coenzymes, auxins, plant growth promoters and natural antibiotics that are generally not water soluble but are present in soil. These substances are effective in stimulating even more vigorous and healthy growth by promoting the plant and the beneficial bacteria, fungi, and Actinomycetes living symbiotically in your crop’s root systems. A note About Dosage Too much of a good thing is usually not beneficial. Past 300 ppm, or 250gms/
Ha, fulvates can become a hindrance to mineral uptake as they could “over-chelate” metals by
complexing with themselves as well as the nutrients.

Summary

Fulvic Acid nourishes plant cells, roots and leaves to produce healthy plants through chelation therefore quicker nutrient absorption, transportation and a greater cellular metabolism.

References

“Hydroponics and Humates: Acids for Modern Agriculture” (Dr. Vladimir Vaslenko,The Growing Edge September/October 2002)
“Hydroponic Humates” (Dr. Lynette Morgan, Maximum Yield July/ August 2001)
“Effects of Lactate, Humate, and Bacillus Subtilis on the Growth of Tomato Plants in Hydroponic
Systems” (M. Bohme, International Symposium on Growing Media and Hydroponics 1999)
“Leonardite and Humified Organic Matter” ( D.M Ozdoba et. al., Luscar Specialty Products Division
“Humic, Fulvic and Microbial Balance: Organic Soil Conditioning: An Agricultural Text and Reference Book” (W. R. Jackson, 1993) – Fulvic Acid supplement has alot of science and research behind it. 

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