What We Know About Humic Material and Phosphate Uptake

Posted by Brett Halliday

Feb 21, 2014 5:00:00 AM

Independent research studies suggest that humic acid aids in phosphate uptake – the process by which plants absorb nutrients from soil.

The details of how and why this process takes place involve a lot of hard science, and the effects are still being tested throughout different growing environments.

Still, there are some conclusions that we can draw from what has already been learned. Here is a quick summary of what we already know about humic material, phosphate uptake, and how they work together in agricultural settings:

scientist field

Plants cannot grow without adequate phosphate uptake.

Although these anions make up less than half a percent of most plant organisms, they are crucial to a crop’s growth and development.

Even when phosphate is present in soil, it may be unavailable.

That's because it often exists in forms that plants can’t absorb and use, making it in essence "indigestible" to plants, fruits, and grains. This is especially the case in acidic soils with high amounts of iron/aluminum or alkaline soils with high levels of calcium. In both cases, phosphates form insoluble precipitates.

Humic material can affect absorption through water retention.

Increased water retention in soil helps it stored in the many small pores (promoted by organic matter) more tightly packed, and helps the soil to hold on to nutrients that could otherwise be lost due to evaporation, leaching or surface run-off.

Naturally, research in these areas will continue for years to come, especially since soil quality and phosphate uptake remain big concerns for agricultural operations around the world. And, it's safe to assume that, with more understanding, we'll get a better idea of why humic material is valuable and how best to apply it to different agricultural settings.

For now, the best way to learn more about humalite and phosphate uptake is to try Black Earth for yourself and see what we can do for your yields. We are willing to bet you'll be pleasantly surprised by what’s possible!

Learn More

Topics: black earth, humic matter, organic fertilizer, phosphate uptake, soil additive