Improve root mass and growth with enhanced nutrient availability and uptake for higher crop yield and quality
The SumaLite product can be divided into three major categories: humin, humic, and fulvic. These are functional categories based largely on molecular size and their solubility in water adjusted to different pH conditions.

​Humins are very large molecules (molecular weight of 100,000 to 10,000,000 Da) that are not soluble in water at any pH level and are, consequently, very slow to break down. Within the soil, humin improves structure, water-holding capacity, and stability. Humin also functions as a cation exchange system that aids the soil’s ability to storehouse plant nutrients.

Humic acids are smaller than humins (molecular weight of 50,000 to 100,000 Da, with 1,000s of carbon rings) and are soluble in water under alkaline conditions. Because other elements readily bind to humic acid molecules in a form that can be easily absorbed by plants and microorganisms, humic acids function as important ion exchange and chelating systems.

Fulvic acids have molecules that are smaller than humic acids (molecular weight of 5,000 to 10,000 Da, with 100s of carbon rings), are water-soluble at all pH levels, and have a higher oxygen content than humic acids. Because of their relatively small molecular size, fulvic acids can easily enter plant roots, stems, and leaves, transporting trace minerals directly to metabolic sites in plant cells.

Several commercial versions of humic and fulvic acids are available for agricultural use; these are sold as dry granular products, liquid products, or powders. They are usually derived from humates, oxidized lignites, or leonardite ore. However, studies have shown that the various products can vary in effectiveness depending on the nature of the source materials used and how they are manufactured and processed. 4 Humalite is generally considered one of the best sources for deriving humic substances. More research should focus on improving methods to accurately and reliably quantify humic and fulvic acids in raw ores and products.

​The Humic Products Trade Association 2 has conducted a review of the scientific literature and has approved three primary label claims for agricultural application of humic substances:

​Improved root mass and growth

Enhanced nutrient availability and uptake

Higher crop yield and quality

​How are these benefits accomplished?

Carbon-containing humic substances in soil result in electrical processes that cause very small soil particles to attract each other to create a crumb structure in the topsoil, which has open spaces that allow gaseous exchange with the atmosphere and better water infiltration. This resulting soil structure also increases soil’s water-holding capacity, protecting plants during drought.

Energy stored within the carbon bonds of humic substances represents an excellent food source for soil microorganisms that perform a wide range of functions that contribute to soil and plant health—everything from solubilization of minerals that are bound up in the soil to releasing antibiotics that protect plants from pests.

​Humic substances have an insulating property that helps to stabilize soil temperatures and slow the rate of water evaporation, protecting plants during periods of change of heat and cold.

​Humic substances can also stabilize or inactivate certain soil enzymes released by plant pathogens, rendering them less able to damage plants.

​Further, humic substances can buffer soil pH, making the soil less alkaline or less acidic. This helps trace elements that may have been bound up in the soil due to acidic or alkaline conditions become available to the plants as nutrients.

​Additional soil benefits are that toxins left in the soil from pesticides can be degraded or inactivated by humic acids, and adding humic substances to soils containing excessive salt can help reduce the salt concentration, making the soil more suitable for plant growth.

​Humic substances help regulate the retention and release of plant nutrients. The higher cation exchange capacity (CEC) that occurs when humic substances are present in the soil increases a soil’s ability to retain positively charged plant nutrients (e.g., NH4+, Mg2+, Ca2+, and Na+) and reduces the potential for leaching. Soil CEC also influences the application rates of lime and herbicides required for maximum effectiveness.3

​When adequate levels of humic substances are present in the soil, plants can take up nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, reducing the amounts of N-P-K fertilizers required.

​Applying humic or fulvic acids to seeds speeds up seed germination, enhances root development, and activates seedling growing points. Humic substances influence plant growth hormones and provide free radicals to plant cells, positively affecting seed germination, root initiation, and plant growth in general.