Humic acids are highly complex chemical compounds. They form from biological material during the decomposition process.
They are important as means of improving soil to increase yields from farmland, for example. They ensure a lasting build-up of humus and improve fertiliser efficiency and the ability to store water in the ground for an extended period.
Other areas of application are in animal husbandry, as a feed supplement, the pharmaceutical industry, to bind hazardous substances and pathogens), and environmental engineering, to absorb heavy metals.
The main source of humus matter today is highly oxidised, i.e. weathered lignite (Leonardite), mainly from the US.
Fraunhofer UMSICHT is investigating whether our Rhenish lignite can be artificially oxidised in order to facilitate the rapid formation of humus matter.