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Humic acids

Humic acids, also known as humic substances, consist of humic and fulvic acids, and are produced in the process of drinking water discolouration. They are natural substances, degradation products of organic matter under oxygen-poor conditions. Humic acids are extracted from the water by using so-called ion exchangers, which are periodically flushed (regenerated) with salt water. The residual product consists principally of water, salt and humic acids.

A unique technology is used to separate the water, salt and humic substances from each other; they are then 100% reused. Pure humic substances are obtained in liquid form, with a colouration ranging from yellow to brown, depending on the concentration. Currently, humic acids are produced at a single location in the Netherlands, namely, at the Vitens water company. But it is expected that they will also be produced in the near future at other Dutch and Flemish locations.

Humic acids render agricultural land fertile: they give the soil structure, so that it can retain more water and nutrients, and they improve crop root growth, serve as food for microorganisms, and improve the absorption of minerals. The sustainable application of humic substances produces higher crop yields and simultaneously reduces the need for artificial fertilisers and phosphorus.

It is not only crops that benefit from humic acids, the literature shows that these acids can also have positive effects on animals, particularly pigs (see for example 1, 2). We are still researching whether this also applies to the substances recovered from drinking water treatment. We have already included these acids on the FSP list of GMP+ International as a recognized substance, in anticipation of the results of this research. Specifically, this means that, if this positive effect is demonstrated conclusively, we can have the product GMP+ certified.

The research reports are available on request. For more information click here.