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I consulted GG's science advisor (my dad) about this. Here's what he had to say:

It appears that the term humic acid is used for a mixture of different substances, and that the important one that YGII isolates is called fulvic acid. Wikipedia has a nice article if you search "humic acid" or "fulvic acid", you get the same article.

Is fulvic acid organic? Is it green? Is it an effective fertilizer?

The term "organic" has different meanings to different people. In chemistry, organic refers to a molecule or chemical compound composed primarily of carbon and hydrogen atoms with a sprinkling of nitrogen, oxygen, and maybe a few other elements. So fulvic acid certainly qualifies there. It consists of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. It is called an acid because of the many carboxyl groups (-COOH) in the structure.

Organic often is used in the media and on the street to mean derived from natural sources as opposed to synthesized in a laboratory by a chemist. So fulvic acid qualifies there too because it originates from the decay of plant material. Hence the similarity in words, humic acid and humus. Humus meaning partially decaying organic matter or the organic material in soil. So the brown coal referred to in the post, might be peat, just like the peat moss we put on our gardens and flower beds and mix with compost. And one of the beneficial things we get by using peat moss might be the fulvic acid.

The term "green" has many meanings. The newest one, which is relevant in this context, refers to processes. A green process produces large amounts of the desired material and little waste or side products, especially little of those that might be harmful to the environment. In the process described in the post, fulvic acid is reacted with sodium hydroxide (lye) to make it a soluble salt so it can be extracted from the brown coal. The salt then is neutralized with hydrochloric acid to produce fulvic acid again. What are the products of this process: fulvic acid, sodium chloride (commonly known as table salt), and water. I'm not sure what the hydrogen peroxide does, but it decomposes to water. So this process looks green to me.

The bottom line to me is that it doesn't matter where you start from, it only matters where you end up and how you got there. So the YGII fulvic acid and its process look organic and green to me. </end science advisor lecture>

Hope that's helpful.

Tim
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