In recent decades, scientists in different disciplines have been increasingly concerned about the fate of natural organic matter, and in particular of humic substances (HS). The term humic substances (HS) incorporates refractory autochthonous and terrestrial organic matter in the soil and aquatic ecosystem, and are one of the key fractions of natural organic matter. These substances are important chelators of trace elements constituting complex class of molecular structures that occur naturally, consisting of aggregation and assembly processes in which biomolecules derived from plant and animal residues are gradually transformed through biotic and abiotic tracts. Since these organic compounds are bound by or linked with soil mineral fractions, they must be physically or chemically separated from the inorganic components by an extraction method before their physico-chemical study. This chapter focuses on the chemo-toxicological, molecular aspects of humic compounds and their derivatives such as humins, fulvic acids, humic acids etc., with their agricultural, biomedical, environmental and biochemical applications. In addition to studying their impact on plant physiology and soil microstructure to expand our understanding about humic compounds.
Part of the book: Humic Substances