The Role of Humates in Enhancing Mushroom Growth

I was just discussing the role of humates in mushroom cultivation with a friend. This isn’t the first time it has been proposed, especially for saprophytes. It turns out, fulvic acid, is also beneficial with wood inhabiting mushrooms consuming lignin and cellulose. There is huge potential using humates to enhance mushroom cultivation.

It was being discussed in another forum that humic acid be used to assist in cultivation of mushrooms. This isn’t ideal for a couple reasons. The long chain humates take time to break down, which is most often longer than a cultivation cycle. Secondly, while carbon content in humic acid may be beneficial, it also allows other microbes like trichoderma to outcompete the mycelium we are hoping to isolate and fruit.


Fulvic acid, found in products like AGT-50 Fulvic Mineral Complex would be a better choice for compost/dung/wood loving mushrooms for several reasons. The amino and organic acids give mycelium vigor and resistance to being out-competed by harmful microbes. The boost in organic matter leads to higher yields. While mushrooms that consume ligning and cellulose require less organic matter, fulvic acid, in particular acts like an electrolyte for better growth and yield. It is also suitable for pasteurization or sterilization temperatures without losing efficacy.

We propose using 2.5ml AGT-50 per 4L in petri dishes and 5ml per 4L of grain or bulk spawn before pasteurization/sterilization. With the wider acceptance of psychedelic mushrooms as therapy, AgTonik is going to be pursuing the mushroom cultivation market segment to enhance growth and yields.


Fuck yes.


Awesome. My cousin is a mushroom farmer, so I just sent him the link to this page.

He just text me:
Ordering now


Did your cousin notice any change in his yield or colonization rates? @FicklePickle


It’s been a minute since we’ve talked, I’ll get back to you


It makes sense that mushrooms could utilize humic substances being that mushrooms typically survive on fallen organic matter.

Hymic substances are usually contained in decomposing organic matter to some extent. When a mushroom colonizes the forest floor it definitely has access to humic substances, and humic substances are practically ubiquitous in nature. Stands to reason that any and all mushroom species have some kind of use for humic or fulvic acids.

I’m particularly interested in what ulmic acids might provide to a mushroom substrate. They are pretty much assumed to have no role in plants, maybe they contribute to soil structure more than humic or fulvic? I wonder if fungi can directly make use of them.


Humic acid is humate that isn’t completely broken down and is only soluble in alkaline solutions. Fulvic acid is so broken down that it is stable and is soluble at all pH ranges.

When you get into organic acids like ulmic acid, you really start to see how complex millions of organic matter breaking down becomes. If you want some fun reading, check out Gallic, Caffeic, Fumaric, Shikimic, Cinnamic, Ferulic, Benzoic, Protocatechuic, Phenylacetic, Acetic, Malic, Succinic, and Lactic acid all found in AGT-50 Fulvic Mineral Complex. They are all beneficial to plants, pets and people.


I know what defines the different fractions of humic substances, I am unclear on what the role of the heaviest fraction is.

Are you sure ulmic acid is simply an organic acid? From what I’ve read it’s just a typical humic acid particle that’s just experienced a greater degree of polymerization.

From my basic understanding ulmic acid is a humic substance that has aged more in comparison to humic or fulvic.

I already feed my dogs a small amount of ball milled leonardite every other feeding. Along with keefer fermented greens and insoluble fiber supplement.


Let me ask our CSO who has a doctorate in biochemistry with a concentration on polyphenols and organic acids.

Sounds like your pups eat like kings.

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When they aren’t eating meat, I try to make sure any plant ingredients they eat have been trough a digestion process similar to the animals they might eat in nature.

Any oxalic acids in the greens I feed em are consumed or converted by the lactic acid bacteria.

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Where does leonardite come from? I don’t think I’d feed it to my puppies
I’ve fed them curds from fermenting milk(homemade em1)


Leonardite i give my dogs comes from a freshwater deposit in Canada.

Definitely safe to eat. I eat it myself. I use to give them Mumijo or shilajit, but its just too expensive.

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If you are feeding them long chain humates like Leonardite, just keep your eye on liver and kidney health, which aren’t as easily filtered out.

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Interesting for mushroom growers

Most studies I’ve read mention hepatoprotective effects. Would you happen to have a study u can link?

I even put leonardite in my fish tank. I don’t even run an air stone or a water filter anymore. All I’ve got going in my tank is a heater lol.

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The humic acid in Leonardite contains carbon, which will encourage healthy microbes in your tank, better gut health and slow unwanted accumulation of substances like ammonia. Depending on the content of the mineral source, you may be able to replace kelp (biostimulant and micronutrients) and iron supplementation in an aquaponics setup.

In theory, Leonardite should have a similar health buffering effect with mycelium colonization from the carbon and tiny fraction of fulvic acid.

Our CSO just replied to your questions:

Humic, fulvic and ulmic are all organic acids and all are components of humate. In the decomposition of soil organic matter ulmic acid is formed first. Oxidation of soils results in the successive transformation of ulmic acid into humic acid, geic acid, and apocrenic (fulvic) acid. Ulmic acid is a long-chain polymer that has many of the same attributes as humic acid and is formed first (and hence the “oldest”) form of humate.

I asked the founder of AgTonik/Mineral Logic about the link between kidney impairment and humic acid. He said that this concept is held and is considered for investigation by the USDA, however, no published studies substantiate this fact to date.

That being said there are studies that link humic acid to Kashen-Beck disease in humans (see attached), however, the cause and effect have not been clearly established and remains to be elucidated.

Kashin-Beck.docx (33.1 KB)


We are starting to develop marketing materials for use in dung-loving mushrooms. 2.5-5ml seems to be the sweet spot with AGT-50 to add before pasteurization/sterilization.

On a side note, I just found a blast from my past from when Drool Donkey went down in 2000. This was their spinoff that I was pretty active in:



Last pic is kinda taking ITWs style, it’s cool tho

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My cousin ended up saying he didn’t like using it. Said it added organic ingredients that had the potential to rot and become an issue. I know nothing of mushroom cultivation, I’m only repeating what he told me


May I ask- was he using Leonardite, humic acid or fulvic acid?

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