Gwal Pahari Acid: Isolation, Characterization of a New Soil Based Plant Growth Promoting Humic Acid

  • Sujeet Kumar Thakur TERI School of Advanced Studies, (Plot No. 10, Vasant Kunj Institutional Area), New Delhi, India
  • Krishnendu Goswami Regional Centre for Biotechnology (RCB), under the auspices of UNESCO-DBT, (NCR Biotech Science Cluster), 3rd Milestone, Faridabad-Gurgaon Expressway, Faridabad, Haryana, India
  • Ankit Kumar Teri Deakin Nano Biotechnology Research Centre (TERI Gram, The Energy and Resources Institute, Gwal Pahari, Gurgaon – Faridabad Road, Gurgaon, Haryana, India
  • Saikat Bhattacharjee Regional Centre for Biotechnology (RCB), under the auspices of UNESCO-DBT, (NCR Biotech Science Cluster), 3rd Milestone, Faridabad-Gurgaon Expressway, Faridabad, Haryana, India
  • Sambasivan Venkat Eswaran Ex-Head (Chemistry Department) and Dean (Academics), St Stephen's College, Delhi, 110007; Amity University, Noida, Uttar Pradesh-201313, India; Adjunct Prof. (Hony.), Deakin University, Australia; Teri Deakin Nano Biotechnology Research Centre, Gwal Pahari, TERI Gram, The Energy and Resources Institute, Gurgaon Faridabad Road, Gurgaon, Haryana, India
Keywords: Humic acids, Ion leakage, Arabidopsis thaliana, Tomato, NMR


There are many “Save the Soil” movements highlighting the degradation of the soil due to excessive use of fertilizers, ground water contamination and environmental pollution. An alternative strategy is the use of humic acids from Organic Matter (OM) in soils. Humic acids help grow better vegetables, quality fruits like (peas, potatoes, tomatoes, pomegranates, mangoes), cereals, and pulses. These create supramolecular self– assemblies capable of retaining water and not allowing loss of minerals and ions. Humic acids isolated from soil, lignite and city solid waste are emerging as attractive sources for developing value added products from them. There is much interest in exploiting the commercial aspects in the energy sector of the economy as these new technologies could help in cleaning the environment as well.

In this paper, the isolation of a new humic acid from the soil of Gwal Pahari, Gurgaon, Haryana, India is described. This water soluble, Ninhydrin positive Gwal Pahari Acid (GPA) contains thirteen chiral centers and contains both partly rigid and dynamic systems capable of exhibiting pseudo rotation. The proposed structure of this new humic acid is based on spectroscopic studies (e.g. FT-IR, UV-visible spectroscopy), detailed mass spectrometry, and very challenging 1H- NMR and 2D-NMR studies. Ion leakage studies on Arabidopsis thaliana have shown that the new compound provides protection to the plant, and greenhouse studies demonstrate that Gwal Pahari Acid brings about substantial growth in the tomato plant.


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