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    Humic substances (HS) act as biostimulants for terrestrial photosynthetic organisms. Their effects on plants are related to specific HS features: pH and redox buffering activities, (pseudo)emulsifying and surfactant characteristics, capacity to bind metallic ions and to encapsulate labile hydrophobic molecules, ability to adsorb to the wall structures of cells. The specific properties of HS result from the complexity of their supramolecular structure. This structure is more dynamic in aqueous solutions/suspensions than in soil, which enhances the specific characteristics of HS. Therefore, HS effects on microalgae are more pronounced than on terrestrial plants. The reported HS effects on microalgae include increased ionic nutrient availability, improved protection against abiotic stress, including against various chemical pollutants and ionic species of potentially toxic elements, higher accumulation of value-added ingredients, and enhanced bio-flocculation. These HS effects are similar to those on terrestrial plants and could be considered microalgal biostimulant effects. Such biostimulant effects are underutilized in current microalgal biotechnology. This review presents knowledge related to interactions between microalgae and humic substances and analyzes the potential of HS to enhance the productivity and profitability of microalgal biotechnology.


    Daria Gabriela Popa, Carmen Lupu, Diana Constantinescu-Aruxandei, Florin Oancea. Humic Substances as Microalgal Biostimulants-Implications for Microalgal Biotechnology. Marine drugs. 2022 May 16;20(5)

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    PMID: 35621978

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