Humic acid is a principal component of humic substances, which are the major organic constituents of soil (humus), peat and coal. It is also a major organic constituent of many upland streams,dystrophic lakes, and ocean water. It is produced by biodegradation of dead organic matter. It is not a single acid; rather, it is a complex mixture of many different acids containingcarboxyl and phenolate groups so that the mixture behaves functionally as a dibasic acid or, occasionally, as a tribasic acid. Humic acids can form complexes with ions that are commonly found in the environment creating humic colloids. Humic and fulvic acids (fulvic acids are humic acids of lower molecular weight and higher oxygen content than other humic acids) are commonly used as a soil supplement in agriculture, and less commonly as a human nutritional supplement. As a nutrition supplement, fulvic acid can be found in a liquid form as a component of mineral colloids. Fulvic acids are poly-electrolytes and are unique colloids that diffuse easily through membranes whereas all other colloids do not.