Physiology and Molecular Biology of Plants

, Volume 24, Issue 3, pp 423–431 | Cite as

Effect of soil application of humic acid on nutrients uptake, essential oil and chemical compositions of garden thyme (Thymus vulgaris L.) under greenhouse conditions

  • Alireza NoroozisharafEmail author
  • Maryam KavianiEmail author
Research Article


Humic acid is natural biological organic, which has a high effect on plant growth and quality. However, the mechanisms of the promoting effect of humic acid on the volatile composition were rarely reported. In this study, the effects of soil application of humic acid on the chemical composition and nutrients uptake of Thymus vulgaris were investigated. Treatments comprised 0, 50, 75 and 100 g m−2. Essential oil was extracted by hydrodistillation and analyzed using GC–MS and GC–FID. Essential oil content was enhanced by increase of the humic acid level and its content ranged from 0.8% (control) to 2.0% (75 g m−2). Thirty-two volatile compounds were identified and these compounds were considerably affected by humic acid. The highest percentage of thymol (74.15%), carvacrol (6.20%), p-cymene (4.24%), borneol (3.42%), trans-caryophyllene (1.70%) and cis-sabinene hydrate (1.35%) as major compounds were observed in T. vulgaris under 100 g m−2 humic acid. There was a linear relationship (R2 = 97%) between humic acid levels and thymol as a major compound. The oils were dominated by oxygenated monoterpenes followed by monoterpene hydrocarbons and sesquiterpene hydrocarbons. Based on the path coefficient analysis, the highest direct effects on essential oil content were observed in monoterpene esters (3.465) and oxygenated sesquiterpenes (3.146). The humic acid application also enhanced the uptake of N, P, K, Mg and Fe in garden thyme. The highest N (2.42%), P (0.75%), K (2.63%), Mg (0.23%) and Fe (1436.58 ppm) were observed in medium supplemented with 100 g m−2 humic acid. In all, the utilization of humic acid could positively change nutrients uptake, essential oil content and its major constituents in T. vulgaris.


Essential oil Humic acid Nutrients Thymol 



The authors gratefully acknowledge the Sayyed Jamaleddin Asadabadi University Research Council for financial support of this project.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Prof. H.S. Srivastava Foundation for Science and Society 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Horticultural ScienceSayyed Jamaleddin Asadabadi UniversityAsadabadIran

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