The Tour Guide — Guiding us from the sea to the soil

This is a review of chapter 28 from our book Geotherapy: Innovative Methods of Soil Fertility Restoration, Carbon Sequestration, and Reversing CO2 Increase. Available from CRC Press and Amazon.

Photo of Ioan Hossu

Like many other energetic and communicative college students, young Ioan Hossu combined his keen interest in nature and culture into a part time career as a tour guide in Romania. At that time, he probably never imagined that one day he and his company would be another type of “tour guide,” guiding society to an even more eco-friendly world with superior foods.

Several decades have passed, and the young tour guide is now the CEO of IHO Agro International Inc, an emerging agricultural company that produces all-natural fertilizers. In chapter 28 of the book Geotherapy: Innovative Methods of Soil Fertility Restoration, Carbon Sequestration, and Reversing CO2 Increase, Mr. Hossu uses a concise but vivid style to take us on a journey toward a solution to the global food crisis.

The increasing demand on food production for the constantly growing population has put more and more pressure on agriculture. It is crucial to increase production while increasing the nutritional quality of food.

Prolific growth of greenhouse tomatoes.

With this goal in mind, Ioan Hossu and his IHO Agro group began to investigate the possibility of producing all-natural fertilizers. Candidate materials selected for their early tests included seawater from the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans, as well as the Black Sea. In the beginning, plant extracts were not included in the recipe. However, when sea salts and seawater concentrate did not achieve their goals for plant growth, they discovered that organic matter introduced by plant extracts further improved the effects of their seawater extracts.

After about 5 years of testing, they developed two products: IHO-Mineral, IHO-Bio. Both products contain either sea salt or ocean-water extract, along with other salts and organic matter. IHO-Bio also has a well-balanced formula of plant extracts, which is rich in vitamins, amino acids, and plant hormones.

Tomatoes ripening.

The effects of both products were tested on different crop species at different locations. For example, in the test on corn conducted in Panama using 1:50 diluted IHO-Bio, 2 and 3 ears of corn per stalk were observed in the treated plants, while one ear per stalk was observed on the control plant. The treated group also showed an increase of 287% in the weight of the dried corn kernels.

Another study tested IHO-Mineral on Calabash trees in Panama. A 1:200 dilution of IHO-Mineral was applied three times 3 weeks apart, and fruit volume increased 373% compared to the control.

These achievements drew the attention of Dr. Tom Goreau, who was performing his carbon restoration study in Panama at the same time.  He invited Mr. Hossu to turn his research results into a chapter of the book Geotherapy: Innovative Methods of Soil Fertility Restoration, Carbon Sequestration, and Reversing CO2 Increase. This led to Chapter 28: Superior Food Production Using Sea Salt and Plant Extracts.

Closeup of ripe tomatoes.

Since then, data has been collected from further tests of IHO Agro products. According to the latest report by the National Institute for Research and Development for Pedology Agrochemical and Environment Protection – ICPA Bucharest, crops with the IHO-Bio treatments showed consistent productivity increases. Similar results were collected from IHO-Mineral applied crops in Cuba, which is now is included in the Official List of fertilizer for growing gladiolas. IHO-Agro has also expanded their market to South America, Spain, Japan, and elsewhere.

When I was reading the Geotherapy chapter, besides being impressed by the positive results of their work, I couldn’t help wondering: what has allowed them to achieve so much progress within only 7 years? Especially considering the founder of this company, Mr. Hossu spent decades of his earlier career life in engineering and computer science before this project.

Rows of lettuce.

However, when I brought up the question to Ioan, he gave a most convincing and touching answer. Not only is finding solutions to environmental problems his “life-long interest and decision,” but the grief of losing his mother to cancer spurred him to dedicate himself to producing healthier soil amendments, trying to prevent other people from the sorrow of losing someone they love unnecessarily. In order to provide a better world for the next generation, “we have to take action.”

With the natural fertilizer he developed, farmers are able to grow more robust plants and restore mineral and vitamin content to the crops, while also returning nutrients back to the soil. It is the journey to a more eco-friendly world guided by a passionate tour guide. Are you ready to take the next step?


Tall rows of corn.


Great success with citrus in Florida.




Shu Li recently received her Ph.D. in Plant Biology from Pennsylvania State University. She currently lives in San Francisco where she is launching a startup based on her research. Shu is also passionate about science communication and science writing. Currently, she is serving as editorial board member for several journals and involved in many outreach activities as a member of GWIS (Graduate Women in Science). In her spare time, she enjoys running, reading, and working on her first novel.


Related reading

  1. IHO-AGRO website:
  2. Latest research results on IHO-Mineral:
  3. Latest research results on IHO-Bio:
  4. IHO-Bio results in Florida was announced in September, 2016:
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