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Human Urine As A Safe, Inexpensive Fertilizer For Food Crops

Date:
October 8, 2007
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Despite the 'yuk!' factor, urine from healthy individuals is virtually sterile, free of bacteria or viruses. Naturally rich in nitrogen and other nutrients, urine has been used as fertilizer since ancient times. Urine fertilization is rare today. However, it has gained attention in some areas as farmers embrace organic production methods and try to reduce use of synthetic fertilizers.

These cabbage plants were fertilized using human urine.
Credit: Courtesy of Helvi Heinonen-Tanski, University of Kuopio, Finland

Researchers in Finland are reporting successful use of an unlikely fertilizer for farm fields that is inexpensive, abundantly available, and undeniably organic -- human urine. Their report on use of urine to fertilize cabbage crops is scheduled for the Oct. 31 issue of ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Despite the 'yuk!' factor, urine from healthy individuals is virtually sterile, free of bacteria or viruses. Naturally rich in nitrogen and other nutrients, urine has been used as fertilizer since ancient times.

Urine fertilization is rare today. However, it has gained attention in some areas as farmers embrace organic production methods and try to reduce use of synthetic fertilizers.

In the new study, Surendra K. Pradhan and colleagues collected human urine from private homes and used it to fertilize cabbage crops. Then they compared the urine-fertilized crops with those grown with conventional industrial fertilizer and no fertilizer.

The analysis showed that growth and biomass were slightly higher with urine than with conventional fertilizer.

There was no difference in nutritional value of the cabbage. "Our results show that human urine could be used as a fertilizer for cabbage and does not pose any significant hygienic threats or leave any distinctive flavor in food products," the report concludes.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Human Urine As A Safe, Inexpensive Fertilizer For Food Crops." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 October 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071008093608.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2007, October 8). Human Urine As A Safe, Inexpensive Fertilizer For Food Crops. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071008093608.htm
American Chemical Society. "Human Urine As A Safe, Inexpensive Fertilizer For Food Crops." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071008093608.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

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