Human Urine: Safe, Inexpensive Fertilizer?
Human urine fertilization is rarely used today in developed countries, although its rich nutrients for crops have been known since ancient times. In a recent study, scientists from Finland have found that human urine may be a good fertilizer for food crops due to its high levels of nitrogen, lack of bacteria and viruses, and, of course, abundance.
The researchers, led by Surendra K. Pradhan, explain that, as farmers embrace organic production methods and try to reduce use of synthetic fertilizers, the use of human urine as fertilizer is gaining more attention. In their study, the scientists collected human urine from private homes and used it to fertilize cabbage crops.
Compared with cabbage that was supplied with conventional fertilizer, the cabbage that was fertilized with human urine showed slightly larger growth and biomass, and there was no difference in the nutritional value.
"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 researchers conclude in the Oct. 31 issue of ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
If you stop seeing port-a-potties on the side of the country roads on farmland, you now might know why.