Wil Sillen's post

Wil Sillen

18 w

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Our poop and pee turn out to be excellent fertilizers

Growing vegetables with manure from human faeces and pee. It may sound distasteful, but according to a team of Swiss and German researchers, it isn't. The use of human excrement in agriculture can even contribute to closing the nutrient cycle.
Scientists have grown white cabbage on a small field near Berlin. But instead of using conventional organic fertilizers, a variety of human fertilizers have been plowed into the soil. It has been investigated what different fertilizers from pee, faeces or a combination thereof do with the yield of the land.

The results are encouraging. Manure made from pee turned out to yield about as much white cabbage as vinasse, an organic fertilizer made from sugar beet. Manure made from poop scored slightly worse, but turned out to enrich the soil with carbon. That is why the scientists brewed a combination of faecal and pee manure. Although it yielded a 5 to 10 percent lower yield than vinesse, it left behind a healthier soil. The researchers therefore see a role for human excrement in our agricultural system.
Closing the cycle
Faeces disappear through the toilet into the sewer. At the end of the sewer pipe, a few things are already being done to recover residual materials. Generating biogas is common practice in many sewage treatment plants. And the Amsterdamse Waternet recycles phosphate from sewage sludge to fertilize plants - but all kinds of other nutrients are still being lost. The human manure from the study, on the other hand, was rich in phosphate, nitrogen and potassium: the three most important nutrients for plants.

The research can thus contribute to closing the nutrient cycle - the preservation of nutrients in the food system. That is not an unnecessary luxury. Phosphate is extracted in mines and is running out. And the production of nitrogen is a very energy-intensive and emission-emitting activity. It is estimated that nitrogen production for agriculture accounts for 2 percent of global CO2 emissions.
In addition to being rich in nutrients, the manure turned out to be poor in toxins. This is not unimportant, since medicine residues in faeces and pee cause environmental damage. The researchers also found no bacteria or parasites that cause health damage. The presence of these organisms is why it is not a good idea to relieve yourself in the garden by way of fertilization.
  • Peter Kamau

    15 w


    • winnie nguru

      17 w

      Food for thought....and everything surely serves its purpose.. including what we consider garbage

      • Daryl Cleary

        17 w

        Plant, animal and human waste should be used to make high quality fertilizer instead of using petroleum to make toxic and low quality chemical fertilizer

        • Munene Mugambi

          17 w

          Turns out everything has a use to someone. Who would have thought

          • Gorffly mokua

            18 w

            This is interesting! indeed everything can be recycled!

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