Fertilizer made from human feces and urine is safe for use in agriculture and has “huge potential” to replace 25 percent of current synthetic products in some countries, according to research.
The researchers screened human waste for 310 chemicals — including rubber additives, pesticides and pharmaceuticals — and found them in only 6.5 percent of the samples, but still at low concentrations.
The scientists said low levels of the pain reliever ibuprofen and the mood stabilizer carbamazepine were found – but added that someone would have to eat more than 500,000 heads of cabbage to accumulate the equivalent dose of one pill. .
Author Franzika Hafner, a student at the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart, said products made from human urine and faeces are “viable and safe nitrogen fertilizers” and “do not present any risk with regard to the transfer of pathogens or pharmaceuticals”.
Work by experts in Germany also looked at advanced products made from human urine that convert into ammonium and nitrate.
These include Orion, which was recently approved for use in agriculture in Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Austria, and CROP – Combined Regenerative Organic Food Production – which will process wastewater for future bases on the Moon and Mars. is part of ongoing space projects to recycle
The lead author of the study, Dr. Erin Krause, a scientist at the Leibniz Institute for Vegetables and Ornamental Crops in Germany, said: “If properly developed and quality controlled, up to 25 percent of conventional synthetic mineral fertilizers can be replaced in Germany. Can go.Recycling of fertilizers from human urine and feces.
“Coupled with an agricultural transition that includes livestock farming and a reduction in the cultivation of plants for forage, even less artificial fertilizers will be necessary, resulting in, for example, less fossil natural gas. In consumption.
“The results of our study show that nitrified urine fertilizers such as Orion and CROP have great potential as fertilizers in agriculture.
“They argue for greater use of these recycled products in the future.”
The peer-reviewed research, published in the journal Frontiers in Environmental Science, comes amid record breaking news. Food inflationmany shoppers are struggling with supermarket bills.
Last week, a study by researchers at the University of Edinburgh warned that rising farming costs due to high fertilizer prices could lead to an extra 100 million people worldwide starving.
With climate change, fertilizer prices will have the biggest impact on food security and could lead to an additional 1 million people dying of malnutrition, scientists said.
Synthetic fertilizers are made from or by using fossil fuels – they contribute to global emissions and can be harmful to their immediate environment.
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