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posted by hubie on Wednesday June 22, @04:33PM   Printer-friendly
from the better-pea-yield dept.

Testing the use of human urine as a natural fertilizer for crops:

Humans have known for thousands of years that their urine is an excellent fertilizer for crops. It contains phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium—many of the same ingredients as commercial fertilizers. But because of the squeamishness associated with using urine to grow crops, its use has been limited. [...]

The first step in the experiment involved renaming urine because its common name was considered offensive. They settled on Oga. Next, they separated the farmers into two groups; one ran their farms in the traditional way, the other fertilized their wheat using Oga. Over two growing seasons, crop yields were measured for both groups. The Oga for the second group of 27 farmers was provided by the farmers themselves, who were taught how to pasteurize, store and dilute their urine for use as fertilizer. They also added small amounts of animal manure.

The data collected from the farms showed that those that had been fertilized using Oga produced on average 30% more grain than the traditional farms. The researchers note that the differences were so great that other women in the region began emulating those in the experiment. Two years after the experiment, they found that more than a thousand women farmers were using Oga to fertilize their crops.

Journal Reference:
Moussa, Hannatou O., Nwankwo, Charles I., Aminou, Ali M., et al. Sanitized human urine (Oga) as a fertilizer auto-innovation from women farmers in Niger [open], Agronomy for Sustainable Development, 2022. DOI: 10.1007/s13593-021-00675-2


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  • (Score: 2, Offtopic) by Opportunist on Wednesday June 22, @04:34PM (4 children)

    by Opportunist (5545) on Wednesday June 22, @04:34PM (#1255390)

    This is taking the piss.

    • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @04:43PM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @04:43PM (#1255392)

      Pissing on Trump's grave will be doing him a favor by encouraging him to grow as a human?

      • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @08:47PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @08:47PM (#1255451)

        living in your head rent free 24/7

      • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 23, @04:20AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 23, @04:20AM (#1255521)

        Didn't Putin already arrange for teenage girls to do that for Trump?

    • (Score: 2) by inertnet on Wednesday June 22, @08:16PM

      by inertnet (4071) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 22, @08:16PM (#1255443) Journal

      More like a pissing contest.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @04:49PM (11 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @04:49PM (#1255395)

    "The first step in the experiment involved renaming urine because its common name was considered offensive."

    This, children, is what they call "science" in 21st century A.D.
    Everything we once had, we have pissed away. Now, even literally.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @05:02PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @05:02PM (#1255400)

      Yeah, whatever. I'd stay and argue with you, but I have to go take an Oga.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @08:37PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @08:37PM (#1255448)

        "...but I have to go take..."

        I don't understand why I'm the only person I know who leaves them but everyone else takes them. You can have 'em. I'm trying to rid myself of waste, not collect it. ;)

    • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @05:56PM (5 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @05:56PM (#1255420)

      I'm surprised they didn't rename "women farmers". They couldn't find someone who considers that offensive?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @07:35PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @07:35PM (#1255428)

        The alternatives were she-farmers and farmerettes. Women farmers won.

      • (Score: 2, Funny) by NPC-131072 on Wednesday June 22, @08:06PM (2 children)

        by NPC-131072 (7144) on Wednesday June 22, @08:06PM (#1255437) Journal

        Hello fren,

        What's offensive? This is an inclusive "front hole fertilizer". It works the same for anyone who defines themselves as a woman.

        • (Score: 2) by DeathMonkey on Wednesday June 22, @09:46PM (1 child)

          by DeathMonkey (1380) on Wednesday June 22, @09:46PM (#1255462) Journal

          The simple answer is that you tell people it's fertilizer because you want to compare it to fertilizer and telling people it's urine, or whatever substance they are testing, could bias the results.

          It is sad that I need to explain such basic science in this day and age....

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 23, @12:01PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 23, @12:01PM (#1255565)

            It is very much sadder that you now go and call that bucket of piss "basic science" and expect not to be immediately laughed out.
            It is precisely what was said; we, the civilization, have pissed our science away. In its place, silly fucks doing silly rituals.
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cargo_cult [wikipedia.org]

      • (Score: 2) by DeathMonkey on Wednesday June 22, @09:44PM

        by DeathMonkey (1380) on Wednesday June 22, @09:44PM (#1255460) Journal

        I'm surprised they didn't rename "women farmers". They couldn't find someone who considers that offensive?

        I think we just found that someone!

    • (Score: 2) by DeathMonkey on Wednesday June 22, @07:39PM

      by DeathMonkey (1380) on Wednesday June 22, @07:39PM (#1255431) Journal

      Ah sweet, control groups are now part of the conspiracy!

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 23, @08:12PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 23, @08:12PM (#1255669)

      "The first step in the experiment involved renaming urine because its common name was considered offensive."

      This, children, is what they call "science" in 21st century A.D.
      Everything we once had, we have pissed away. Now, even literally.

      "Having a dirty name bother people is illogical, so it can't be true." Is that better "science?"

      Or maybe the suggestion is to not properly document ALL the steps of an experiment?

      I'd say that science is observing and understanding the universe around you. Moreover, it is pretty clear that names matter (hence things like renaming "rapeseed oil" to "canola oil"). So, yes, I would consider this "science," no matter when it was done.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 23, @09:31PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 23, @09:31PM (#1255686)

        City dwelling snowflakes imagining that "a dirty name" can "bother" villagers in Africa, is SO beyond merely illogical, my illogic-meter is on fire like the damn lp0.
        Have you seen a villager once in your sheltered life? Have you ever talked with one? Have you? I guess not.

  • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @05:17PM (6 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @05:17PM (#1255405)

    who were taught how to pasteurize, store and dilute their urine for use as fertilizer.

    I hope that they don't forget to pass the knowledge of pasteurizing the urine, else you can get a nice breeding bed for human pathogens.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @07:01PM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @07:01PM (#1255424)

      Right. I only piss on the flower beds, don't piss on the vege garden.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @08:57PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @08:57PM (#1255453)

        Are you infested with disease?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 23, @05:30AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 23, @05:30AM (#1255532)

        The birds will shit on that.

    • (Score: 1) by pir on Thursday June 23, @04:07PM (2 children)

      by pir (9719) on Thursday June 23, @04:07PM (#1255611)

      First off: I applaud the people working on this. More Things Like This Please (environmental action that can actually solve problems)!

      Urine from healthy humans is essentially sterile. Pasteurization is a good idea, because people can be sick, and because diluted urine is a good growth medium for some microorganisms (including some pathogens) in the air, water, or in the container being used for collection. The pasteurization process can be as simple as peeing into a container on a warm sunny day, and not diluting and using it until it's been hit by a full day (or more) of sunlight, which is exactly what I do. Adding some compost tea to the diluted urine makes a highly effective all-purpose liquid fertilizer, as these people found. One must take care using it with plants that are highly sensitive to salts, though most of those kinds of plants aren't heavy feeders anyway.

      I've used diluted urine in my garden (including food crops) for years. It's a great source of plant nutrition that (along with "humanure", which does require composting at elevated (easy to achieve) temperatures for extended periods to be safe for food crops) is mostly being wasted, which is a shame.

      Though the amount of wasted human manure *pales* in comparison to the amount of livestock manure that is not only wasted, but causes serious pollution (ocean dead zones, etc.) If the world were at all sane, all that fertility would be used to grow food or at least be put back into local ecosystems using simple ecological processes (composting).

      Bonus fact: human urine is an effective repellent for many critters that like to eat garden plants.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 23, @05:44PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 23, @05:44PM (#1255629)

        Bonus fact: human urine is an effective repellent for many critters that like to eat garden plants.

        Diluted or undiluted? Do you have to spray it on the leaves?

        • (Score: 1) by pir on Friday June 24, @01:04AM

          by pir (9719) on Friday June 24, @01:04AM (#1255717)

          I find it effective (though I have limited experience so far) undiluted, in containers *right* next to the plants you want to protect from deer, rodents, etc. Apparently (from reading of others experience) it remains an effective repellent for a few days at most, so it's necessary to resupply frequently. Apparently you can spray a diluted solution on leaves as well, but I've yet to try that.

          Cayenne pepper also works well, but also has to be reapplied frequently, and too much can hurt the plants.

          Next year, I'm planting "onion fences" along with marigolds around all the plants that critters like to munch.

  • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Wednesday June 22, @05:18PM (3 children)

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 22, @05:18PM (#1255406) Homepage Journal

    https://youtu.be/nd3Ms3LiBdQ?t=83 [youtu.be]

    How did you think they produce lemons?

    --
    Your private safe room in the back of your mind? Trump pooped in it.
  • (Score: 4, Informative) by crm114 on Wednesday June 22, @05:54PM (4 children)

    by crm114 (8238) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 22, @05:54PM (#1255419)

    Just google it (some links below) Wood ash and human urine amounts to 10-10-12 fertilizer. Without all the fossil fuel byproducts. And yes, our tomatoes taste delicious. (And yes, we wash them before consuming.)

    https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/jf9018917 [acs.org]

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090902112750.htm [sciencedaily.com]

    https://phys.org/news/2009-09-sustainable-fertilizer-urine-wood-ash.html [phys.org]

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @07:47PM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @07:47PM (#1255432)

      Of course it is. Potassium was first isolated from potash, so called because it was obtained by boiling down wood ashes in metal pots.

      I do this myself in the Spring, without boiling. The lye water is a poor man's Drano. I pour it down the drain and it helps keep things moving.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @07:57PM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @07:57PM (#1255434)

        What are you doing if you aren't boiling it? Just steeping it? Does it concentrate enough to have a high enough pH to be useful? (presumably you do find it useful because you are doing it)

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @08:00PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @08:00PM (#1255436)

          I haven't tested the pH, but since it's a water soluble salt it doesn't really need to boil for extraction. I think they originally boiled it to get every last bit out, and perhaps to make it easier to crystalize the salts when they were done rinsing the ashes. I know that I've felt the "smoothness" of it when I've made the mistake of putting my hand in the lye water. It doesn't burn because it's not that strong; but I make sure to rinse it off ASAP.

          • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @10:01PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @10:01PM (#1255465)

            A plumber told me the cleanest, most problem free sewer pipes in a home are the ones from a toilet. The urine is acidic enough to keep it clean. He said the worst sewer pipes in a house are connected to a clothes washer. I started put urine down the washer drain pipe and haven't had any problems since. Before that it was rooter rooter about every 2 years.

  • (Score: 0, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 23, @12:55AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 23, @12:55AM (#1255491)

    First they want you to eat bugs, now they want to piss on your crops... thank God there's only five more months until Election Day.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 23, @01:20AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 23, @01:20AM (#1255493)

    Lyrics [songmeanings.com]

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Phoenix666 on Thursday June 23, @11:53AM

    by Phoenix666 (552) on Thursday June 23, @11:53AM (#1255561) Journal

    The Bronx Zoo has been doing this for years. Sometime early in the 2000's they added a new eco-friendly restroom next to the parking lot on the Bronx River Parkway-side entrance. In the men's room there were signs that explained how the urine from the urinals was collected, diluted, and used to water the plantings around that side of the park. After a couple years the signs vanished, probably because people were skeeved out, but the practice probably continued.

    --
    Washington DC delenda est.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 23, @02:49PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 23, @02:49PM (#1255589)
    Does the salt from the urine cause issues for the plants?
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 23, @03:53PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 23, @03:53PM (#1255604)

    Look at what's going on here: we're not talking industrial agriculture. For the people who are trying to improve third world practices, that's all groovy and stuff, but for people hoping to change industrial agriculture this is a far cry from practicality.

    Don't get me wrong, it is cool. It's just not epoch-making.

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