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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


Original Submission

 
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  • (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]

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  • (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.