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Sun, Feb

Urea may have competition - Human urine

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Human urine is superior to urea, a common nitrogen-rich mineral fertiliser, according to the results of a study carried out in a farmer’s field outside Nepal's capital city. Researchers who tested the effects of applying different combinations of urine, compost and urea on sweet pepper, Capsicum annuum, found that urine synergises best with compost. Urine for the study was sourced from mobile public toilets in the city and compost prepared from cattle manure.

Human urine is superior to urea, a common nitrogen-rich mineral fertiliser, according to the results of a study carried out in a farmer’s field outside Nepal's capital city.

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Researchers who tested the effects of applying different combinations of urine, compost and urea on sweet pepper, Capsicum annuum, found that urine synergises best with compost. Urine for the study was sourced from mobile public toilets in the city and compost prepared from cattle manure.

Results of the study, due to be published in Scientia Horticulturae this week, (4 April), showed that urine-compost mixtures produced the tallest plants and bore the most fruit.

A "synergistic effect" was attributed to several factors including reduced nitrogen loss and enhanced availability of organic carbon in the soil. "Human urine could be a viable alternative to chemical fertilisers for sustained crop production," the study suggests.

Blending urine with compost minimises the risk of salt accumulation, said Debendra Shrestha, lead author of the study and researcher at Tribhuvan University’s Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science.

Porta Potty line in park image via Shutterstock.

Read more at ENN Affiliate, SciDevNet.