Fertilizer made from human faeces and urine is safe for use in agriculture and has “significant potential” to replace 25% of existing synthetic products in some countries, research has shown.
The findings are as follows the farmer Continue to struggle with rising fertilizer costs due to a combination of factors climate change and ukraine war.
The researchers screened human waste for 310 chemicals — including rubber additives, insect repellents and drugs — and found them in only 6.5 percent of the samples examined, still at low concentrations.
Levels of the painkiller ibuprofen and the mood stabilizer carbamazepine were low, the scientists said, but added that people would have to eat more than 500,000 heads of cabbage to accumulate the equivalent dose of one pill.
Products made from human urine and feces “are viable and safe nitrogen fertilizers” and “did not show any risk of spreading pathogens or drugs,” says author Franziska Hafner, a student at the University of Stuttgart Hohenheim.
The work of German experts also looked at modern products already made from human urine, which is converted into ammonium and nitrates.
These include Aurin, which was recently approved for use in agriculture in Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Austria, and CROP – Combined Regenerative Organic Food Production – which is part of an ongoing space project to recycle wastewater for future bases on the Moon and Mars .
Dr Ariane Krause, lead author of the study and a scientist at the Leibniz Institute of Vegetable and Ornamental Crops in Germany, said: “With proper preparation and quality control, up to 25% of traditional synthetic mineral fertilizers in Germany could be replaced recycling fertilizers.
“Combined with agricultural transformation involving reduced livestock farming and forage plant cultivation, less synthetic fertilizers would be required, for example, resulting in reduced consumption of fossil gas.
“Our results show that nitrifying urine fertilizers such as Aurin and CROP have great potential as agricultural fertilizers.
“They advocate for greater use of these recycled products in the future.”
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The peer-reviewed study, published in the journal Frontiers in Environmental Science, breaks records food bloatmany shoppers are struggling with supermarket bills.
Last week, a study by researchers at the University of Edinburgh warned that soaring agricultural costs, largely driven by high fertilizer prices, could leave 100 million more people going hungry around the world.
Fertilizer costs and climate change will have the biggest impact on food security and could kill as many as a million people from malnutrition, scientists say.
Artificial fertilizers are made from or through the use of fossil fuels – they contribute to global emissions and can be harmful to their immediate environment.