A human pee experiment in a large scale used to fertilize crops. Here's What Happened

A human pee experiment in a large scale used to fertilize crops. Here's What Happened ...

Peeing on your food plants may be considered a serious and wacky gardening problem these days, despite the practice being previously beneficial for thousands of years.

However, our contemporary squeamishness has forced gardeners and farmers alike to utilize expensive fertilizers to provide their crops with the much-needed nutrients available in our pee.

Despite the fact that some of the farmers who need these extra nutrients often lack access to fertilizers. Many farmers, like those living in remote areas of the Republic of Niger, are experiencing sluggish soil fertility as a result of harsh weather conditions and are struggling to produce crops.

So a team led by Hannatou Moussa of the National Institute of Agricultural Research hoped to revive this ancient technique, which is being used in certain parts of Asia, of using pee as fertilizer, with some of them promising new techniques, like sanitizing it to keep everyone safe.

Women from North Africa contribute a greater share of labor for food production than men in the harsh lands of sub-Saharan Africa, but they do not have the land or resources, nor have easy access to information.

These women end up with the most nutrient-poor areas on the go when it comes to acquiring a regional staple grain pearl millet (Cenchrus americanus).

First, the women named the fertilizing substance Oga, which means "the boss" in Igbo language. This was intended to help clarify social, religious, and cultural barriers that prevented the use of human urine.

After receiving training on how to use it safely, the volunteers were divided into two groups. The first continued using their traditional farming methods, while the second applied Oga,with and without animal manure, to their experimental plots.

In one of the most CO2-intensive chemical making reactions, a commercial fertilizer involves extensive mining of ores containing phosphorus and potassium. Burning natural gas at high temperatures sequester the much-needed nitrogen from the air we breathe in. Among other things, plants utilize all three of these elements for photosynthesis.

Cependant, our urine is already in a simple-to-access form filled with phosphorus, potassium, and nitrogen.

Pee is relatively sterile when it leaves our bodies because of its ammonia in it. Just passively storeing canisters in temperatures between 22 to 24 C (71 to 75 F)for two to three months is enough to destroy remaining pathogens that can withstand long periods within the acidic liquid.

So, the women were trained in this sanitization process and how to mitigate the resulting Oga for use. For the first few years, they applied the Oga in combination with organic manure, and when that was successful they were game enough to try Oga alone.

People who used Oga yielded an average of 30 percent higher in three years (2014 to 2016) and 681 trials. This was because many other women in the area were aware of the difference.

"Oga is a low-risk, low-cost financial input fertilizer option, which is ready for dissemination on sandy Sahelian sites with a lower pearl millet yield level," researchers said in their report.

If we had this product in industrialized nations, it would not only increase crop yields and reduce the amount of fossil fuel-intensive materials required to build them, but also improve our sanitation systems. Groups in Sweden, the United States, and Australia are also exploring the use of large urine fertilizer.

"Millions and millions of dollars are spent every year trying to trait our waste before it goes into receiving water for acceptable nitrogen and phosphorus criteria," Cara Beal, an environmental health researcher at Griffith University, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporationearlier this year.

"But if we can close the nutrient loop, it''d be very beneficial in terms of sustainability, the circular economy, and caring for our planet a bit better."

Two years after the Niger experiment, more than a thousand female farmers had begun using Oga to fertilize their crops.

This article was published in Agronomy for Sustainable Development.

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