Utilisation of human urine as a source of nutrients for banana and maize cultivation - A compilation of research papers

These papers describe the findings of experiments conducted in the fields in Nagasandra village, Doddaballapura Tq, Bangalore district for one year that studied the usefulness and impact of anthropogenic liquid waste (human urine) as a source of plant nutrient for banana and maize cultivation and evaluated the impact of the use of human urine on crop quality and yield.

Source separated anthropogenic liquid waste (Human urine) - A potential plant nutrient for banana cultivation

This paper published in the journal Bioresearch Bulletin describes the findings of a field experiment conducted in the fields in Nagasandra village, Doddaballapura Tq, Bangalore district for one year that studied the usefulness and impact of anthropogenic liquid waste as a source of plant nutrient for banana cultivation (Musa paradisica).

Source separated human urine toilet systems that produce a safe human derived fertiliser can potentially contribute to a great improvement in quality of life and life expectancy by enabling sustainable food production as well as proper waste management. Anthropogenic liquid waste is  known to contain appreciable quantity of plant nutrient elements (especially Nitrogen and other elements), which may be readily absorbed and assimilated by crops if used properly.

Agricultural scientists are convinced about use of human urine for agricultural purposes. However, no information is available on the quantity and frequency of application of human urine as a nutrient source and the impact of its application on soil properties, growth, yield and quality of crops. In this context, an attempt was made to study the evaluation of source separated human urine as a source of nutrients for banana cultivation and its impact on quality.

The objectives of the experiment included:

  • To study the effect of application of human urine on growth and yield of banana
  • To study the effect of application of human urine on quality parameters

The field experiment was carried out during 2007-08 (April- 2007) rainy season in a farmer’s field at Nagasandra village, Doddaballapura taluk using banana (variety Elakki) as a test crop with ten treatments and three replications in a randomised block design.

A significant difference in length of fruit, diameter of fruit, number of hands per bunch, number of fingers per hand, bunch height and bunch weight of banana was observed due to treatments. It was concluded that application of human urine +gypsum application was effective in improving banana yield and quality. The field studies clearly indicated that human urine (anthropogenic liquid waste) could be a cheap source of nutrients for crops and could be a viable substitute to fertilisers.

A copy of the paper can be accessed at this link

The findings of this study are also published in the journal ARPN Journal of Agricultural and Biological Science at this link

Utilisation of human urine as a supplement to fertilisers in maize production

This paper published in the Madras Agricultural Journal discusses the findings of a field experiment that was conducted in farmer’s field at Nagasandra village, Doddaballapura TK, Bangalore district to study the response of maize (Zea mays L.) crop by applying human urine as the source of nitrogen.The treatments were absolute control, recommended dose of fertilisers, recommended dose of nitrogen through human urine with and without gypsum and fertiliser applied to soil and different combinations of human urine and fertilisers.

The main objective of the study was to find out whether urine diverting toilet (Ecosan- ecological sanitation) systems that produce a safe human derived fertiliser could be potentially used for maize cultivation and for the improvement in life expectancy by enabling sustainable food production as well as proper waste water management.

The appropriate and sustainable disposal of human waste is a significant problem in current times. In urban areas, less than 20% of sewage is currently treated before being let out into our lakes, rivers and groundwater. This has resulted in pollution of lakes, rivers and groundwater. Besides drinking water quality problems, lake pollution with human sewage results in eutrophication and dead lakes. One of the best options in the present day context could be to utilise human urine as a liquid fertiliser to meet part of the nutrient requirement of crops in an integrated way.

The study found that there was a significant increase in the nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium content of plant samples when compared to controls. The farmers saved around Rs. 2500 ha-1, which they would have otherwise spent on fertilisers. The outcomes of the study revealed that human urine can be effectively used in agriculture for food production, which can lessen the dependency on commercial fertilisers.The potential yield of maize could be obtained by using human urine, which can be used as a viable and alternate source of chemical fertilisers in the future.

A copy of the paper can be accessed from this link

The findings of this study are also published in the journal Crop Research at this link

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