International Journal of Scientific & Technology Research

IJSTR@Facebook IJSTR@Twitter IJSTR@Linkedin
Home About Us Scope Editorial Board Blog/Latest News Contact Us

IJSTR >> Volume 4 - Issue 8, August 2015 Edition

International Journal of Scientific & Technology Research  
International Journal of Scientific & Technology Research

Website: http://www.ijstr.org

ISSN 2277-8616

Assessment Of NPK In Human Male And Female Urine For Its Fertilising Potential In Agriculture

[Full Text]



Alfred L.K. Kuwornu, Kwasi Obiri-Danso



Keywords: female urine, male urine, nitrogen, NPK, phosphorus, potassium.



ABSTRACT: The study evaluated concentrations of Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium in male and female urine stored over six months and its potential as a fertilizing agent in agriculture. Urinals were constructed to allow for easy collection of male and female urine and then stored in transparent bottles for six months in a greenhouse. Monthly triplicate analysis of male and female urine was done for nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, temperature, pH and colour change. Bray P1 and Flame photometry methods were used in the determination of phosphorus and potassium contents and Kjedahl digestion and non-digestion (direct) methods for nitrogen content. Temperature, pH and colour were determined using mercury thermometer, temperature/pH meter and a colour chart. Results showed that nitrogen in female urine was significantly (p<0.05) higher than that in male urine after 2 to 5 months of storage. However, there were no significant differences (p>0.05) with respect to the direct method. Contrastingly, phosphorus in male urine was significantly (p<0.05) higher than that in female urine after 2 to 3 months of storage but there were no significant differences in potassium content for all male and female urine samples. Generally, NPK yields in both urine sources peaked four months after storage. There was a moderate positive correlation between the direct female urine Nitrogen, and storage time. The phosphorus levels also correlated positively with storage time and temperature but weakly negative with pH. Generally, urine nitrogen strongly correlated positively with potassium but moderately with temperature and pH. Colour of matured urine (after six months storage) was yellow for females and brown for males. NPK contents in both male (30.4(3.4*)-1-43.7) and female (34.4(6.5*)-1-62.8) urine were comparable to those of chemical fertilizers, such as 21% N ammonia. However, the nitrogen content of digested female urine was significantly higher than that of male urine. Phosphorus concentration was higher in male urine than in female urine during the 2nd and 3rd months of storage. Ecosan urinals (a designed urinal that seeks to separately collect urine to optimize its usefulness) should be designed to separately collect urine for specific NPK requirements for crop production. Results of this study suggest that concentration of NPK in human urine is comparable to commercial chemical fertilizers. Human urine in agriculture should progressively be promoted by governments and other agencies.



[1] Aragundy, J. (2005). Urine treatment and use in the Andes. Ecuador. Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Ecological Sanitation, Durban – South Africa. http://conference2005.ecosan.org/papers/aragundy_01.pdf (accessed 14/03/09).

[2] Baer, D.M (2002). Preserving routing urine specimens, documentation of normal flora, and quantitative body fluid counts-Tips from the clinical Experts. http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3230/is_10_34/ai_93459897/ (accessed 24/05/07)

[3] Bray R.H. and Kurtz, L.T. (1945). Determination of total, organic, and available forms of Phosphorus in soils. Soil Sci. 59: 39-45.

[4] Bremner, J.M and Mulvaney, C.S. (1982). Nitrogen-Total. In Page, A.L., Miller, R.H. and Keeney, D.R. (eds.). Methods of Soil Analysis. Part 2. Chemical and Microbiological properties. ASA. Madison, Wisconsin, USA. Pp595-62.

[5] Doyle, J.D. and Parsons, S.A. (2002). Struvite formation, control and recovery. Water Research, 36(16):3925-3940.

[6] Ek, M., Bergström, R., Bjurhem, J.-E., Björlenius, B., and Hellström, D. (2006). Concentration of nutrients from urine and reject water from anaerobically digested sludge. Water Science & Technology 54(11–12): 437–444.

[7] Etnier, C., Norén, G. and Bogdanowicz, R. (1997). Ecotechnology for wastewater treatment: functioning facilities in the Baltic Sea Region, Coalition Clean Baltic, Stockholm, Sweden.

[8] Gethke, K., Herbst, H., Montag, D., Bruszies, D. and Pinnekamp, J. (2006). Phosphorus recovery from human urine. Water Practice & Technology 1(4): 1-6.

[9] Höglund, C. (2001). Evaluation of microbial health risks associated with the reuse of source-separated human urine, Stockholm. www.2gtz..de/ecosan, (accessed 24/5/07).

[10] Johansson, M., and Nykvist, M. (2001). Urine separation – closing the nutrient cycle. Formas (Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Science and Social Planning), 2001; EcoEng Newsletter 1, October 2001. Accessed in 2/3/08.

[11] Jönsson, H., Vinnerås, B., Höglund, C., Stenström, T.A., Dalhammar, G. and Kirchman, H. (2000). Källsorterad humanurin i kretslopp (Source separated human urine in circulation, in Swedish).VA-FORSK report 2000:1.

[12] Knudsen, D., Petterson, G.A. and Pratt, P.F. (1982). Lithium, Sodium and Potassium. In Page, A.L., Miller, R.H. and Keeney, D.R. (eds.). Methods of Soil Analysis. Part 2. Chemical and Microbiological properties. ASA. Madison, Wisconsin, USA. Pp225-245.

[13] Mashauri, D.A. and Senzia, M.A. (2002). Reuse of nutrients from ecological sanitation toilets as a source of fertliser. Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Ecological Sanitation. Water Resources Engineering Department, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. http://www2.gtz.de/Dokumente/oe44/ecosan/en-reuse-nutrients-as-fertilizer-2002.pdf (accessed 04/10/2009).

[14] Maurer, M. (2007). Urine treatment- Absolute flexibility. Eawag News 63e, Sweden.

[15] Mohajit K., Bhattarai K., Taiganides E.P. and Yap B. C. (1989). Struvite deposits in pipes and aerators. Biological Wastes 30: 133- 147.

[16] Morgan, P. (2004). An Ecological Approach to Sanitation in Africa: A compilation of Experiences. EcoSanRes, Stockholm Environment Institute. http://www.ecosanres.org/PM_Report.htm. (Accessed 10/03/09).

[17] Other RGB Color Chart. www.tayloredmktg.com/rgb/ (accessed 07/03/08).

[18] Palmquist, H. and Jönsson, H. (2003). Urine, faeces, greywater, and biodegradable solid waste as potential fertilizers. Proc 2nd International Symposium on Ecological Sanitation, Sweden.

[19] Rheiberger, M.B. (1936). The Nitrogen Partition
[20] in the Urine of various primates. The journal of Biological Chemistry, 115(2): 343-358. http://www.jbc/cgi/reprint/115/2/343.pdf (accessed 04/10/09).

[21] Richert Stintzing, A., Rodhe, L. and Åkerhielm, H. (2001). Human urine as a fertiliser - Spreading technique and effects on plant nutrition and environment. (Humanurin som gödselmedel - Spridningsteknik, växtnärings- och miljöeffekter). JTI report Agriculture and Industry no. 278. , Swedish Institute for Agricultural and Environmental Engineering, Uppsala, Sweden. (In Swedish, English summary).

[22] Shayo, A.J. (2003). Acceptance of ecosan concepts in Tanzania - A Case Study of “Piloting Ecological Sanitation Majumbasita Dar Es Salaam. 2nd IWA International Symposium on Ecological Sanitation, April 2003, Germany.

[23] Thompson, R.C., and Abdulnabi, M. (1950). A study of urinary excretion of α- amino nitrogen and lysine by humans. J. Biol Chem., 185(2): 625-628.

[24] Thompson, R.C., and Kirby, H.M. (1949). Biochemical Individuality; Variation in the urinary excretion of lysine, threonine, leucine, and arginine. Arch. Biochem., 21(1): 210-6. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18113505 (accessed 04/10/09).

[25] Udert, K.M (2007). NoMix begins in the bathroom. Eawag (Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology), News, 63e.

[26] Udert, K.M. (2003). The Fate of Nitrogen and Phosphorus in Source-Separated Urine, Schriftenreihe des Instituts fu¨ r Hydromechanik und Wasserwirtschaft, Vol. 16. Institute for Hydromechanics and Water Resources Management, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zu¨rich.

[27] Udert, K.M., Larsen, T.A. and Gujer, W. (2003b). Estimating the precipitation potential in urine-collecting systems. Water Research, 37(11): 2667–2677.

[28] Udert, K.M., Larsen, T.A., Biebow, M. and Gujer, W. (2003c). Precipitation dynamics in a urine-collecting system. Water Research, 37(11): 2571–2582.

[29] Weinmaster, M. (2007). Viewing Anthropogenic Organic Waste as a Sustainable Resource for Agriculture. Master of Science Thesis. University of Stockholm, Sweden 2007. http://www.infra.kth.se/sb/sp/0php/Student, (accessed 10/4/08).

[30] WHO, (2006).Guidelines for the Safe Use of Wastewater, Excreta and Greywater; Volume 4: Excreta and Greywater use in Agriculture. Printed in France. ISBN 92 4 154685 9 (v. 4).