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Human Urine Safe, Productive Fertilizer
Date:10/8/2007

zed variety.

Cabbage from all three plots was made into sauerkraut and taste-tested by 20 panelists. Each type tasted different, but all were rated "good," the study said.

As a result of the findings, the team concluded that urine produced by one person over a year would be enough to grow 160 cabbages -- that's 64 kilograms (141 pounds) more cabbage than could be grown in a similar plot fertilized with commercial fertilizer. They recommend collecting urine from eco-type toilets, storing it, then scattering it on the soil around the plants rather than directly on them.

The study was expected to be published in the Oct. 31 issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Urine is "a good natural nitrogen containing substance and probably could be easily utilized" as a fertilizer, agreed Dr. Philip Tierno, director of clinical microbiology and immunology at New York University Medical Center, New York City. "There's nothing wrong with using it," Tierno said. He added that there is little risk of contamination by urine-borne pathogens, because they would be in competition with microorganisms found in the soil and would "probably lose the battle."

Urine is actually a relatively clean substance, added Tierno, author of the book The Secret Life of Germs.

Barry Swanson, a food scientist at Washington State University, had a similar reaction. The study "demonstrates pretty clearly that although this might be somewhat objectionable in our hygienic population, it probably has pretty practical application in other countries," he said.

"It makes a lot of sense. Human urine does contain nitrogen. No matter what you apply to the soil, plants take up organic or inorganic material in the soil irrespective of where it comes from," Swanson added. He said urine is a good source of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous.

Preserving the cabbage by making sauerkraut also has some advant
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