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Sustainable fertilizer from urine and wood ash


September 18, 2009
By Marg Land


Topics

September 17, 2009 —
Results of the first study evaluating the use of human urine mixed with wood
ash as a fertilizer for food crops has found that the combination can be
substituted for costly synthetic fertilizers to produce bumper crops of
tomatoes without introducing any risk of disease for consumers.



September 17, 2009 —
Results of the first study evaluating the use of human urine mixed with wood
ash as a fertilizer for food crops has found that the combination can be
substituted for costly synthetic fertilizers to produce bumper crops of
tomatoes without introducing any risk of disease for consumers.

In the study, Surendra
Pradhan and colleagues point out that urine, a good source of nitrogen, has
been successfully used to fertilize cucumber, corn, cabbage, and other crops.
Only a few studies, however, have investigated the use of wood ash, which is
rich in minerals and also reduces the acidity of certain soils. Scientists have
not reported on the combinaton of urine and wood ash, they say.

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The new study found that
plants fertilized with urine produced four times more tomatoes than
nonfertilized plants and as much as plants given synthetic fertilizer. Urine
plus wood ash produced almost as great a yield, with the added benefit of
reducing the acidity of acid soils.

“The results suggest that
urine with or without wood ash can be used as a substitute for mineral
fertilizer to increase the yields of tomato without posing any microbial or
chemical risks,” the report says.

The research was recently
published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.