We had written an article, titled Stimulation of soil microflora inside coffee plantations in the year 2009. (March 1, 2009). In this article, we had mentioned the results of our experiments conducted for over a 5 year period on the effect of human urine on the growth and development of the coffee bush. A one-acre coffee block was selected. Urine is an excellent source of nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium and trace elements. All the right elements are necessary for large quantities for plant growth. One liter of urine contains 11 gms of nitrogen, 1 gm of phosphorus and 2 gms of potassium. A family of four creates enough urine to fertilize a third of an acre, year-round.
In the present article, we would like to inform the readers that this experiment which commenced in the year 2004, still continues with different permutations and combinations. For Example. A few of the test plots receive half a liter of urine, some other blocks receive diluted forms of urine, and a few blocks receive an application of urine in-between four coffee plants, depending on the season. (Summer /Monsoon)
At the outset, we would like to stress that this experiment was not conducted in knowing whether urine can substitute organic or inorganic fertilizer to enhance crop productivity in coffee and allied crops. The sole idea behind these experiments was to use urine as a source of stimulants to activate various microbes in transforming various energy-rich compounds locked in the soil system, into readily available forms. The idea of a urine application is to enrich the soil systems with microbial enzymes which will bring about various transformations, which can be easily assimilated by the plants. Coffee farmers and Planters need to understand that inside shade grown eco-friendly coffee plantations, it is not the raw material that is in short supply, but the initial stimulant in the form of the booster dose may it be urine or organic manure. This stimulant brings about a rapid microbial succession and transformation of the available raw material.
Chemical Composition of Urine
Urea, uric acid, Minerals, nitrogen, Sulphur, Ammonia, copper, Iron, Phosphate, Sodium, Potassium, Manganese, Carbolic acid, Calcium, salts, Vitamin A,B,C,D,E, Lactose sugars, Enzymes, Hippuric acid and creatinine.
About 91-96% of urine consists of water. Urine also contains an assortment of inorganic salts and organic compounds, including proteins, hormones, and a wide range of metabolites, varying by what is introduced into the body like organic solutes including urea, creatinine, uric acid, and trace amounts of enzymes, carbohydrates, hormones, fatty acids, pigments, and mucins, and inorganic ions such as sodium (Na+), potassium (K+), chloride (Cl–), magnesium (Mg2+), calcium (Ca2+), ammonium (NH4+), sulfates (SO42-), and phosphates (e.g., PO43-).
A Representative Chemical Composition of Urine
- Water (H2O): 95%
- Urea (H2NCONH2): 9.3 g/l to 23.3 g/l
- Chloride (Cl–): 1.87 g/l to 8.4 g/l
- Sodium (Na+): 1.17 g/l to 4.39 g/l
- Potassium (K+): 0.750 g/l to 2.61 g/l
- Creatinine (C4H7N3O): 0.670 g/l to 2.15 g/l
- Inorganic sulfur (S): 0.163 to 1.80 g/l
The pH of human urine ranges from 5.5 to 7, averaging around 6.2. The specific gravity ranges from 1.003 to 1.035.Lesser amounts of other ions and compounds are present, including hippuric acid, phosphorus, citric acid, glucuronic acid, ammonia, uric acid, and many others. Total solids in urine add up to around 59 grams per person. Table of Urine Chemical Composition
Another Table of urine composition in human men lists slightly different values, as well as some additional compounds:
|Chemical||Concentration in g/100 ml urine|
Chemical Elements in Human Urine
The element abundance depends on diet, health, and hydration level, but human urine consists of approximately:
- Oxygen (O): 8.25 g/l
- Nitrogen (N): 8/12 g/l
- Carbon (C): 6.87 g/l
- Hydrogen (H): 1.51 g/l
A note to readers
Urine is sterile because it contains no living organisms. Urine is actually pretty toxin free as well, but does contain plenty of waste products and some salts. Only when stored urine, is older, than 24 hours, the urea turns into ammonia, which is what causes the distinctive smell. But poured neat on to the compost heap it makes a fabulous compost accelerator/activator, with the extra benefit of adding more nutrients.
Compared to the plots receiving compost and recommended fertilizer application, plots receiving only urine application did not show any stastically significant difference in yield. However, in terms of visual appearances, leaf growth and vigour was excellent in plots receiving urine application. The plots were much greener in colour and the sustainability factor in terms of productivity was stable over a long time frame. However, since our objective was to increase microbial stimulation by way of primary and secondary succession, we assume that urine applied plots were in a better position in bringing about a stable soil ecosystem which can to a large extent combat global warming and wide variations in environmental conditions. Bringing in sustainable yields was the key factor. Also, the microbial succession was responsible for the breakdown of the biomass, converting organically held nutrients into mineral forms available for renewed plant uptake. Another added advantage, as a by-product of their metabolism, microorganisms synthesize new organic compounds, many of which are known to stabilize soil structures. As a result, soil compacting and hardening of soils at the root zone is eliminated. This improves aeration and facilitates better exchange of gases.
Agricultural and health organizations should encourage people to use human urine as a fertilizer. We keep reminding the farming community that, the mind-set is the main barrier in adopting cost effective technology described in this article. The trick lies in cautiously and consciously adopting different measures of sustainable development and strive for a new paradigm of individual and environment friendly technologies.
In the coming years the traditional role played by microbes in supporting coffee ecosystems should not go unrecognized.
Our initial findings highlights and supports the argument that urine fertilization is a feasible strategy to enrich soil microorganisms like nitrogen fixers and phosphate solubilizers. Soil microbial communities play an important role in nutrient cycling and nutrient availability. Based on principles of resource use-efficiency, nutrient recycling and low-tech precision agriculture, it should be treated as an integral part of sustainable intensification efforts. Waste is a relative concept; what was once seen as an unwanted waste product can be turned into a valuable resource when benefits are discovered, recognized and demonstrated. The usage of urine in our agricultural products would lessen the impacts of industrial fertilizers on the environment.
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