Graham Lucas & Kevin Mulumba
The Idea of pee-cycling for a final project was given to us by fellow fraternity brothers Jeffrey Rothenberg and Daniel Rohr.Unfortunately the two were unable to follow through with the assignment due to snow .Luckily they were able assist us in the conduction of the experiment this semester. Dan’s dog Richard even participated by being our canine urine sample. The purpose of pee-cycling is to investigate whether or not pee is a better plant growth stimulant than fertilizer. The project was difficult to do because of poor weather during the spring semester as well. It snowed all of March and snowed for half of April. But luckily there was a long enough period of decent weather that allowed us to conduct the experiment. The project turned out to be much more enjoyable than I expected because we learned so much. Who knew that human urine could be so useful and powerful? It makes sense when you think about it because all the vitamins and minerals we consume are able to be put to use. Overall the pee-cycling project was extremely intriguing and unique. Its crazy to see how useful urine can be to an activity such as gardening.
Methods and Results
Following the advice of our pee-cycling Youtube sensation, we used the method of applying our gallon fertilizer of 6 parts water, 2 parts urine. We applied the fertilizer once a day on both the plot of grass and on our two tomato plants. We used Burpee Super Beefsteak and Better Boy Hybrid seeds. Both plants seedlings were placed on my balcony to receive adequate sunlight from 3/30/15 to 4/27/15 . Ultimately the results we found were that after a week of growth and sprouting just an inch above the soil, the seedlings died. We believe this occurred due to the mass amount of nitrogen and other nutrients in the pot. The Miracle Grow soil fertilizer combine with the pee fertilizer proved too much for the baby seedlings. Our plot of 3×2 ft grass outside of the house had a very positive result of the other hand. We believe this to be because the heavy rain from the past month flooded the soil which helped to minimize the effect of the nitrogen and other nutrients from the pee fertilizer. If we were to do this again, we would not use soil fertilizer, but only our urine based fertilizer to feed the plants. This was an overall successful project because we learned more about alternative methods of growing.
Plot of 3×2 grass outside of the house
Female and Male urine samples
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Stenström, Thor Axel. Guidelines on the safe use of urine and faeces in ecological sanitation systems. EcoSanRes Programme, 2004.
Karak, Tanmoy, and Pradip Bhattacharyya. “Human urine as a source of alternative natural fertilizer in agriculture: A flight of fancy or an achievable reality.” Resources, conservation and recycling 55.4 (2011): 400-408.
Lienert, J., et al. “How farmers in Switzerland perceive fertilizers from recycled anthropogenic nutrients(urine).” Water Science & Technology 48.1 (2003): 47-56.