Human Urine as a Fertilizer in the Cultivation of Snap Beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) and Turnips (Brassica rapa)

Madelyn Pandorf, George Hochmuth, Treavor H. Boyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The main reason for implementing human urine diversion is to produce a local and renewable source of fertilizer for agriculture. Accordingly, the goal of this research was to compare human urine fertilizer and synthetic fertilizer in the cultivation of snap beans and turnips by evaluating the yield, plant tissue chemical composition, nutrient uptake efficiency, soil nutrient content, and leachate nutrient content between plots. Four fertilizer treatments were evaluated: (1) synthetic fertilizer, (2) urine supplemented with synthetic fertilizer, (3) urine only, and (4) a no-fertilizer control, referred to as treatments 1, 2, 3, and 4, respectively. Plants fertilized by treatments 1 and 2 produced the highest yield for fall turnips and spring snap beans. The turnip yield for the urine-only treatment was significantly higher than the no-fertilizer control. Overall, the results showed that supplemented urine fertilizer can be used as an alternative to synthetic fertilizer with comparable yields, and urine-only fertilizer can significantly increase yields over the no-fertilizer control. The results also suggest that nutrients in urine are available in a form favorable for plant uptake.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)50-62
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 9 2019


  • human urine fertilizer
  • leachate
  • lettuce
  • snap beans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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