Source: Sci Dev News 
Agricultural Food Chemistry 

9 September 2009 | EN

 

The below italicized is a commentary on an important study pertaining to urine as a tomato plant fertilizer. 

What an individual consumes, an individual urinates. When we change our thinking we'll get out of the box that constrains on to believe we need centralized industrial agriculture to feed our planet.

Plant growers can supply their own urine to grow their own family garden plot of edible produce and achieve greater food security.

Liquid mineral fertilizers are available to everyone, cost free, with virtually zero labor. That's in comparison to conventional methods of organic farming, an intensive labor process.

Urine is a 100% dependable source of plant ready fertilizer. 

At Bioponica we use urine as a key source of liquid mineral fertilizers. It is ideal for tomatoes because of abundant nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and sodium. If you are following our protocol for organic non manufactured fertilizer use, urine reduces the total amount of biomass required to fertilizer all plants.

We cannot rely on urine alone, unless the source has a limited intake of  sodium and there are precautions taken to limit those taking medications.

Trace elements are in short supply in human urine. For that you'll need plenty of uncomposted green biomass, as your source for organic fertilizer.

Humans aren't getting enough trace mins in their own diet, due to top soil erosion and depletion in world food sources. It is also becoming clear that the glyphosate Round Up fertilizers are likely depleting the body of trace elements. This is due to the fact that the sprayed grains, legumes and grasses are binding up the trace minerals - Round Up is a chelator that deprives consumers of important trace minerals.

A tomato plant grown with sufficient levels of sodium has a flavor that's not to be found from one without. 

From the linked article:

"Using human urine as a fertilizer produces bumper crops of tomatoes that are safe to eat, scientists have found.

Surendra Pradhan, an environmental biology researcher at the University of Kuopio, Finland, and colleagues gave potted tomato plants one of three treatments: mineral fertiliser, urine and wood ash, urine only, and no fertiliser. Urine is rich in nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.

Yields for plants fertilized with urine quadrupled and matched those of mineral-fertilized plants. The urine-fertilized tomatoes also contained more protein and were safe for human consumption.

"This is a very simple technology. Urine can be collected in a urine-diverting toilet or it can be collected in a separate jerry can from an ordinary, pre-existing toilet. If wood ash is available, this can be use as a supplement of phosphorus, potassium and other nutrients," Pradhan told SciDev.Net.

He says that the method is a free alternative to expensive mineral fertilizer, which is also not easily available in remote or hilly areas. Pradhan also believes that the idea could improve sanitation by incentivising toilet-building.

A pilot programme based on the research will be launched in Nepal in November, says Pradhan.

 

 
Algae
 

Here is a simple project for raising algae that is practical, as a tabletop exercise, for high school education labs.

Growing in this fashion is similar to the process of high tech bioreactors and various tube systems commonly used in the biotech industry. Researchers feed algae with CO2 from combusted exhaust emissions, a method which holds great promise for sequestering CO2 and reducing greenhouse gasses. Additional nitrogen, phosphorus, bicarbonate, trace minerals and salts must also be added also. In the algal biotech industry, as with this experiment, a sterile environment is generally engineered to optimize growth of an algal monoculture. A closed system such as this does not risk contamination with algal spores indigenous to the region.  Most often raised are specific algal varieties that are high in fat content. This is necessary to profitably yield biofuel. The science and technology of growing algae is being heavily researched and invested in and so there will be a lot of jobs coming out of this industry in the years ahead. However, many believe that the industry’s movement towards genetically produced algae with high fat content is a mistake. If this was unleashed into the atmosphere, and it most certainly would be, the GMO algae could overwhelm naturally occurring algae. As described in this NY Times article, the threat of genetically modified algae may be detrimental to ecosystems worldwide. Algae is the most important element in the food chain, and it can be produced in open ponds by simply adding nutrient rich waste and sunlight. In ones back yard algae can be raised at near zero cost, from worm teas, submerged decomposing organic matter, grass clippings, kudzu, grasses, clover and other high nitrogen sources such as urine and chicken manure. From algae we get zooplankton made up of various larva, aquatic insects and animals including aquatic fleas and worms. The zooplankton follows plankton, floating together and feeding off the living and dead biomass, as do tilapia, bass, sturgeon, grass carp and even whales in the ocean.  Fish fry and fingerlings live primarily off of plankton and zooplankton. Algosolar offers education on raising these plants and animals in open ponds and in its aquaponic troughs. We will soon provide tables for calculating quantities of site derived ingredients to match your plant and fish growth needs.

20090514-algae-bioreactor        Aquaflow-pond-aeration

 

Urine-formation

 

Here is an overview of what minerals and elements are found in human urine. This is useful for determining urine requirements for volumes of water base total plants and plant needs. Algosolar will soon post a calculator to help calculate ratios. Nearly all of these substances are utilized by all other living species, in one way or another.

“An average sized human adult produce 1-2 litres / 24. However, the amount per day varies considerably. Approximately 95% of the volume of normal urine is due to water. The other components of normal urine are the solutes that are dissolved in the water component of the urine. These solutes can be divided into two categories according to their chemical structure. They are organic molecule and inorganic ions." This information is provided by Tutorvista

 

Quantities of Organic Constituents of Human Urine

Nitrogen 23 - 35 g

Urea 25 - 30 g

Creatine 60 -150 mg

Creatinine 1.2 1.7g

Ammonia 0.3 – 1.0 g

Uric acid - 0.5 - 0.8 g

Hippuric acid 0.1- 1.0 g

Oxalic acid 10 - 30 mg

Amino acid 150 - 200 mg

Allantion – traces

Vitamins, hormones, enzymes – traces

 

Quantities of Inorganic Constituents of Human Urine

Chloride 6 – 9g

Chloride (NaCI) 10 – 15g

Phosphate 0.8 - 1.3 g

Sulphate 0.8 - 1.3 gm

Potassium 2.5 - 3.0 g

Sodium 4.5 g

Calcium 0.1- 0.3g

Magnesium 0.1 - 0.2 g

Iodine 50 – 250μg

Arsenic 50μg

Lead 50μg

 

Organic Constituents of Human Urine

Urea - Urea is derived from ammonia and produced by the deamination of amino acids. The amount of urea in urine is related to quantity of dietary protein.

Creatinine - Creatinine is a normal (healthy) constituent of blood. It is produced mainly as a result of the breakdown of creatine phosphate in muscle tissue. It is usually produced by the body at a fairly constant rate

Uric acid - Uric acid is an organic (i.e. carbon-based) compound whose chemical formula is: C5H4N4O3.Due to its insolubility, uric acid has a tendency to crystallize, and is a common part of kidney stones.

Other substances/molecules: other substances that may be found in small amounts in normal urine include carbohydrates, enzymes, fatty acids, hormones, pigments, and mucins

 

Inorganic Constituents of Human Urine

Sodium (Na+) : Amount in urine varies with diet and the amount of aldosterone in the body.

Potassium (K+) : Amount in urine varies with diet and the amount of aldosterone in the body.

Chloride (Cl-): Amount in urine varies with dietary intake.

Magnesium (Mg2+): Amount in urine varies with diet and the amount of parathyroid hormone in the body. Calcium (Ca2+): Amount in urine varies with diet and the amount of parathyroid hormone in the body.

Ammonium (NH4+): The amount of ammonia produced by the kidneys may vary according to the pH of the blood and tissues in the body.

Sulphates (SO42-): Sulphates are derived from amino acids. The quantity of sulphates excreted in urine varies according to the quantity and type of protein in the person's diet.

Phosphates (H2PO4-, HPO42-, PO43-): Amount in urine varies with the amount of parathyroid hormone in the body - parathyroid hormone increases the quantity of phosphates in urine. The composition of organic and inorganic constituents of human urine is cited below.

Other urine composition topics from Tutorvista. The website is useful as a primary or refresher in various academic sites. Additional links below:

 

Physical properties of urine? Physical properties of urine: The physical properties and chemical composition of urine are very variable and.....

 

honey bees drinking water, bacteria or minerals

Bioponic honeybees! 

 

The entire bee hive showed up today for a drink of water. You can bet the water has something good in it if it attracts so many bees, day after day, even right after a rainstorm.

Do bees seek additional vitamins and enzymes that their digestive bacteria can no longer provide or are they in fact eating bacteria found in this biologically rich media.

This article from Yale, tells more about bees and their digestive flora. 

It has been suggested these bees may not be "honeybees." 

There are over 200 varities of bees.

 

They're as docile and similar in appearance and activity, certainly not the ground bees that are commonly mistaken as honey bees. But since you mentioned, I can't say for sure. None to date have any nectar or pollen on them. If they're behavior or role is to strictly get water, minerals or whatever besides nectar, then that could explain it. I've been reading an really interesting article on bees out early this year by researchers at Yale. See above link. 

It describes one possible issue with bees being their gut microflora being destroyed by use of tetracyclines, a common practice with managing spores in the beehive industry. It's been going on for 50 plus years but there's a new chemical that's also more "effective". You know how they industry likes it's non-generic next generation drugs. Antibiotics wreak havok in humans digestive flora, why not bees?

There are 11 microbes in the bee gut that metabolizes the nectar and pollen into energy as well as break down pectin in pollen cell walls that can be toxic to bees. These microbes produce vitamins, enzymes and other needed elements not found their usual diets.

The bees are not merely drinking water and flying away. They're staying for 30 seconds at a time or more and combing the rocks for a spot to put their mouth parts. Then they move around and go from spot to spot. They're drawing through algae and biofilm layers, and ultimately stripping the algae from the rock. They're also drawing from organic detritus that is in the soilless beds from the decomposing biomass fertilizer we use.

It seems they could be extracting either the microorganisms themselves or else maybe the metabolites that they don't get in their own guts because their own bacteria are not present. The plant matter will likely contain the biproducts of the rich bacterial activity that takes place in the beds including vitamins, enzymes and soluble minerals that otherwise may not be produced in their guts.

From the Wikipedia's Cross-flow filtration article.

Tilapia eating duckweed, also filter feeds on algae

Ever wonder how a filter fish filters?

For Fish Feeder Fish Habits article, click here.

"Many different species of fish, including herring, tilapia and goldfish, feed by leaving their mouths open as they swim or by pumping water into their mouths. This water is pushed out through gill slits in the side of the head, with food particles in the water being trapped and swallowed.

Look in the mouth, and you will see a series of arches lined with combs which are called gill rakers.

Sanderson's team used fiber-optic endoscopes, like those used by cardiologists to probe blocked blood vessels, to watch what actually happens when fish are feeding. They found that food particles were not hitting or sticking to the rakers at all. They were being carried straight past and collected at the roof or the back of the mouth.

"The theory is that they're sieving, but there's no food on the rakers," Cheer said."

What is now understood, according to the linked article, what happens is the rakes direct the food, via the torrent of a water vortex to the back of the fish mouth where it sticks to the mucous membreane and is then swollowed. It is remarkable the role that a water vortex plays with the fish. Through studies of the vortex it is understood that they generate forces of implosion, cavitation, anhd oxygenation of the tiny food moelcules and with very little energy, tangential and gravitational energy input. 

Cross-flow filtration or tangential flow filtration explains the phenomenon. Manufactured filters that use tangential flow filtration do so to keep small particles them from clogging or sticking and mucking things up.  

 Wikipedia has this engineering flow diagram of the cross-flow dynamic:

tangential flow filter cross flow filtration creating a tangential vortex

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is intriguing is that the vortex is at play in the mouth of a fish that literally thrives in the vortex of rapid moving river water. In fact, a river gets its life from the vortical swirl of water. At the same time, it purifies the water with these vortex forces, making molecules more digestable and more removed of harmful toxins or microorganism. The functional features of this vortex, which keeps fish gill rakes from clogging, are mimicked in winemaking, brewing and water purification to keep the machinery from clogging.

If we teach school kids about filter feeding phenomenon they may one day seize upon this information to design a more effective mechanical filter. One that never clog, like a fish gills.

These manufacturing innovations limit need for energy by observing subtle forces of nature.

When considering this for bioponic and aquaculture fish farming it gives us more understanding about the physiology of fish. Without ever eating a solid piece of food, filter feeding fish, including tilapia, crawfish, goldfish, shrimp, can survive entirely off of algae and other micro particles that flow in a "fertile" pond-like environment.

 

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