French researchers think they may have found a unique natural alternative to chemical fertilisers. Their discovery reduces environmental pollution and helps to feed a growing global population, all thanks to an unexpected ingredient – human urine.
Synthetic nitrogen fertilisers boost agricultural production but if used in excess, they pollute the environment. Their prices are also soaring, especially now with the war in Ukraine. It has left scientists searching elsewhere for a solution to this combination of crises.
What are scientists replacing chemical fertilisers with?
“Our urine”, say researcher Fabien Esculier.
To grow, “plants need nutrients, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium,” explains the engineer and coordinator of the OCAPI research program. When we eat, we ingest these nutrients before “excrete them, mostly through urine.”