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J Agric Food Chem. 2010 Feb 10;58(3):2034-9. doi: 10.1021/jf9029157.

Human urine and wood ash as plant nutrients for red beet (Beta vulgaris) cultivation: impacts on yield quality.

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Department of Environmental Science, University of Kuopio, PO Box 1627, FI-70211 Kuopio, Finland.


The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of human urine and wood ash fertilization on the yield and quality of red beet by measuring the microbial, nutrient, and antioxidant (betanin) content of the roots. Red beets were fertilized with 133 kg of N/ha as mineral fertilizer, urine and ash, and only urine with no fertilizer as a control. The mineral-fertilized plants and urine- and ash-fertilized plants also received 89 kg of P/ha. Urine and ash and only urine fertilizer produced 1720 and 656 kg/ha more root biomass, respectively, versus what was obtained from the mineral fertilizer. Few fecal coliforms and coliphage were detected in mineral-fertilized and urine- and ash-fertilized red beet roots. The protein and betanin contents in red beet roots were similar in all treatments. In conclusion, this study revealed that urine with or without ash can increase the yield of red beet and furthermore the microbial quality and chemical quality were similar to the situation in mineral-fertilized products.

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