Serious question: Urine as a nitrogen source for organic composting

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On Wed, 18 Jan 2012 09:02:12 -0800, Billy wrote:

Now that's interesting.
Previously, the equation train went from urea [(NH2)2CO] to ammonium carbonate [(NH4)2 CO3] to ammonium [2 NH4] and carbon dioxide [CO2 gas)] & then I stopped at ammonia [NH3 gas] and water [H2O].
But I guess (from what you said above) some of that atmospheric ammonia is converted to nitrous oxide (probably by oxidation of the ammonia?): 2 NH3 + 2 O2 β†’ N2O + 3 H2O
Is that urea reaction path above correct yet?
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The stoichiometry looks right. I'd have to look up the reaction sequence to be sure.
Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a strong greenhouse gas with global warming potential (GWP) which is much greater, by 310 times, than that of CO2.
<http://www.ghgonline.org/nitrousatmos.htm <http://www.global-climate-change.org.uk/6-4-3-1.php
--

Billy

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Chuck Banshee found:

>>http://www.nku.edu/~longa/classes/calculus_resources/docs / cabbage.pdf

I have to ask why ? As an academic exercise? Not much reason to save it. Urine is pretty cheap and fairly renewable for most of us. In a compost pile I would let it go do it's job unhindered. Unless you test/ analyze your homebrew, hot or cold, your only guessing as to its nutrient content. So the urine is just feedstock and not a nutrient at this stage.
As for using urine in your soil, you and others gave some good info as to how best to use. I did read excerpts from one of the Finnish team's three experiments wherein “Surendra K. Pradhan, K. Holopainen and Helvi Heinonen-Tanski of the University of Kuopio in Finland collected human urine during the winter of 2007-2008 from several eco- toilets in private homes. The urine was stored for about six months at 45 degrees F and tested for microbes and bacteria. The team mixed it with wood ash collected from a household furnace, and found the mixture was just as good as -- or better than -- conventional chemical fertilizer.” So I would assume urine was relatively shelf stable for at least that amount of time/temp. Here is a lead on her email if you want to ask first hand: snipped-for-privacy@uku.fi .
WA State's land grant site on Composting : http://whatcom.wsu.edu/ag/compost/fundamentals/index.htm
Another link that maybe helpful w/ your quest: http://ciitn.missouri.edu/cgi-bin/pub_view_project_ind.cgi?g_num=13&c_id=2007009
I do have to say that while the average person's urine maybe safe there is increasing concern about Environmental Pharmaceutical Persistent Pollutant (EPPP) which do show up in edible plant, albeit in low doses. Always test or know your source well!
good luck
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On 1/15/2012 8:02 PM, Chuck Banshee wrote:

This may help a little:
http://extension.usu.edu/files/publications/publication/AG_283.pdf
Nothing wrong with sci.chem posting, chemist I think may comment goes to both.
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On Sun, 15 Jan 2012 20:09:32 -0500, Frank wrote:

Nice find!
The paper purports to answer exactly what I'm asking! "The purpose of this fact sheet is to briefly describe urea transformations and to suggest how urea-N may be conserved with proper management in the field."
It says up to 90% of the nitrogen in urea will turn to ammonia gas "if not protected within a few hours of application".
Since urea -> ammonium bicarbonate (within 48 hours) -> ammonia gas, they say the key to keeping the nitrogen is to "put the urea into the soil and not merely on the soil" within those first 48 hours.
Ah. That's simple! They say you can do this three ways: 1. Water the soil directly after applying the urea 2. Plow the soil after fertilization 3. Inject the urea into the soil
How did you find this? I had googled for hours before posting my question because I could not find the answer of how to keep the nitrogen IN the compost!
In my compost pile, I can keep it wet and I can cover it with soil to keep the nitrogen in the soil!
thanks!
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Your closest land grant university might have answers to further questions if you have any. List here: http://tinyurl.com/3r39ax The University of Nebraska at Lincoln, for example, has NebGuides. Link here: http://tinyurl.com/unvrl They deal primarily with agriculture but there is some information on lawns and gardens.
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On Mon, 16 Jan 2012 01:56:05 +0000, Chuck Banshee wrote:

I recently found this, an entire doctoral thesis, on the fate of radioactive nitrogen in urine applied to soils over a period of time.
Title: Fate of urine nitrogen applied to peat and mineral soils from grazed pastures, by Timothy John Clough, Lincoln University, 1994.
http://researcharchive.lincoln.ac.nz/dspace/bitstream/10182/1030/1 / clough_phd.pdf
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Or wash it away into aquifers, or public water ways. The amount of ammonia needed to produce the same yield from a field will increase as the organic material (OG) in the field's soil breaks down and diminishes. Discing OG into the field disrupts the soil structure and ecology.
With urea, you needn't spare its application, as you have a lifetime supply of it. Do spread it around though, as you can get salt (ionic compounds that result from the neutralization reaction of an acid and a base) build ups if it only supplied to one small area of soil.
The Bottom Line β€’ Ideal soils, from a fertility standpoint, are generally defined as containing no more than 5% OM by weight or 10% by volume
β€’ Before you add organic amendments to your garden, have your soil tested to determine its OM content and nutrient levels
β€’ Be conservative with organic amendments; add only what is necessary to correct deficiencies and maintain OM at ideal levels
β€’ Do not incorporate organic amendments into landscapes destined for permanent installations; top dress with mulch instead
β€’ Abnormally high levels of nutrients can have negative effects on plant and soil health
β€’ Any nutrients not immediately utilized by microbes or plants contribute to non-point source pollution

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Billy

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UPDATE:
Here, for the record, is a picture of my ad hoc 'compost' bucket ... where I put all kitchen food-related trash (eggshells, banana peels, lettuce cores, chicken bones, fat cuttings, orange peels, stale bread, etc.):

Notice the patented NPK 12:1:2 fertilizing formula I've been using, thanks to all your advice!
So far I've been emptying this about once a week into a large wheeled green compost bucket (which is half full and getting unwieldy).
The bottle of urine you see there is about a day's output from yours truly: * That's about ~1.5 liter / day / person * Which is about 7.5 grams of Nitrogen per day * And about 6 pounds of Nitrogen, 1 pound Phosphorous, & 2 pounds of Potassium per year
I wonder what a comparison cost would be for equivalent store bought NPK 12:1:2 fertilizer containing 6 pounds of nitrogen?
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On 1/21/2012 10:47 AM, Chuck Banshee wrote:

It looks like apple juice or recycled beer. ^_^
TDD
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On Sat, 21 Jan 2012 13:59:38 -0600, The Daring Dufas wrote:

Well, in a way, it 'is' recycled apple juice & beer!
I haven't flushed the toilet in a week! :)
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On 1/21/2012 5:26 PM, Chuck Banshee wrote:

EEEEEEeeeeeeuuuu! ^_^
TDD
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On Sat, 21 Jan 2012 22:34:54 -0600, The Daring Dufas wrote:

I agree the yuck factor is high.
But, I'm at least learning yuck that I never knew before ... for example, on Saturdays I deliver double my normal urine output - and - the color tends to fade to a lighter amber (as shown in this picture taken today of the second bottle of the day):

And, the practical (yuck) experience doesn't stop there.
For example, I found that this width bottle is too small for a normal person to fit and therefore there's the need for a wider bottle opening (two inches would seem to be a good bottle opening size for a 2 liter bottle):

Don't ask for details. Just trust me on this one.
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Andy comments: Use laundry detergent plastic jugs. Wide mouth, easy to fit with no= fiddling around ..... I keep one under the bed to keep from stumping my toes at night, and one in the truck so I don't have to stop and go into a gas station after every beer....... They are empltied into a raised bed garden, in those spaces where I've already picked the produce.....
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On 1/22/2012 2:06 AM, Chuck Banshee wrote:

I have a plastic urinal I got during my last hospital visit where I had to keep track of urine output. I keep track of output every now and then especially after I peed out 50lbs of fluid in two weeks last fall. In a month I was 60lbs lighter after getting the right medication. No more fluid in my lungs went a long way toward making me feel better. ^_^
TDD
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