2023-07-06Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.18452/27113
Replacing Mineral Fertilizer with Nitrified Human Urine in Hydroponic Lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) Production
Source-separated, nitrified, and decontaminated human urine constitutes a promising plant fertilizer that contains a large share of the nitrogen and phosphorus in household wastewater, and other plant nutrients. However, human urine contains high levels of sodium and chloride that can affect salt-sensitive greenhouse crops. Replacing mineral fertilizer with nitrified urine fertilizer could reduce the environmental impact of lettuce production in hydroponic systems, if marketable yield, appearance, and produce quality are not affected. In the present study, a treatment combination of a nitrified urine fertilizer and mineral fertilizers was used to grow lettuce through the nutrient film technique. This was compared to a conventionally fertilized control treatment. No significant differences were observed regarding yield, phenotype, and contents of nitrate, heavy metals, phenolic acids, and chlorophyll in leaf tissue. Calcium content was significantly reduced and sodium was elevated in nitrified urine treatment. For the elements nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium, a saving of 48%, 13%, and 15% was calculated, respectively. The calculated carbon footprint from the total fertilizer production was reduced by 34.25%, caused by the nitrified urine treatment. Based on these results, a nutrient solution composed of nitrified urine fertilizer combined with mineral fertilizer may be a promising alternative for growers to produce lettuce with a reduced environmental impact without loss of plant quantity and quality.
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