IWA Publishing

Investigation on microbial inactivation and urea decomposition in human urine during thermal storage

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

The World Health Organization suggests storing human urine for at least 6 months at 20 °C prior to application as fertilizer to reduce the potential health risks from pathogenic organisms. Such a storage condition for human urine, however, not only requires a long period of time and large space but also ignores the risk of nitrogen losses. In this study, human urine underwent thermal treatment during storage to improve disinfection and to inhibit urea hydrolysis. Microbial indicators such as Escherichia coli and fecal coliforms and the concentration of ammonia/ammonium were investigated in urine samples that were stored at 60 °C and 70 °C. Both the inactivation of indicators and decomposition of urea improved under storage temperatures of 60 °C and 70 °C compared with storage under ambient temperature. Therefore, human urine is recommended to be stored at 70 °C for 7 days for hygienic and stabilization purposes. Under this storage condition, pH is maintained below 8.0 and ammonia/ammonium content is maintained at approximately 800 mg/L.

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