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L’urine humaine en agriculture : des filières variées pour contribuer à une fertilisation azotée durable

Abstract : To feed humans, agriculture mostly relies on the use of fertilizers derived from fossil resources. Yet, most nutrients from food are excreted in urines and mixed in wastewaters. Wastewater treatment allows only a weak recycling of the nutrients and has many environmental impacts. The objective of this thesis is to characterize the possible management options for the use of human urine in agriculture considering their fertilizing efficiency and their environmental impacts. A literature review of the various urine treatments and urine-based fertilizers shows that: (i) the fertilizing efficiency of most urine-based fertilizers is high but needs to be further studied; (ii) most pathogens in urine can be easily inactivated but pharmaceutical residues are more difficult to degrade; (iii) the energy and chemical consumption of treatments can be high. The fertilizing efficiency of ten urine-based fertilizers has been measured under greenhouse and field conditions. It is high for most of the urine-based fertilizers and close to that of mineral fertilizers (equivalent ranging from 52% to 120%). It is linked to high mineral nitrogen content in the majority of urine-based fertilizers. Ammonia volatilization after field application can potentially be high (e.g. 34% of total nitrogen in favorable conditions). High pH and ammoniacal nitrogen content according to the urine-based fertilizers are important risk factors. Finally, a life cycle assessment of the environmental impacts for cereal production was carried out considering three urine-based fertilizers and two agricultural systems (conventional and organic). The impacts are lower for the majority of the indicators compared to the current practices. It is mainly due to the avoided impacts due to wastewater treatment and mineral fertilizers synthesis. Ammonia volatilization and the energy consumption of the treatments appear as the main environmental hotspots. These results show that the implementation of human urine management options can contribute to a transition towards a more sustainable and systemic management of nutrients.
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Submitted on : Friday, April 2, 2021 - 7:25:03 PM
Last modification on : Friday, August 5, 2022 - 2:41:12 PM
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Tristan Martin. L’urine humaine en agriculture : des filières variées pour contribuer à une fertilisation azotée durable. Agronomie. Université Paris Saclay, 2020. Français. ⟨tel-03189185⟩

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