Astronauts travelling to Mars or beyond may be able to feed themselves on plants irrigated with their own urine, which is 95 per cent water. The remaining 5 per cent is composed of nutrients such as nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus.
A research team led by Federico Maggi at the University of Sydney in Australia, using computer models of dwarf wheat and soybeans, calculated how these plants take up nutrients from human urine.
Over a simulated 20 years, urine largely met the plant’s nutritional needs without high levels of harmful by-products or emissions such as carbon dioxide or ammonia.
The study was published in the journal Life Science in Space Research, doi.org/cmsj.