1. Agriculture World

Kerala Agricultural University Develops Fertilizer from Human Hair Waste

Abha Toppo
Abha Toppo

Proper disposal of human hair waste is a big problem for salons and beauty parlours. But for Mr. K Mohankumar - owner of a waste management society in Attingal near Thiruvananthapuram, it is a source of wealth. All thanks to the technology transferred by the Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) to produce liquid fertiliser from the human hair waste.

The University has successfully invented a technology to treat human hair with chemical & thermal treatments. The hair samples were degraded using chemical agents with the combined application of heat, followed by neutralization.

The black solution obtained after the procedure with milder odours was found to be a useful supplement for leafy vegetables - containing high concentration of nitrogen, phosphorous & potassium.

Mohankumar, head of the Kasargodu Social Service Society that executes waste management in Attingal, received the technology from Kerala Agriculture University. He started producing 1 litre of manure from 20 gm of hair on a test basis. He told media that “The trial dose was a success, as the plants sprinkled with the diluted solution were found to have vigorous growth & early flowering than normal fertiliser application”.

Mohankumar said, “We are collecting around 5 to 6 kg of human hair on a daily basis as part of waste collection in Attingal and convert it into liquid manure at the mini lab in town. We have also urged salons to keep aside used blades from hair waste before handing it over to our collection agents”.

Professor of Agricultural Microbiology at KAU, D Girija, who headed the research work, told that the concentrated solution received from hair samples was standardized to be applied to crops after diluting it with five-fold quantity of water. The product, when sprayed on okra crop at KAU campus had increased the height, vigour and yield of the crop.

KAU’s technology is presently under evaluation by various government agencies and it is awaiting permission for commercial production of human hair fertiliser. This technology or its slightly changed version may possibly help convert poultry feather waste, animal fur & other similar materials also into fertiliser.

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