Agri Business

KAU develops fertiliser from human hair

V Sajeev Kumar Kochi | Updated on August 08, 2019 Published on August 08, 2019

Proper disposal of human hair waste has been a daunting problem for beauty parlours and salons. For K Mohankumar, proprietor of a waste management society at Attingal near Thiruvananthapuram, it is a source of wealth, thanks to the technology transferred to him by the Kerala Agricultural University to produce liquid fertiliser from human hair waste.

KAU successfully developed a technology to treat human hair with a combination of chemical and thermal treatments. The hair samples were degraded using chemical agents with the combined application of heat, followed by neutralisation.

Effective supplement

The black solution received after the process with milder odours was found to be an effective supplement for leafy vegetables with high concentration of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium.

Mohankumar, president of the Kasargodu Social Service Society, which carries out waste management in Attingal, obtained the technology from KAU. He has started producing one litre of manure from 20 gm of hair on a trial basis. “The test dose was a success, as the plants sprayed with the diluted solution were found to have vigorous growth and early flowering than normal fertiliser application”, he told BusinessLine.

“We are collecting around 5-6 kg of human hair daily as part of waste collection in Attingal town and convert it into liquid manure at the mini lab set up in the town. We have asked salons to segregate used blades from hair waste before handing it over to our collection agents,” he said.

Evaluation

D Girija, Professor, Agricultural Microbiology, KAU, who spearheaded the research work, said the concentrated solution obtained from hair samples was standardised to be applied to the crop after diluting it with five-fold amount of water. The product, when applied to okra crop on the KAU campus, increased the vigour of the plant, height as well as yield of the crop.

The KAU technology, which is currently under evaluation by various government agencies, is awaiting approval for commercial production of human hair fertiliser. This technology or its slightly modified version could possibly help convert poultry feather waste, animal fur and other similar materials also into fertiliser, she added.

Published on August 08, 2019
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