The characterization of feces and urine: a review of the literature to inform advanced treatment technology

Show simple item record Rose, C. Parker, Alison Jefferson, Bruce Cartmell, Elise 2016-02-25T16:45:43Z 2016-02-25T16:45:43Z 2015-02-25
dc.identifier.citation C. Rose, A. Parker, B. Jefferson and E. Cartmell. (2015). The characterization of feces and urine: a review of the literature to inform advanced treatment technology. Critical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology, Volume 45, Issue 1, pp1827-1879 en_UK
dc.identifier.issn 1064-3389
dc.description.abstract The safe disposal of human excreta is of paramount importance for the health and welfare of populations living in low income countries as well as the prevention of pollution to the surrounding environment. On-site sanitation (OSS) systems are the most numerous means of treating excreta in low income countries, these facilities aim at treating human waste at source and can provide a hygienic and affordable method of waste disposal. However, current OSS systems need improvement and require further research and development. Development of OSS facilities that treat excreta at, or close to, its source require knowledge of the waste stream entering the system. Data regarding the generation rate and the chemical and physical composition of fresh feces and urine was collected from the medical literature as well as the treatability sector. The data were summarized and statistical analysis was used to quantify the major factors that were a significant cause of variability. The impact of this data on biological processes, thermal processes, physical separators, and chemical processes was then assessed. Results showed that the median fecal wet mass production was 128 g/cap/day, with a median dry mass of 29 g/cap/day. Fecal output in healthy individuals was 1.20 defecations per 24 hr period and the main factor affecting fecal mass was the fiber intake of the population. Fecal wet mass values were increased by a factor of 2 in low income countries (high fiber intakes) in comparison to values found in high income countries (low fiber intakes). Feces had a median pH of 6.64 and were composed of 74.6% water. Bacterial biomass is the major component (25–54% of dry solids) of the organic fraction of the feces. Undigested carbohydrate, fiber, protein, and fat comprise the remainder and the amounts depend on diet and diarrhea prevalence in the population. The inorganic component of the feces is primarily undigested dietary elements that also depend on dietary supply. Median urine generation rates were 1.42 L/cap/day with a dry solids content of 59 g/cap/day. Variation in the volume and composition of urine is caused by differences in physical exertion, environmental conditions, as well as water, salt, and high protein intakes. Urine has a pH 6.2 and contains the largest fractions of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium released from the body. The urinary excretion of nitrogen was significant (10.98 g/cap/day) with urea the most predominant constituent making up over 50% of total organic solids. The dietary intake of food and fluid is the major cause of variation in both the fecal and urine composition and these variables should always be considered if the generation rate, physical, and chemical composition of feces and urine is to be accurately predicted. en_UK
dc.language.iso en en_UK
dc.publisher Taylor and Francis en_UK
dc.rights This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC:BY 3.0) (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The moral rights of the named author(s) have been asserted. Permission is granted subject to the terms of the License under which the work was published. Please check the License conditions for the work which you wish to reuse. Full and appropriate attribution must be given. This permission does not cover any third party copyrighted material which may appear in the work requested. Attribution — You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use. Information: No additional restrictions — You may not apply legal terms or technological measures that legally restrict others from doing anything the license permits.
dc.subject fecal characteristics en_UK
dc.subject feces en_UK
dc.subject feces treatment en_UK
dc.subject human excreta en_UK
dc.subject urine en_UK
dc.subject urine characteristics en_UK
dc.title The characterization of feces and urine: a review of the literature to inform advanced treatment technology en_UK
dc.type Article en_UK

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