Scientists at Department of Agriculture Microbiology, Kerala Agricultural University have found a solution to turn human hair into fertilizers. It is an environment friendly way of converting human hair into fertilizers. The process is a thermochemical one in which hair collected from barber shops were first washed and heated for it to form a dark solution. The rotten eggs smelling solution were then neutralized.
The experiment to treat hair into fertilizer served the purpose of turning it into a solution high with nitrogen (9000ppm), potassium, phosphorous, calcium, magnesium and sulphur. D. Girija asserted that on spraying ladyfinger with the solution in the form of foliar spray led to vigorous growth and early flowering in comparison to those treated with normal fertilizers. The experiment was done in the Olericulture field on the Vellanikkara campus of KAU.
The process of growing in plants need water, sunlight and nutrients like nitrogen. Although nitrogen is found in the atmosphere in abundance, it is not available in a form usable by the plants. Therefore, it consumes nitrogen in molecular form from soil. Therefore, to make any plant healthier a combination of nutrients must be supplied.
Dr. Rajendran said that the hair fertilizer in addition to being an organic substitute for chemical ones, also help in the management of discarded human hair. However, the process takes a long time since the hair takes time in decomposing. As an alternative, Dr. Rajendran said that the process could be done with other protein sources like animal fur, horns, hooves and feather. He reflected on the cost effectiveness of this process as well saying that it could be profitable business if harnessed properly. Similar experiments had been carried out in Mississippi State University as well. The scientist at MSU experimented on four kinds of plants, namely, lettuce, wormwood, yellow poppy and feverfew with four different treatments: non-composted hair cubes, a controlled-release fertilizer, a water-soluble fertilizer and no treatment. The findings showed that the yields in plants with hair fertilizer were higher than in plants with no treatment but they were still lower than chemical fertilizers.
Therefore, only further research will tell us about the viability of using hair fertilizer in edible crops