In areas where conventional sewer systems are not possible, innovative and low-cost methods are needed to get rid of pathogens in human urine. Treatment through acidification is a reliable method. In this study, the effect of fresh cabbage waste, potato peel, and teff flour water as substrate for lactic acid treatment of source-separated urine was investigated. Laboratory scale batch experiments were conducted to compare the substrates for pH 4 and high distribution of lactic acid bacteria (LAB), important for urine hygienization and urea stabilization. It was found that with the addition of 10% molasses as a sugar supplement, fermentation of fresh cabbage waste could establish the desired effect for lactic acid treatment of source-separated urine. The final pH in the urine mixed with lactic acid in the ratio of 1:1 and 1:2 (lactic acid: urine) was 4.12 and 4.26, respectively. While the final pH in the 1:4 and control reactors was 8.3 and 9.2, respectively. Escherichia coli count was below the detection limit in both 1:1 and 1:2 reactors after 5 days, whereas the number of E. coli in the samples collected from 1:4 and control reactors showed only slight reduction until the final day of the treatment process. Urea decomposition improved in 1:1 and 1:2 reactors, while it kept increasing in 1:4 and control reactors. The results revealed that food waste produced lactic acid enhances pathogen inactivation, urea stabilization and reduce odors in human urine.
Key words: Lactic acid, odor control, pathogen inactivation, urea stabilization
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