Human hair waste may be a viable option as fertilizer for edible crops
Retinal detachment, a condition that afflicts about 10,000 Americans each year, puts an individual at risk for vision loss or blindness. In a new study in the current issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, a leading ophthalmologist at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center writes, however, that a high probability of reattachment and visual improvement is
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Agricultural crop production relies on composted waste materials and byproducts, such as animal manure, municipal solid waste composts, and sewage sludge, as a necessary nutrient source.
Studies have shown that human hair, a readily available waste generated from barbershops and hair salons, combined with additional compost, is an additional nutrient source for crops. Although human hair has become commercially available to crop producers in the past couple years, it has not been proven to be an exclusive source of nutrients in greenhouse container production.
Vlatcho D. Zheljazkov, Juan L. Silva, Mandar Patel, Jelena Stojanovic, Youkai. Lu, Taejo Kim, and Thomas Horgan of Mississippi State University recently published a research study in HortTechnology designed to determine whether commercially available noncomposted hair waste cubes would support plant growth in horticulture crops as a sole source of nutrients.
The study compared the productivity of four crops: lettuce, wormwood, yellow poppy, and feverfew, grown in commercial growth medium using untreated control, noncomposted hair cubes at differing weights, a controlled-release fertilizer and a water-soluble fertilizer. Results showed that, with the addition of hair waste cubes, yields increased relative to the untreated control but were lower than yields in the inorganic treatments, suggesting that hair waste should not be used as a single source for fast-growing plants such as lettuce.
Zheljazkov suggests that, “once the degradation and mineralization of hair waste starts, it can provide sufficient nutrients to container-grown plants and ensure similar yields to those obtained with the commonly used fertilizers in horticulture. However, it takes time for the hair to start degrading and releasing nutrients, as is reflected in lower yields in the hair treatments relative to the inorganic fertilizers for lettuce and wormwood.”
Because of possible health concerns, further research is necessary to determine whether human hair waste is a viable option as fertilizer for edible crops.
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The global giant Unilever which specialises in home, personal care and foods products has promised women a new deodorant which will apparently slow down the growth of underarm hair. Unilever plans to launch the products in the UK next month which will be presented as both sprays and ‘roll-on’ deodorants under the names Sure
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Every day we all lose thousands and thousands of scalp hairs – men and women. New follicles grow in their place all the time so we don’t notice this hair loss, unless you are going bald. If this is the case, you are probably a man in the 25-40 year age group. Baldness affects men more
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