From space to coffee: 10 ways to use excrement that people don’t know
The human body is a real processing plant, in the cycle of which defecation is a natural process. Although this process is repugnant, throughout history, people have found many different and very useful uses for excrement.
1. Traditional medicine
Long ago, people used exclusively traditional remedies to treat their ailments. They used plants, animals, magic, and many different minerals. Even today, many people still use a wide range of traditional medicine. For example, in China, tiger feces are one of the most important ingredients in traditional medicine and are used to treat boils, hemorrhoids, and alcoholism.
Also, human excrement, which is used in combination with licorice for the production of traditional medicine, was not ignored. About 80 percent of Africans also use traditional medicine, using the faeces of animals such as elephants, palm squirrels, chimpanzees, mongooses, civets, and cane rats to treat a range of problems (gonorrhea, infertility, and miscarriages), as well as for spiritual practices.
2. Modern medicine
Some modern treatments also involve the use of human faeces. For example, after infection with a bacterium called Clostridium, severe diarrhea, fever and blood in the stool begin. The only way to get rid of these nasty bacteria is to populate the intestines of an infected person with “good bacteria”, and this is done using the feces of a healthy person. This can be achieved through the use of colonoscopy, endoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, or enema. All these methods involve the use of some form of tube that delivers feces through the patient’s anus to the rectum.
3. Gold mining
People love gold, and it is not surprising that they are constantly looking for new ways to mine this precious metal. A team of researchers from the American chemical society found that human faeces can be a very good source of gold, along with other precious metals such as vanadium, silver, and copper, which are used in most electronics. At the same time, their concentration is high enough for the extraction of these metals to be commercially profitable. It has been estimated that waste from one million Americans may contain $ 13 million worth of metals.
4. The most important product
Back in the XVII century, there was a place where there was never a problem “where to put human excrement”. This place was Edo (modern Tokyo) in Japan. This refers to the time of the Tokugawa Shogunate (1603-1867), when any form of international trade between Japan and other countries was prohibited. As a result of this isolation, Japan became a self-sufficient economy in which it was very important to process literally everything possible, including human excrement. It was fecal matter that got the fanciful name “night soil” (so they were called, because fecal collectors preferred to work at night).
“Night soil” was collected from people’s homes and public toilets and delivered to farmers who were always willing to buy them for money or their products. Farmers then used the feces on their plots as fertilizer for growing crops. The importance of the “night soil” was such that landlords and tenants often fought each other over ownership of such a valuable commodity.
5. Sexual fetish
People-are engaged in bed joys not just for reproduction of posterity, as animals do. At the same time, people always try to make their intimate meetings as interesting as possible and sometimes resort to fetishes. And they are sometimes very strange. People can get turned on by a lot of things, and sometimes that thing is… feces. This is called “coprophilia”.
6. Archaeological research
One of the methods used in archaeology is to study the fossilized excrement of our ancestors. They even came up with a special name for them – “coprolites”. The study process involves extracting DNA samples from the coprolite after it has been pre-softened with a special solution. Unfortunately, this also returns its original smelly smell. But from these DNA samples, you can collect a lot of information, including information about the diet of our ancestors, their health, and even their gender. That is, with the help of fossilized feces, scientists will learn more about how ancient communities lived. This same method can also be used to learn more about extinct animals.
There are at least two cases where dog feces was used in court as evidence, leading to the conviction of criminals. In the first case, one Phillip Stroud, after a burglary and subsequent murder, entered dog faeces at the scene of the crime. In another case, Rufus Sito Nunes assaulted a 27-year-old woman at her home in Texas and raped her. In the yard, he also entered dog feces. It was the traces of feces on the shoes that became evidence.
8. Food and beverages
Such a concept as coprophagia is not a secret to anyone. Many animals eat feces or manure to improve the microbial flora of the gut, or even to partially meet their daily protein needs. But coprophagia is not limited to animals, it is also practiced by people. Sometimes this is done as a fetish or as a drink. For example, two popular coffees are made using animal excrement.
Kopi Luwak is made from civet feces, and black ivory is made from elephant feces. To be more precise, they make coffee from beans that were eaten by animals and then came out. Digestive enzymes of the animal thus affect the grains and change their protein structure. These coffees are among the most expensive in the world.
People have been using all sorts of things for centuries to try to kill each other. Even fecal matter was used as a weapon. According to the Greek historian Herodotus, the Scythians mixed human feces, blood, and the decomposing bodies of several venomous snakes in a vessel. The vessel was hermetically sealed and buried until the entire mixture was sufficiently decomposed. Then the vessel was opened and the ends of arrows that were used in battle were smeared with this mixture. During the Vietnam war the Viet Cong also used the faeces by covering them pointed pegs in the traps. This caused blood poisoning.
10. NASA and faeces
You could say that NASA is a bit obsessed with human excrement because the space Agency wants to use it as fuel, food, and even a radiation shield. Usually, astronauts ‘ feces are Packed and sent towards Earth so that they will burn up when they enter the atmosphere. However, NASA wants to find a use for this waste. One idea is that the feces of astronauts who will go to the moon in the future can be collected and converted into rocket fuel to return back to Earth. This will save a lot of money and reduce the weight of missiles leaving the Earth. The conversion process can also produce oxygen for astronauts.
The process of recycling astronauts ‘ urine into drinking water has already been used for some time, with NASA recently awarding a $ 200,000 grant to researchers at Clemson University in South Carolina to find a way to process human excrement into synthetic food. This” food ” will be used by astronauts on long flights or in a Martian colony. As for radiation, NASA plans to collect feces in bags, along with food and water.
All these bags will be stored around the walls of the ship, providing protection from radiation during long-distance space travel. Converting human and animal waste into biofuels is not a purely NASA interest. In 2014, Hyundai introduced a car powered by biogas derived from human excrement.