Next Article in Journal / Special Issue
Improving the Effectiveness of a Nutrient Removal System Composed of Microalgae and Daphnia by an Artificial Illumination
Previous Article in Journal / Special Issue
Sustainability of Water Reclamation: Long-Term Recharge with Reclaimed Wastewater Does Not Enhance Antibiotic Resistance in Sediment Bacteria
Sustainability 2014, 6(3), 1328-1345; doi:10.3390/su6031328
Article

History and Technology of Terra Preta Sanitation

1,* , 1
 and 2
1 Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development, ENEA, Water Resource Management Lab., via Martiri di Monte Sole 4, Bologna (BO) 40129, Italy 2 Women in Europe for a Common Future, WECF, St. Jakobsplatz 10, Munich 80331, Germany
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 12 December 2013 / Revised: 30 January 2014 / Accepted: 4 March 2014 / Published: 12 March 2014
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [2343 KB, uploaded 24 February 2015]   |   Browse Figures

Abstract

In order to reach the Millennium Development Goals for significantly reducing the number of people without access to adequate sanitation, new holistic concepts are needed focusing on economically feasible closed-loop ecological sanitation systems rather than on expensive end-of-pipe technologies. An analysis of a former civilization in the Amazon (nowadays Brazil) highlights the possibility to close the loop with a more sustainable lifestyle integrating soil fertility, food security, waste management, water protection and sanitation, renewable energy. Terra Preta do Indio is the anthropogenic black soil produced by ancient cultures through the conversion of bio-waste, fecal matter and charcoal into long-term fertile soils. These soils have maintained high amounts of organic carbon several thousand years after they were abandoned. Deriving from these concepts, Terra Preta Sanitation (TPS) has been re-developed and adopted. TPS includes urine diversion, addition of a charcoal mixture and is based on lactic-acid-fermentation with subsequent vermicomposting. Lacto-fermentation is a biological anaerobic process that generates a pre-stabilization of the mixture. The main advantage of lacto-fermentation is that no gas and no odor is produced. What makes it particularly interesting for in-house systems even in urban areas. Instead, vermicomposting is an aerobic decomposition process of the pre-digested materials by the combined action of earthworms and microorganisms. It transforms the carbon and nutrients into the deep black, fertile and stable soil that can be utilized in agriculture. No water, ventilation or external energy is required. Starting from ancient Amazonian civilizations traditional knowledge, the aim of this work is to present TPS systems adopted nowadays.
Keywords: biochar; ecosan; nutrient recovery; reuse; sustainability; terra preta; traditional knowledge biochar; ecosan; nutrient recovery; reuse; sustainability; terra preta; traditional knowledge
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Share & Cite This Article

Export to BibTeX |
EndNote


MDPI and ACS Style

De Gisi, S.; Petta, L.; Wendland, C. History and Technology of Terra Preta Sanitation. Sustainability 2014, 6, 1328-1345.

View more citation formats

Article Metrics

Comments

Citing Articles

[Return to top]
Sustainability EISSN 2071-1050 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert