Fecal sludge-derived pellet fertilizer in maize cultivation

Surendra K. Pradhan*, Josiane Nikiema, Olufunke O. Cofie, Helvi Heinonen-Tanski, Pay Drechsel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Fecal sludge (FS) contains significant amounts of plant nutrients and organic matter although it also contains pathogens. Therefore, FS can be used as fertilizer after proper sanitization. This study was designed to test dried fecal sludge (DFS)-based pellet fertilizers on maize cultivation. The DFS fertilizers were produced by composting, co-composting with sawdust, or irradiated by gammairradiation, and then nitrogen-enriched and pelletized using gelatinized or gamma-irradiated cassava starch. These DFS pellet fertilizers were compared to each other and to no-fertilization, mineral fertilizer, and agro-industrial waste compost. The fertilizer applications were 150 or 210 kgN/ha. Maize was cultivated in pots containing Cambisol and Ferric Lixisol growth media. The EC-SDFS-PG pellet (DFS + sawdust co-composted, enriched with nitrogen and pelletized) at a rate of 210 kgN/ha produced the highest maize yield (4.4 ton/ha) among all other treatments, while mineral fertilizer produced 3.9 ton/ha. It is concluded that the EC-SDFS-PG pellet produces similar or higher maize yields than mineral fertilizer and more than the agro-industrial compost in both growth media types.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)474-481
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Water Sanitation and Hygiene for Development
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Fecal sludge
  • Fertilizer
  • Maize
  • Pellets
  • Sanitation

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