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I've been thinking about food supplies, waste management and sustainable living, particularly in highly isolated areas like a Mars colony or a space station, or also in a non-technically advanced situation like urban survival during a major emergency.

One of the major things preventing human urine from being drinkable is the prescence of urea.

An adult supposedly excretes 25 grams of urea per day.

What chemicals (and in what quantities) would be needed to turn this amount of human urea into:

  1. a non-toxic, but non-nutritional ingestible substance?
  2. a nutritional substance?

I am thinking specifically about how to simply add a tablet/capsule to urine and having a nutritionally viable drink within 60 seconds or so.

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  • $\begingroup$ In a space station you should just distill away the urea. $\endgroup$ – DHMO Sep 5 '16 at 21:12
  • $\begingroup$ Ok, what about in a non-technically advanced situation like urban survival during a large scale emergency? $\endgroup$ – Thom Blair III Sep 5 '16 at 21:13
  • $\begingroup$ Urea could well be used as a fertilizer to enrich soil with nitrogen, and as such would technically count as a low-tech but long route for turning urea into nutritional substances. $\endgroup$ – Nicolau Saker Neto Sep 5 '16 at 21:54
  • $\begingroup$ True, but my question is about how to simply add a tablet/capsule to urine and having a nutritionally viable drink within 60 seconds or so. $\endgroup$ – Thom Blair III Sep 5 '16 at 21:58
  • $\begingroup$ It won't work as a water supplement: urine is salty and contains other dissolved solids (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urine). The osmotic pressure would actually remove water from the body. However, urine is not intrinsically poisonous, though it may contain bacteria and viruses that should be killed (e.g. by heating). $\endgroup$ – DrMoishe Pippik Sep 7 '16 at 23:52

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