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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

Resource recovery technologies as microbial risk barriers: towards safe use of excreta in agriculture based on hazard analysis and critical control point

Oishi, Wakana; Vinneras, Bjorn; Sano, Daisuke


Agricultural use of human excreta contributes to sustainable nutrient resource management. In contrast, resource recovery from human excreta is associated with the risk of infection by pathogenic microorganisms. The microbial risk associated with human excreta needs to be properly managed. Pathogen inactivation efficacy of resource recovery technologies should be evaluated so that individual resource recovery processes can be monitored as health risk barriers. To this end, we reviewed the sanitization potential of resource recovery technologies from human excreta and identified the monitoring parameters of hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP). We describe the inactivation of surrogate microorganisms in selected technologies in terms of the physicochemical conditions of matrices, different tolerances among surrogate microorganisms, and inactivation mechanisms. The estimated storage/operating time required to achieve the target log reduction values (LRVs) is shortened in thermal processes such as thermophilic storage, drying, composting, microwaving, and thermophilic digestion. In most processes, phage and helminth eggs were found to be appropriate indicators for conservative estimation. Finally, we argue that sanitization is congruent with decomposition of readily degradable organic matter and resource recovery. The barrier efficacy of resource recovery technologies should be validated using a pathogen inactivation kinetics model so that the exposure risk to infectious pathogens is sufficiently reduced through a reasonable combination of non-treatment and non-technical health risk barriers.

Published in

Environmental Science: Water Research & Technology
2023, Volume: 9, number: 4, pages: 1008–1029

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG6 Clean water and sanitation

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use

    Publication identifier


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