15-year-old Mexican student wins prize in Canada for innovative fertilizer project
A Mexican student developed a fertilizer made with urine, and won the gold medal in the category of innovation in technology, during the Canada-Wide Science Festival.
Young Victor Reynoso Martinez won the prize for his “fertiorin tablets” project, consisting of a solid slow release fertilizer made from human urine.
“My work competed against 50 different juvenile science projects from several countries including Canada, Turkey and Australia, among others,” the student said in an interview to the Information Agency of the National Council of Science and Technology (Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología: CONACYT).
Reynoso Martinez, 15, said the idea for this innovative product came about because there is a potatoes orchard near his house and one day he saw the owners irrigating it with wastewater and fertilizing the earth with animal feces.
“I said, ‘Yuck,’ I would not eat that. But then I started to investigate and found that urine fertilizer has great power, I also learned that fertilizer tablets could be based on different substances and decided to use human urine “, Víctor continued.
“The tablets I developed are made up five percent of urine”, said the young man who attends to Colegio Jean Piaget high school, located in Tultitlan, State of Mexico.
The student explained the product releases chemical elements like nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium whenever the plant needs them; one tablet can last up to six months.
The tablet was tested with positive results in the cultivation of potato, bean and kidney bean at Reynoso Martinez’s high school.
The young man said that currently, one kilo of fertilizer costs between 150 and 200 pesos ($8 to 10 USD), while one kilo of his product has a cost of about 15 pesos (80 cents US). “The idea is to make a product that is available to all people at a reasonable price”, Víctor stated.
Regarding his experience in the competition, the student said he thought it would be easier, but the competition was very fierce. “They presented many interesting projects. Some of the big lessons I learned is that I have to trust myself, aspire big and always make an extra effort”.
Reynoso Martínez stated that traveling to Canada allowed him to know another culture, but also helped him to appreciate even more all social, cultural, scientific and technological riches that exist in Mexico.
“Canada is at another level, but Mexico is not far from that; in Mexico there is also quality to compete against any other country in the world, people just have to get down and work together for a common goal,” Víctor said.