Thieu Custers used his hair and urine to grow crops.
“Urine is actually quite a potent fertilizer,” he explained. “So one part urine, fifty parts water and that’s all you need to grow these plants. It’s not that much.”
As a research project, Custers explored the concept of using the human body as a resource to produce materials by using his own bodily fluids as an alternative to fertilizer, which is traditionally made from cow feces. He specifically used sweat, urine, and hair as they contain nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium — all elements that can be beneficial to plant growth.
The process consisted of growing plants using a hydroponic system. Body fluids and hair were placed in the water while the plants sat at the top, receiving all the nutrients needed to grow.
Custers also created a sweat suit with sponges attached to his limbs to collect perspiration and turn it into salt that can be consumed. Once harvesting his crops, Custers used them to make a tiny salad, which he then fed to his professors for a final presentation.
“I think we have a real, sort of, prejudice feeling about all these materials,” he stated. “And they may not be the nicest. But I think we can really use them in a good way.”