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One man's waste: Companies harvest phosphorus from feces

Hitachi Zosen and Kubota see opportunity as China tightens fertilizer export

A rice field in Japan that uses phosphorus harvested from excrement. Phosphorus is a key chemical used as fertilizer. (Photo courtesy of the company)

OSAKA -- Supply chain risks are pushing companies to take a fresh look at materials they had previously discarded. One such trend is emerging in the world of phosphorus, which along with nitrogen and potassium is a critical component in fertilizers. 

Japanese manufacturers Hitachi Zosen and Kubota are both kicking off businesses that will extract phosphorus from pig and human waste.

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