E-Journal Bonus Article: Human Waste as a Tool in Biogeochemical Surveys From Mangampeta Barite Mining Area, Kadapa District, Andhra Pradesh, India


Biogeochemical interactions between humans and their surrounding environment were studied through fecal material and urine of mine laborers at the Mangampeta barite mining area in India. For the purpose of comparison, feces and urine were also collected from males of Sri Venkateswara University campus at Tirupati. Ten trace elements were analyzed by atomic absorption spectroscopy on ash weight basis. Barium, nickel, chromium, and cadmium were found to be 3 times higher in feces of men at Mangampeta than of men at Tirupati. Cobalt was also found to be marginally higher in the feces of men at Mangampeta than men at Tirupati. Barium and chromium were absent in the urine of men at Tirupati, and strontium, zinc, cobalt, and nickel were 1.5 times higher in the urine of men at Mangampeta than men at Tirupati. Heavy metals, namely copper, lead, zinc, manganese, and strontium, in feces and lead and manganese in urine of men at Tirupati were higher than men at Mangampeta. In contrast to the Western world, people in rural areas of India derive their dietary materials from their surrounding habitat. Therefore, fecal material and the urine of human beings from rural areas can be used as tools in biogeochemical surveys, as these waste materials reflect their immediate geochemical environment.

Speaker / Author: 
Vangeepuram Raghu, MSc, PhD
Month Year: 
May 2016
Page #: 
Publication Month: 
May 2016