Technologies for recovery and reuse of plant nutrients from human excreta and domestic wastewater: a protocol for a systematic map and living evidence platform


Research and development on the recovery and reuse of nutrients found in human excreta and domestic wastewater has intensified over the past years, continuously producing new knowledge and technologies. However, research impact and knowledge transfer are limited. In particular, uptake and upscaling of new and innovative solutions in practice remain a key challenge. Achieving a more circular use of nutrients thus goes beyond technological innovation and will benefit from a synthesis of existing research being readily available to various stakeholders in the field. The aim of the systematic map and online evidence platform described in this protocol is threefold. First, to collate and summarise scientific research on technologies that facilitate the recovery and reuse of plant nutrients and organic matter found in human excreta and domestic and municipal wastewater. Second, to present this evidence in a way that can be easily navigated by stakeholders. Third, to report on new relevant research evidence to stakeholders as it becomes available.


Firstly, we will produce a baseline systematic map, which will consist of an extension of two previous related syntheses. In a next stage, with help of machine learning and other automation technologies, the baseline systematic map will be transformed into ‘living mode’ that allows for a continually updated evidence platform. The baseline systematic map searches will be performed in 4 bibliographic sources and Google Scholar. All searches will be performed in English. Coding and meta-data extraction will include bibliographic information, locations as well as the recovery and reuse pathways. The living mode will mostly rely on automation technologies in EPPI-Reviewer and the Microsoft Academic database. The new records will be automatically identified and ranked in terms of eligibility. Records above a certain ‘cut-off’ threshold will be manually screened for eligibility. The threshold will be devised based on the empirically informed machine learning model. The evidence from the baseline systematic map and living mode will be embedded in an online evidence platform that in an interactive manner allows stakeholders to visualise and explore the systematic map findings, including knowledge gaps and clusters.


Circular economy, Nitrogen, Nutrient recovery, Phosphorus, Resource recovery, Sewage

In progress