According to David Wishart, [PhD,] the senior scientist on the project, medical textbooks list anywhere from 50-100 chemical compounds in urine, and standard urine tests (like when you pee into a cup to test for drug use) only check for six or seven compounds.
There’s lots of potential reasons why we’d want to know exactly what’s going on in our urine; it can help us understand how our diet affects our waste management system, and how our bodies process food and liquid.
In this study, published in PLOS ONE, researchers used a variety of chemical analysis techniques to identify and quantify chemical compounds from the samples and reviewed more than 100 years of scientific literature on urine using data-mining computer techniques, according to a release. The chemical inventory resulting from the study can be found in the Urine Metabolome freely available electronic database.
The release notes that new urine-based diagnostic tests are already being developed for certain types of cancer, celiac disease, ulcerative colitis and more, potentially sparing a patient blood tests or more invasive procedures.
And a fun fact from the study:
The average adult generates between 1.5–2.0 liters of urine per day, which over the course of their lifetime would be enough to fill a small backyard swimming pool (5 X 8 X 1.5 m).