Ecology, Environment and Conservation Paper

Vol.03, Issue 01, 1997; Page No.(49-61)

PRODUCTION AND ENERGETICS OF EARTHWORM POPULATION (LAMPITO FFIAURITII, KINBERG) AND METABOLISM IN SOIL UNDER PAPER MILL WASTE WATER IRRIGATION

P.C. Mishra and Sunanda Sahoo

Abstract

The pulp and paper mills are regarded as heavy polluters of water because of large use of chemicals. The paper mill waste water is generally very alkaline and has high chemical and biological oxygen demand. A field study was undertaken to see the impact of paper mills waste water application on production and energetics of earthworm Lampito mauritii and on soil metabolism. The net annual tissue increment in control and 50% waste water treated plot was 1171.97 and 964.96 g dry weight/m2 respectively. Contribution to net primary production (NPP) by above ground biomass and below ground biomass were 83.5% and 16.5% in control and 80% and 20% in treated plot respectively. The ratio of net primary production and average plant biomass came to 2.81 and 1.99 in control and treated plot respectively indicating high turn-over of vegetation. The difference in population and biomass ofLampito mauritii between control and treated plots were not significant. Population biomass turnover were around 10.2 and 11.7 for control and treated plot respectively. A higher earthworm production of 207 KCal/m2/year and low mortality rate in the waste water treated plot indicates a favourable condition for earthworm growth and production. The production efficiency in the present study was found to be 51.95 and 67.16% in the control and treated plot with a respiratory energy loss of 36.88 and 51.54 KCal/m2/year respectively. The high production efficiency and low maintenance cost of L. mauritii population in the present investigation might be due to the favourable soil condition as the experiment was carried out in a controlled condition of soil moisture. The higher production efficiency of worms under 50% waste water irrigated plot than control is quite encouraging for future and disposal practice. The higher CO, evolution and dehydrogenase activity in treated plot indicates higher microbial activity.

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