Asian Journal of Microbiology, Biotechnology & Environmental Sciences Paper

Vol 5 Issue 3, 2003; Page No.(307-371 )

PRODUCTION AND EVALUATION OF COMPOSTS AND VERMICOMPOSTS FROM SOLID ORGANIC WASTES

C. RAJESH, K. SREENIVASULU REDDY, M.V.S. NAIDU AND N. RAMAVATHARAM

Abstract

An experiment was conducted to investigate production and evaluation of composting and vermicomposting of solid organic wastes viz., kitchen waste, Celosia argen tea (weed) and sericulture litter using a mixed population of epigeal species of earthworms. During composting peak temperatures were attained between 12 and 16 days of starting of composting followed by a lowering of temperatures to an ambient range subsequently. ln the initial stages of composting the pH of the composting mass was medium to slightly acidic. There was no significant variation in moisture content among the treatments through out the composting period. Chemical Oxygen Demand (C.O.D.) values were high in the initial stages and finally decreased at the time of harvest irrespective of composting or vermicomposting. The initial C: N, C: P and C: S ratios of organic wastes came down due to composting with or without earthworms. The percentage reduction of these values was high in vermicomposting. The population and weight of worms were highest in sericulture litter followed by kitchen waste and Celosia argentea weed. Compost from sericulture litter was richer in macronutrients (N, P, K, Ca, Mg and S) and for each raw material, vermicompost was richer in these nutrients. The micronutrients contents of composts did not exhibit prominent variation among the raw materials. The final out turn of compost was highest from sericulture litter followed by kitchen waste and the lowest with Celosia argen tea weed. Microbial population viz., bacteria, fungi and actinomycetes and the activity of enzymes viz., urease, dehydrogenase and catalase were high in composts with earthworm activity compared to composts without earthworms.

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