Less trouble at mill, thanks to earthworms

Jul 16, 2009

Waste from the textiles industry could with the assistance of earthworms and some animal manure become a rich compost for agriculture, according to a report in the International Journal of Environment and Pollution.

Most gardeners will tell you the earthworm is their best friend as it aerates the soil and helps break down compostable materials so releasing nutrients for improved plant growth. One particular species of earthworm, known as Eisenia foetida, thrives in rotting vegetation, compost, and manure. This species is grown commercially for composting because of their skills at converting organic waste into rich compost.

E. foetida is ambivalent about the source of organic matter it will vermicompost. It will wriggle its way through kitchen waste, animal manure, and many other materials. According to Vinod Garg, Renuka Gupta and Priya Kaushik of Guru Jambheshwar University of Science and Technology, in Haryana, India, say the red wrigglers could even be used to produce compost from the huge volumes of solid sludge produced by the textiles industry.

Sludge from the textiles industry is usually difficult to dispose of. Landfill and incineration are not viable options given environmental concerns and expense. As such, the industry in India is under pressure to find a sustainable and cost-effective alternative to disposal of industrial sludge.

Garg and colleagues have now tested vermicomposting of solid textile mill sludge that has been spiked with urine-free cow and horse dung, collected from local farms, in a six-month pilot-scale experiment using E. foetida.

The composting process changes the physical and chemical properties of the test mixtures significantly, the team found. The vermicomposts are much darker than the original materials and form compost-like, homogeneous mixture after just 180 days.

The team also found that the earthworms grow well in this manure-enhanced sludge. They lower the pH of the alkaline sludge, free up mineral ions, including potassium, decrease the ratio of carbon to nitrogen of the material, and boost the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus available for plant growth within a matter of weeks.

Source: Inderscience Publishers (news : web)

Explore further: Indians rally against climate change ahead of UN talks

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Coffee Grounds Perk up Compost Pile With Nitrogen

Jul 03, 2008

Coffee grounds can be an excellent addition to a compost pile. The grounds are relatively rich in nitrogen, providing bacteria the energy they need to turn organic matter into compost.

Recycled garden compost reduces phosphorus in soils

Jun 01, 2007

Broccoli, eggplant, cabbage and capsicum grown with compost made from recycled garden offcuts have produced equivalent yields to those cultivated by conventional farm practice, but without the subsequent build up of phosphorus.

Indoor Composting With NatureMill (w/Video)

Apr 22, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Many people throw out organic food waste. When I do this, I feel vaguely guilty, knowing I should probably compost it for my backyard garden. However, last time we tried to compost, the neighbors ...

New use for human hair

Dec 29, 2008

Agricultural crop production relies on composted waste materials and byproducts, such as animal manure, municipal solid waste composts, and sewage sludge, as a necessary nutrient source. Studies have shown that human hair, ...

Improving swine waste fertilizer

Jul 08, 2008

Swine production generates large amounts of waste. While this waste contains nutrients that may serve as fertilizer when applied to agricultural fields, the ratio of nutrients in the waste is different than what a crop requires.

Recommended for you

Green dream: Can UN summit revive climate issue?

16 hours ago

Five years ago, the environment movement was in its heyday as politicians, actors, rock stars and protestors demanded a looming UN summit brake the juggernaut of climate change.

Rio's Olympic golf course in legal bunker

Sep 18, 2014

The return of golf to the Olympics after what will be 112 years by the time Rio hosts South America's first Games in 2016 comes amid accusations environmental laws were got round to build the facility in ...

User comments : 0