Vermicomposting of green Eucalyptus leaf litter by Eisenia foetida and Eudrilus eugenia

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International Journal of Environment, Agriculture and Biotechnology (IJEAB) Vol-2, Issue-6, Nov-Dec- 2017 ISSN: 2456-1878 Page | 2811
Vermicomposting of green Eucalyptus leaf litter
by Eisenia foetida and Eudrilus eugenia
Miss. Ritu Nagar1*, Dr. Anurag Titov2, Dr. Praveesh Bhati3
1,2Department of Botany, Govt. Madhav Science PG College,Ujjain,(M.P.)India.
3Department of Microbiology, Govt. Madhav Science PG College,Ujjain,(M.P.),India.
*corresponding author
Abstract Effective clearance of different types of waste
has b ecome sign ificant to sustain healthy environment.
Vermicomposting has become a suitable substitute for the
safe, hygienic and cost effective disposal of organic solid
wastes. Earthworms decompose o rganic waste leading to
the production o f compost which is high in nutrient
content. The present work has been designed to reveal
competitive and / or beneficial interaction s by studying
the inter-specific interactions in terms of growth,
maturation, survival and vermicomposting efficiency of
two earthworm species Eisenia foetida and Eudrilus
eugenia expo sed to green leaf litter of Eucalyptus and
measured physical variables during entire process. The
complete pro cess was taken fourteen weeks. Work was
done in plastic beans in four sets. 100 % cattle dung was
also taken as a control. During the process following
parameters viz. pH, temperature, biomass reduction and
moisture content were analysed. pH of vermicomposting
substrate was recorded low initially acidic but at last
stage set in alkaline range. In case of temperature, it was
changed 16-18°C ± 1°C from initial value. This was
higher than control cattle dung (13°C± 1°C). Organic
biomass was also depleted during process wh ich was
about 70-71 % ±1 % from initial level as compaired to
cattle dung (46 %). Moisture content was lower initially
then increased and set at high level.
Keywords Vermicompost, earthworm, Eucalyptus, leaf
litter, physical parameters.
Generation o f the substantial quantity of leaf litter
produced by trees growing in the forests, sideways the
roads, rail lines, in the garden as well as in farm has
always been problem. Improper management of these leaf
waste such as burning, dumping in public place etc. has
detoriate the health and environment. Sustainable
remediation pr actices ca n only way to resolve this
problem (Tilman et al., 2002).
Vermicomposting is an important practice of sustainable
remediation, which has been used in many countries and
product that obtained by this process called
vermicompost. It is rich in plant nutrients. Vermicompost
is a microbiologically active organic material formed
from the interactions between earthworms and different
type of microorganisms (Domínguez, 2004).Through the
vermicomposting process, environmental risk of leaf
waste material reduces b y transforming into a safer and
more stable product suitable for application to soil
(Lazcano et al., 2008), and also reduces the tran sportation
costs becau se o f the sig nificant red uction in the water
content of the ra w organic matter. Co mposted materials
are therefore gaining acceptance as organic fertilizers in
sustainable agriculture, and there has been a considerable
increase in research dedicated to the study of the effects
of compost-like materials on soil pro perties and plant
growth. Vermicompost production have been ever
reported from leaf of different plant such as saw dust,
paddy straw and wheat st raw (Indraj eet and Singh
2010),Sugarcane leaf (Alagesan and Dheeba,2010),
Ashoka tree lea f litter (Polyalthialongifolia), Teak tree
leaves litter (Tectonagra ndis) and Neem tree leaf litter
(Azadirachtaindica) (, 2010),Tendu leaf
litter (Mushan and Rao,2012), Mango and Guava lea f
(, 2013), Rubber leaf litter (Nath and
Chaudhuri,2014;), Teak leaf litter (Nagalakshmi and
Prakash 2016) etc.
We studied the vermicomposting of Eucalyptus leaf litter
with two different species of earthworms i.e. Eisenia
foetida and Eudrilus eugenia. Eucalyptus globulus was
discovered on the island of Tasmania in 1792 by French
explorers and was one of the first eucalypt species to be
formally described. Eucalyptus belongs to the Myraceae
family in the world, including more than 740 species. It is
a long tree to a height of 35 to 40 meters, but it grows to a
height fro m 80 to 100 meters in most of the country.
Eucalyptus species is remarkable for their rapid growth.
Nearly all Eucalyptus is evergreen but some tropical
species lose their leaves at the end of the dry season
(Kumar and Sahoo, 2011). Although leaf litters provided
shelter and food to the terrestrial life and when it
undergoes decomposition to produce nutrients that
nourishes the soil. Eucalyptus litter has often been cited as
of poor quality and slow breakdown rate (Boulton, 1991),
characteristics which are linked to its high con tent of
International Journal of Environment, Agriculture and Biotechnology (IJEAB) Vol-2, Issue-6, Nov-Dec- 2017 ISSN: 2456-1878 Page | 2812
phenolic and tannins, and to its waxy cuticles (Bunn,
1988a; Campbell, 1992; Bä, 1995).
However, this genus has hundreds of different species
growing in a wide variety of climatic and edaphic
conditions, and showing broad differences in litter texture
and composition (Mitchell, 1988). These disparities also
show effects on composting of organic biomass (Graciano
et al. 2005). The first of these st udies suggested that
breakdown of low quality leaves such as eucalyptus was
mainly increased by concentrations of dissolved nitrogen
and phosphor us (P ozo, 1993).Briones & Ineson (1996)
also observed that the mass loss of Eucalyptus glo bulus
increases when it mixed with Betula pendula.
In present investigation leaf litter of Eucalyptus sp. Mixed
with cattle dung and allowed to vermicomposting. During
the process physical parameters were also analysed.
2.1 Collection of plant leaves and cattle dung:
In present experiment cattle dung was collected from
cattle houses in large-sized rectangular plastic p ot
containers and was brought to vermicomposting unit,
Govt. Madhav Science College Ujjain. Eudrilus eugeniae
and Eisenia foetida equally used in this study were
obtained from vermiculture centre of Govt. Madhav
Science College, Ujjain (M.P.) (Shouche 2011).
The leaf litter of Eucalyptus (Eu calyptus globulus) was
used as a substrate was collected at random from the
College campus of Govt. Madhav Science P.G. College,
Ujjain (M.P).
2.2 Preparation for vermicomposting:
Collected leaf wastes were chopped into small pieces. The
chopped waste was mixed with cattle dung in 50: 50
ratios. Control of bot h cattle dung (100 %) and leaf litter
(100 %) was also taken for study.
Before chopping
After chopping
Fig.1: Green Eucalyptus leaf used in experiment.
2.3 Process of vermicomposting:
Vermicomposting process was done in plastic container.
Mixture was prepared and kept in bins (p lastic container)
and were kept in ver micomposting room. The windrow
compost method was used which composting materials
was not covered and ventilation was not provided with
pipes. Waste materials were agitated or turned on a
regular basis for enhances passive aeration (NRAES,
1992). Bins were sprinkled with distilled water after
turning it upside down to maintain high moisture content.
The waste was pre-decomposed for fifteen da ys prior
adding of earthworms. Twenty earthworms (E. eugeniae
and E .foetida) were added in each composting bins
(Singh the surface appear black granular
indicated vermicomposting process almost completed. At
this stage Watering was stopped before seven days of
harvest. Prepared vermicompost was stacked so that the
earthworms settle at bottom and the vermicompost was
collected from the top without disturbing the bottom
layers. The harvested vermicompost was filtered through
fine sieve in order to get fine uniform vermicompost.
2.4 Measurement of physical parameters:
During vermicomposting of green Eucalyptus leaf litters
some physical variables viz. pH, temperature, biomass
reduction and moisture changes were measured.
Determination of pH was done by a digital pH meter,
electrical conductivity by a conductivity meter using 1:10
(w/v) vermicompost-water (double distilled) suspension.
(, 2005; Munnoli and Bhosle,2009).
Temperature was take n with t he help o f Mercury
thermometer at the depth of 10 cm from two different
sites and their mean value was taken in centigrade
( 2011).Biomass reduction was measured
with the help of scale in centimetre. For moisture
measurement, 5 gm. sample was taken, and then kept it in
incubator for 24 hrs. at 105°C. After drying, dry weight
was taken and on that basis percentage of moisture was
determined (Fairey, 2002)
International Journal of Environment, Agriculture and Biotechnology (IJEAB) Vol-2, Issue-6, Nov-Dec- 2017 ISSN: 2456-1878 Page | 2813
Fig.2: Different stages of vermicomposting of green Eucalyptus leaf.
Most of the organic wastes when subjected to the feeding
by earthworm also involve microorganisms then it
converted into blackis h p owdery form called
vermicompost. In present investigation leaf litter of
Eucalyptus was used as organic substrate separately or
with cattle dung in 50:50 ratios. During vermicomposting
physical variables were also measured.