Microbial community indigenous to the earthworm Eisenia foetida
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Microbial populations of the earthworm Eisenia foetida, their casts and farmyard manure (FYM) in which E. foetida had lived were enumerated with the dilution plate method using several media. The microbial community of earthworms appeared to be similar to that of the FYM in which they had lived, while that of earthworms starved in distilled water for 24 h greatly differed from that of the FYM. The community of the starved earthworms consisted exclusively (more than 90%) of fast growers, which were defined as those that formed their colonies within 2 days, unlike that of the FYM (10–30%). About 30 isolates were randomly chosen and some physiological properties were examined. The community of starved earthworms consisted exclusively of Gram-negative, oxidase-positive, fermentative bacteria, whereas bacteria from the FYM were much more diverse and there were no fermentative bacteria in the FYM. The predominant bacteria species of the starved earthworms were identified as Aeromonas hydrophila and considered to be indigenous to the earthworm E. foetida.
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