Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 22, Issue 15, pp 11236–11254 | Cite as

Vermistabilization of sugar beet (Beta vulgaris L) waste produced from sugar factory using earthworm Eisenia fetida: Genotoxic assessment by Allium cepa test

  • Sartaj Ahmad Bhat
  • Jaswinder Singh
  • Adarsh Pal VigEmail author
Research Article


In the present study, sugar beet mud (SBM) and pulp (SBP) produced as a waste by-products of the sugar industry were mixed with cattle dung (CD) at different ratios on dry weight basis for vermicomposting with Eisenia fetida. Minimum mortality and highest population of worms were observed in 20:80 (SBM20) mixture of SBM and 10:90 (SBP10) ratios. However, increased percentages of wastes significantly affected the growth and fecundity of worms. Nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, sodium, increased from initial feed mixture to final products (i.e., vermicompost), while organic carbon (OC), C:N ratio and electrical conductivity (EC) declined in all the products of vermicomposting. Although there was an increase in the contents of all the heavy metals except copper, chromium, and iron in SBM, the contents were less than the international standards for compost which indicates that the vermicompost can be used in the fields without any ill effects on the soil. Allium cepa root chromosomal aberration assay was used to evaluate the genotoxicity of pre- and post-vermicomposted SBM to understand the effect of vermicomposting on the reduction of toxicity. Genotoxicity analysis of post-vermicomposted samples of SBM revealed 18–75 % decline in the aberration frequencies. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) was recorded to identify the changes in texture in the control and vermicomposted samples. The vermicomposted mixtures in the presence of earthworms confirm more numerous surface irregularities that prove to be good manure.


Vermicomposting Sugar beet waste Eisenia fetida Genotoxicity Scanning electron microscopy Allium cepa root chromosomal aberration assay 



Sartaj Ahmad Bhat is thankful to the UGC, New Delhi for the financial assistance in the form of UGC-BSR Fellowship and Department of Botanical and Environmental Sciences for necessary laboratory facilities.

Ethical statement

1. The manuscript has not been submitted to more than one journal for simultaneous consideration.

2. The manuscript has not been published previously (partly or in full),

3. A single study is not split up into several parts to increase the quantity of submissions and submitted to various journals or to one journal over time.

4. No data have been fabricated or manipulated (including images) to support our conclusions

5. Consent to submit has been received explicitly from all co-authors, as well as from the responsible authorities.

6. Authors whose names appear on the submission have contributed sufficiently to the scientific work and therefore share collective responsibility and accountability for the results.

Compliance with ethical standards

Eisenia fetida was used as an experimental animal in this study which was conducted in accordance with national and institutional guidelines for the protection of human and animal welfare.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sartaj Ahmad Bhat
    • 1
  • Jaswinder Singh
    • 2
  • Adarsh Pal Vig
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Botanical and Environmental SciencesGuru Nanak Dev UniversityAmritsarIndia
  2. 2.Department of ZoologyKhalsa CollegeAmritsarIndia

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