Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 1761–1769 | Cite as

Scanning electron microscopy for analysing maturity of compost/vermicompost from crop residue spiked with cattle dung, Azolla pinnata and Aspergillus terreus

  • Manveen Arora
  • Arvinder KaurEmail author
Research Article


Rice straw and wheat straw were mixed with cattle dung (C), Azolla pinnata (A) and Aspergillus terreus (F) and subjected to aerobic composting and vermicomposting. Eight different mixtures were made as R, RC, RA, RF, RCF, RCA, RFA and RCFA and W, WC, WF, WA, WCA, WCF, WFA and WCFA. Ratio of straw and cattle dung was kept as 2:1, and weight of cattle dung was reduced proportionally when Azolla (20 g) or fungus (20 ml) was added in a mixture. Surface structural morphology of the initial and final mixtures was analysed with SEM. Initial samples showed larger particle size with a coarse surface, less compaction and arrangement of biomass as a dense meshwork of lingo-cellulosic fibres. Final samples showed smaller particle size, compaction and several pores per unit area. Electron micrographs clearly show enhancement of degradation and better texture with the addition of fungus, Azolla or cattle dung to the straw. Azolla and cattle dung when added separately, enhanced degradation and compaction, but the mixtures with fungus showed degradation with no compaction. Maximum homogeneity and smallest particle size of RCFA and WCFA indicated that addition of Azolla and fungus along with cattle dungenhanced degradation of straw and enhancement was remarkably more when the mixtures were subjected to vermicomposting. This is a first report highlighting vermicomposting of the straw mixed with Azolla and fungus along with cattle dung for obtaining a better quality product suitable for agricultural use. Parallel variation in C/N ratio and nutrient profile of the mixtures show that SEM helps in determining maturity index of composts.


Aerobic composting Aspergillus terreus Azolla pinnata SEM Straw Vermicomposting 



The authors express their gratitude to the Department of Science and Technology Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research (INSPIRE) fellowship and UGC-SAP for financial assistance.


  1. Adamcova D, Vaverkova MD, Masicek T, Brouskova E (2016) Analysis of biodegrability of degradable/biodegradable plastic material in controlled composting environment. J Ecol Eng 17:1–10. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aggelides SM, Londra PA (2000) Effects of compost produced from town wastes and sewage sludge on the physical properties of a loamy and a clay soil. Bioresour Technol 71:253–259. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Arora DS, Sharma RK (2009) Enhancement in in vitro digestibility of wheat straw obtained from different geographical regions during solid state fermentation by white rot fungi. BioResources 4:909–920Google Scholar
  4. Bhat SA, Singh J, Vig AP (2015) Potential utilization of bagasse as feed material for earthworm Eisenia fetida and production of vermicompost. Springerplus 4:11. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Campitelli P, Velasco M, Ceppi S (2012) Characterization of humic acids derived from rabbit manure treated by composting-vermicomposting process. J Soil Sci Plant Nutr 12:875–891. Google Scholar
  6. Castaldi P, Alberti G, Merella R, Melis P (2005) Study of the organic matter evolution during municipal solid waste composting aimed at identifying suitable parameters for the evaluation of compost maturity. Waste Manag 25:209–213. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Das V, Satyanarayan S, Satyanarayan S (2017) Recycling of recalcitrant solid waste from herbal pharmaceutical industry through vermicomposting. Int J Environ Agric Biotechnol 2:1151–1161. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. El-Haddad ME, Zayed MS, El-Sayed GAM et al (2014) Evaluation of compost, vermicompost and their teas produced from rice straw as affected by addition of different supplements. Ann Agric Sci 59:243–251. Google Scholar
  9. Fan YT, Zhang YH, Zhang SF, Hou HW, Ren BZ (2006) Efficient conversion of wheat straw wastes into biohydrogen gas by cow dung compost. Bioresour Technol 97:500–505. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Gupta PK, Sahai S (2004) Residue burning in rice – wheat cropping system : causes and implications. N Y 87:1713–1717Google Scholar
  11. Hussain N, Abbasi T, Abbasi SA (2016) Vermiremediation of an invasive and pernicious weed salvinia (Salvinia molesta). Ecol Eng 91:432–440. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Iniguez G, Valadez A, Manriquez R, Moreno MV (2011) Utilization of by-products from the tequila industry. Part 10: characterization of different decomposition stages of Agave tequilana Webber bagasse using FTIR spectroscopy, thermogravimetric analysis and scanning electron microscopy. Rev Int Contam Ambient 27:61–74Google Scholar
  13. Ishak NF, Ahmad AL, Ismail S (2014) Feasibility of anaerobic co-composting empty fruit bunch with activated sludge from palm oil mill wastes for soil conditioner. J Phys Sci 25:77–92Google Scholar
  14. Jain N, Bhatia A, Pathak H (2014) Emission of air pollutants from crop residue burning in India. Aerosol Air Qual Res 14:422–430. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kaur A, Singh J, Vig AP, Dhaliwal SS, Rup PJ (2010) Cocomposting with and without Eisenia fetida for conversion of toxic paper mill sludge to a soil conditioner. Bioresour Technol 101:8192–8198. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kumar DS, Kumar PS, Rajendran NM et al (2014) Evaluation of vermicompost maturity using scanning electron microscopy and paper chromatography analysis. J Agric Food Chem 62:2738–2741. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Li X, Xing M, Yang J, Huang Z (2011) Compositional and functional features of humic acid-like fractions from vermicomposting of sewage sludge and cow dung. J Hazard Mater 185:740–748. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lim SL, Wu TY (2015) Determination of maturity in the vermicompost produced from palm oil mill effluent using spectroscopy, structural characterization and thermogravimetric analysis. Ecol Eng 84:515–519. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lim SL, Wu TY (2016) Characterization of matured vermicompost derived from valorization of palm oil mill byproduct. J Agric Food Chem 64:1761–1769. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lim SL, Wu TY, Sim EYS, Lim PN, Clarke C (2012) Biotransformation of rice husk into organic fertilizer through vermicomposting. Ecol Eng 41:60–64. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lim PN, Wu TY, Clarke C, Nik Daud NN (2015) A potential bioconversion of empty fruit bunches into organic fertilizer using Eudrilus eugeniae. Int J Environ Sci Technol 12:2533–2544. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Lim SL, Lee LH, Wu TY (2016) Sustainability of using composting and vermicomposting technologies for organic solid waste biotransformation: recent overview, greenhouse gases emissions and economic analysis. J Clean Prod 111:262–278. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Loow Y-L, New EK, Yang GH, Ang LY, Foo LYW, Wu TY (2017) Potential use of deep eutectic solvents to facilitate lignocellulosic biomass utilization and conversion. Cellulose 24:3591–3618. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Oades JM (1984) Soil organic matter and structural stability: mechanisms and implications for management. Plant Soil 76:319–337. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Rynk R (1992) On-farm composting handbook. Monogr Soc Res Child Dev 77:132. ACKNOWLEDGMENTSGoogle Scholar
  26. Soobhany N, Gunasee S, Rago YP, Joyram H, Raghoo P, Mohee R, Garg VK (2017) Spectroscopic, thermogravimetric and structural characterization analyses for comparing municipal solid waste composts and vermicomposts stability and maturity. Bioresour Technol 236:11–19. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Suthar S (2008) Bioconversion of post harvest crop residues and cattle shed manure into value-added products using earthworm Eudrilus eugeniae Kinberg. Ecol Eng 32:206–214. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Suthar S (2009) Bioremediation of agricultural wastes through vermicomposting. Bioremediat J 13:21–28. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Tiwana N., Jerath N, Ladhar S., et al (2007) State of Environment-Punjab. Punjab State Council for Science & Technology, 99: 243. ISBN:8188362-19-0. Available online at www.punenvis.nic.inGoogle Scholar
  30. Yi-wei Y, Azwady N, Aziz A, et al. (2012) Vermicomposting potential and plant nutrient contents in rice straw vermicast of Perionyx excavatus and Eudrilus eugeniae. Sci Res Essays 7:3639–3645. CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ZoologyGuru Nanak Dev UniversityAmritsarIndia

Personalised recommendations