Biology and Fertility of Soils

, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 178–182 | Cite as

Microbial populations, enzyme activities and nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium enrichment in earthworm casts and in the surrounding soil of a pineapple plantation

  • S. C. Tiwari
  • B. K. Tiwari
  • R. R. Mishra


Total populations of bacteria and fungi, dehydrogenase activity (as a measure of total potential microbial activity), and urease and phosphatase activities were determined in earthworm casts and surrounding laterite soils planted to pineapple. The casts contained higher microbial populations and enzyme activities than the soil. Except for fungal populations, statistically significant (P = 0.05) increases were found in all other parameters. Microbial populations and enzyme activities showed similar temporal trends with higher values in spring and summer and lower values in winter. The earthworm casts contained higher amounts of N, P, K and organic C than the soil (P = 0.05). Selective feeding by earthworms on organically rich substrates, which break down during passage through the gut, is likely to be responsible for the higher microbial populations and greater enzyme activity in the casts.

Key words

Earthworm casts Bacteria Fungi N, P, K Organic C Dehydrogenase activity Urease activity Phosphatase activity 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. C. Tiwari
    • 1
  • B. K. Tiwari
    • 2
  • R. R. Mishra
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Botany, Mayurbhanj CampusNorth-Eastern Hill UniversityShillongIndia
  2. 2.Centre for Eco-developmentNorth-Eastern Hill UniversityShillongIndia

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