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Investigating efficiency of Lampito mauritii (Kinberg) and Perionyx ceylanensis Michaelsen for vermicomposting of different types of organic substrates

Abstract

The vermicomposting ability of Lampito mauritii (Kinberg) and Perionyx ceylanensis Michaelsen was evaluated by using three different types of organic substrates such as leaf litter of Polyalthia longifolia, Pennisetum typhoides cobs (pearl millet) and a weed, Rottboellia exaltata (whole plant except the roots) in combination with cowdung (1:1). Vermicomposting studies (120 days) conducted to optimize the number of worms required for efficient conversion based on the reduction of C/N ratio, percentage decomposition of organic substrates, total number and biomass of earthworms recovered from the vermibed substrates clearly showed that vermibeds with 4 kg of organic materials can hold about 60–80 L. mauritii and about 90–120 P. ceylanensis for efficient decomposition. The percentage decomposition of each organic substrate treated with different numbers of L. mauritii (20, 40, 60, 80 and 100 earthworms) and P. ceylanensis (30, 60, 90, 120 and 150) showed significant difference (P < 0.001) between numbers of worms introduced per vermibed but the difference between substrates was not significant within the treatments. Vermicomposting resulted in significant increase in electrical conductivity (28.54–49.82%), total nitrogen (43.96–90.83%), total phosphorus (27.42–68.10%) and total potassium (27.42–113.18%), whereas decrease in organic carbon (35.05–49.74%), C/N ratio (55.48–73.18%) and C/P ratio (50.46–66.90%) in different vermibeds introduced with L. mauritii and P. ceylanensis. Both the earthworm species can be used for vermicomposting different organic substrates; however, duration of vermicomposting with P. ceylanensis is not as much of L. mauritii. The use of L. mauritii for vermicomposting of other substrates has been well established by other workers also but standardization of P. ceylanensis, a locally available species, for vermicomposting of different organic substrates is a new finding and the species could be useful for vermiconversion of organic substrates under local conditions.

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Acknowledgement

Authors are thankful to Dr.J.M. Julka, Solan, Himachal Pradesh, for the identification of the earthworms (Ref.: EI/3 dt. 12-03-1999 & 22-01-2000).

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Correspondence to Natchimuthu Karmegam.

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Karmegam, N., Daniel, T. Investigating efficiency of Lampito mauritii (Kinberg) and Perionyx ceylanensis Michaelsen for vermicomposting of different types of organic substrates. Environmentalist 29, 287–300 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10669-008-9195-z

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Keywords

  • Vermicomposting
  • Decomposition
  • Lampito mauritii
  • Perionyx ceylanensis
  • Worm biomass
  • C:N ratio