Survival, Weight, and Prolificacy of Eisenia fetida (Savigny 1826) in Relation to Food Type and Several Soil Parameters
Mădălina Iordache
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University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine of Banat King Michael the Ist of Romania,
Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Sustainable Development and Environmental Engineering,
119 Calea Aradului Street, 300645 Timişoara, Romania
Online publish date: 2017-11-10
Publish date: 2018-01-02
Submission date: 2017-04-23
Final revision date: 2017-06-12
Acceptance date: 2017-06-15
Pol. J. Environ. Stud. 2018;27(1):109–115
The management of plant wastes represents an issue to be solved as efficiently as possible. The main objectives of this study were to show that wastes like decomposed fruits of Solanum lycopersicum L. (tomato) can be managed by introducing them to the diet of the earthworm Eisenia fetida (Savigny 1826) (red wiggler worm), and to determine the relationship between this earthworm’s weight and prolificacy and several soil properties. The results of this three-month laboratory experiment revealed that the decomposed tomato fruits represent an adequate food for Eisenia fetida: no mortality was recorded; the soil containing earthworms fed with this food recorded statistically significant increases of pH (from 7.89 to 7.96, p<0.05), total nitrogen (from 0.21% to 0.24%, p<0.01, p<0.05), and available potassium (from 188.33 to 291 mg · kg-1, p<0.01, p<0.05) as compared to the soil containing earthworms not fed with tomatoes. A strong positive correlation between the weight of earthworms fed with tomatoes and the concentration of the available phosphorus of soil was found (Spearman and Kendall Correlations: p<0.01), along with a strong negative correlation between the weight of earthworms fed with tomatoe fruits and the concentration of the available potassium of soil (Spearman Correlation: p<0.01). A positive correlation was observed between the prolificacy of earthworms fed with fruits of tomatoes and the pH of the adjacent soil (Pearson Correlation: p = 0.052). In conclusion, Eisenia fetida tolerates very well the decomposed fruits of tomatoes as food, and its survival, weight, and prolificacy depend on it and on the analyzed soil parameters.