Vermicomposting of Vegetable Waste Amended with Different Sources of Agro-Industrial By-Product Using Lumbricus rubellus
Azizi Abu Bakar1,2, Syarifah Nurul Afzan Syed Mohd Gawi1, Noor Zalina Mahmood1,2, Noorlidah Abdullah1,2
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1Institute of Biological Sciences,
2Mushroom Research Center,
Faculty of Science, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Pol. J. Environ. Stud. 2014;23(5):1491–1498
Vermicomposting of vegetable waste (VW) spiked with multiple sources of agro-industrial waste was conducted in microcosms for 18 days of pre-composting and a subsequent 70 days (10 weeks) of vermicomposting by utilizing epigeic Lumbricus rubellus. Nutrient element and heavy metal content in vermicompost produced were evaluated by comparing with different agro-industrial waste as amended materials. Earthworm multiplication and growth showed the highest increment in 100% of spent mushroom compost (SMC) (+323.72% for biomass and +38.10% for number). Significant differences (P<0.05) between earthworm biomass and number was identified in treatment of 100% cow dung (CD), cow dung:vegetable waste I (CD:VW I), 100% of spent mushroom compost (SMC), and spent mushroom compost:vegetable waste I (SMC:VW I). The highest nutrient element i.e. N, P, and K content in vermicompost was paddy straw:vegetable waste II (PS:VW II) 1.37±0.040, 0.37±0.057, and 1.29±0.050 respectively and the lowest C:N ratio in cow dung:vegetable waste I (CD:VW I) (19.62±0.11), which indicates an advanced degree of compost maturity. Heavy metal, i.e. Cd, Cr, Pb, Cu, and Zn content in vermicompost from all vermibeds were lower compared to the compost limits set by the USA, European countries, and the Malaysian Recommended Site Screening Levels for Contaminated Land (SSLs). Thus, L. rubellus is feasible in bioconverting VW spiked with agroindustrial waste into vermicompost, and the product possesses agronomic potential as well as environmentally sounding in contrast to synthesized chemical fertilizer.