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Surendra S. Suthar*

Department of Zoology, Jai Narain Vyas University, Jodhpur - 342 001, India

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In this paper effort has been made to break down the guar gum industrial waste by using composting earthworm species Eudrilus eugeniae Kinb for 150 days. Guar gum industrial waste was mixed with other supplements in different ratios i.e. guar gum industrial waste + cow dung + saw dust ( 40 : 30 : 30) (T1), guar gum industrial waste + cow dung + saw dust ( 60 : 20 : 20) (T2), and guar gum industrial waste + cow dung + saw dust ( 75 : 15 : 10) (T3). In compare to control bedding all the three vermibeds (T1, T2, and T3) showed significant (P<0.001) increase for total nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium as well as decrease for organic carbon, C: N ratio, and C: P ratio after 150 days of composting by E. eugeniae. In both vermibeds i. e. T1 and T2 the fold increase in total nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium was greater. After completion of experiments the greater population of E. eugeniae was obtained in T2 vermibed, and it was about 29.9 % and 211.6 % greater than T1 and T2 vermibeds, respectively. Similarly the greater individual biomass was recorded in T2 treatments (15.7 % higher than initial value).


Industrial wastes, Earthworm, Vermicomposting, Eudrilus eugeniae


Much attention has been paid to evolve the low input basis eco-friendly technologies for industrial waste management. Million of tonnes of wastes generated every year in India and about 60 per cent of this comprised of biodegradable organic wastes. Now a day’s intensive research has been conducted on the potential use of earthworms in the stabilization of natural and anthropogenic wastes. Vermicomposting is the biodegradation and instabilisation of organic residues through the ingestion and egestion of earthworms. There has been extensive research into using earthworm to manage the various industrial wastes (Edwards, 1988; Kale, 1998; Ghatnekar, 1994; Butt, 1993; Elvira et al., 1997; Suthar, 2002). Elvira et al. (1997) and Butt (1993) demonstrated that solid paper mill sludge could be managed efficiently by using soil dwelling earthworms. Kale (1995) stated that vermicomposting is one of the alternatives devices for safe disposal of distillery wastes. Earthworms aerate, shred, grind and crush the organic material into valuable vermicompost. According to Kavian et al. (1998) waste produced from coir processing industries can be convert into valuable bio-fertilizer (vermicompost) through vermicomposting processes. Since, agro-industrial wastes are best candidate for transformation from expensive disposal problem to suitable vermistabilised humus for use in food production and reforestation. In this paper guar gum industrial waste was studies with respect to their biodegradation through vermicomposting by using composting earthworm Eudrilus eugeniae (Kinb).

Materials and Method

Earthworm and waste collection

Composting earthworm species Eudrilus eugeniae (Kinb.) of different age group originally obtained from Prof. R. D. Kale, Department of Zoology, University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore. For stock the earthworm was culture by using organic supplement. When sufficient size of E. eugeniae acquired the worms was used for experimentation.

Guar gum industry waste was collected from Rajasthan Guar gum industry, Basni Industrial Area, Jodhpur. The waste was screened and non-recyclable parts were removed. Some other supplements like saw dust and cow dung were mixed with guar gum industrial waste.


The plastic container (20 cm. ht., 28 cm diameter) were used for laboratory screening of guar gum industrial wastes. The guar gum industrial waste was mixed with other supplements like saw dust and cow dung in different ratios.

Chemical analysis

Organic carbon was determined following Walkley - Black method. Nitrogen was estimated by Microk-jeldhal method. Phosphorous was detected by using tecator model 5012 - auto analyzer. Potassium was determined after extracting the sample using ammonium acetate extractable method; analyzed by Perk Elmer model 3110 double beam atomic adsorption spectrophotometer.

Statistical analysis

Data were subjected to measure the significant difference between different treatments. Regression analysis and Pearson correlation coefficient was calculated between composting period and different chemical parameters of the vermibeds.

* P < 0.005

Results and Discussion

All Chemical parameters of bedding material show significant changes after inoculation of E.eugeniae. Generally vermiomposting process is characterized by measurement of the growth and reproduction of earthworms and/or determining different physico-chemical parameters, such as changes in C: N ratio, variations of available nutrients, or increase in humus substances (Elvira et al., 1997). As data indicates in all vermibeds organic carbon C: N ratio and C: P ratio decreased while total nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium increased significantly as compared to control beddings. There were positive correlation (P<0.001) between comporting period and nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium while negative (P<0.001) correlation with organic Burrows (1988) reported that amount of NO3 in cattle waste with earthworms were much greater than in those without earthworms. Earthworm enriches the vermibed with nitrogen through excretory products; mucous and even by decaying worm tissue after death. There have been similar reports by Vinceslas-Akpa and Loquet (1997). Present results are in accordance with previous workers. Similarly, phosphorus and potassium increased significantly (P<0.001) after 100 days of worm working in different bedding (Table 2).


Table 1: Correlation coefficient (Pearson) and regression coefficient between the vermicomposting duration and different characteristics of composting material


Table 2: Chemical characteristics of different bedding material. Each datum represents mean + SEm of three replicates

Vermicomposting process is considered in terms of earthworm biomass and population production. As data indicates population of E. eugeniae increased 108.35 and 170.0 %, respectively in vermibed T1 and T2 , while decreased 13.35 5 in T3 vermibed. Similarly earthworm biomass increased 5.45 % in T1 and 15.73 % in T2. As compare to its initial level the biomass in T3 treatment decreased up to 11.53 % (Table 4). The kind, availability and quality of food directly affect the survival, growth, and reproduction potential of earthworms (Graff, 1974; Hartenstein, et at.1979; Neuhauser et al. 1979; Kale et al., 1982). Frederickson and Knight (1988) observed that factors relating to the growth of E. fetida might also be considered in terms of physico-chemical and nutrient status of waste feed stock. The reproductive and growth pattern of E. eugeniae in different vermibeds during present study strong the previous reports that earthworm showed different growth patterns according to the nature of feeding material.


Table 3: Fold increase in nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium as well as times decrease in organic carbon, C : N ratio and C : P ratio in respect to control bedding material after 150 days of vermicomposting.

As our data indicates, the earthworm species showed good results in the term of increasing NPK in T2 bedding having the proportions of 60:20:20 of guar gum industrial waste, cow dung and saw dust, respectively. As compared to other two combinations, this combination was found to be the ideal combination for the highest fold incensement in NPK and times decrease in C: N and C: P ratio. It can be assume that nitrogen content, organic matter content as well as microbial population in this bedding provides better condition for earthworm as compared to other two. Since guar gum industrial waste contain high quantity of lignin and cellulose and the enzyme to digest these plant component are mainly produced by the symbiotic bacteria in earthworm gut. Lignin materials are decomposed by soil basidiomycetes and lignolytic bacteria that are slow degraders (Linderberg, 1947; Mikola, 1958; Garrett, 1963 and Soirenson, 1962). However these groups are found to establish well on worm cast and hence, the decomposition of lignin and cellulose is not a major cause Kale et al., (1988). T2 has good proportions of cow dung and saw dust in compare to other two, which acted as an ideal bedding for worm growth. Since guar gum industrial waste have very high quantity of nitrogen, so high proportions of nitrogen in bedding caused lethal effects on worm by proportions of nitrogen in bedding caused lethal effects on worm by producing toxic ammonia and it can be minimized by using materials having less amount of nitrogen like saw dust. Seenappa et al., (1995) studied the distillery waste management through E. eugeniae. They used the different proportions of wastes with other supplements like cattle dung and leaf litter. They found that more of the distillery sludge and less of cattle dung affected the worm drastically and it was observed that total volume of cow dung and leaf litter should be proportional to the total volume of distillery sludge and press mud to have positive effect on growth and production of worm. Hartenstein (1978) suggested that E. Kale, R. D., Bano, K., Sreenivasa, M. N., Vinayak, K. and Bagyaraj, D. J. 1988. Incidence of cellulolytic and lignolytic organisms in the earthworm worked soils; In: Proc. 10th Int. Soil Zool. Collq. Bangalore (G.K.Veeresh, D.Rajagopal and Virakthamath eds.)


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