Academic Research

Influences of vermicomposts, produced by earthworms and microorganisms from cattle manure, food waste and paper waste, on the germination, growth and flowering of petunias in the greenhouse

Vermicomposts have been shown to promote the germination, growth, and yields of plants. This paper aims to demonstrate the effects of vermicomposts produced from three types of wastes on growth and flowering of petunias which are an important U.S. flowering crop.

Land Application of Biosolids 

Gregory K. Evanylo
Department of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences, Virginia Tech 

Biosolids can be considered as a waste or as a beneficial soil amendment. As an alternative to disposal by landfilling or incineration, land application recycles soil-enhancing constituents such as plant nutrients and organic matter. 

Embarking on a second green revolution for sustainable agriculture by vermiculture biotechnology using earthworms: Reviving the dreams of Sir Charles Darwin

Rajiv K. Sinha, Dalsukh Valani, Krunal Chauhan and Sunita Agarwal

Vermiculture biotechnology promises to usher in the ‘Second Green Revolution’ by completely replacing the destructive agro-chemicals which did more harm than good to both the farmers and their farmland...

The conversion of organic wastes into vermicomposts

The conversion of organic wastes into vermicomposts and vermicompost ‘teas’ which promote plant growth and suppress pests and diseases.

Clive A. Edwards*, Norman Q. Arancon*, Tse Chi Kai** and David Ellery**,  *Soil Ecology Laboratory, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA ** Sunburst Waste Management Technologies Ltd, Australia

Beneficial and biological active soil microorganism. 

Application of vermicast stimulates various beneficial and active soil organism in the soils. Of relevance for crop and fruit production are phosphorous solubilising bacteria, nitrogen-fixing bacteria (Azotobacter, Rhizobium, Nitrobacter) and actinomycetes and mycorrhizal fungi. 

Plant growth hormones research has shown that use of vermicast stimulates plant growth further, even when plants are already receiving ‘optimal nutrition’. Notable scientists have found plant growth promoting hormone in earthworm castings including auxins, cytokinins, and gibberlins (flowering hormone). These ‘hormones’ improves seed germination, seedling development and growth, and increases plant production and yields. In a way these hormones are ‘telling’ plants that there are plenty of worms and high-quality humus waiting for them and the plant responds with more and deeper roots and more flowers and fruits. 

Soil enzymes bacteria and enzymes in the vermicast such as lipase, cellulase, chitinase, and amylase help decomposing organic matter. Organically bound nutrients such as N and P are released. This happens when soils are warm and moist, exactly when plants are growing and require a consistent source of nutrients. Important soil enzymes like urease, acid and alkaline phosphatase, and dehydrogenase are produced by earthworms and help unlock the nutrients, making them plant available. This is the easiest way to make available some of the locked iron phosphate and calcium phosphate in your soil. 

Plant protector Beneficial microorganisms. 

Vermicast produces antibiotic compounds, actinomycetes and other metabolites that contribute to disease suppression. The mechanism of biological control by antibiotic compounds are effective in controlling various plant pathogens, a process known as antibiosis. Vermicast application decreases arthropods populations (aphids, mealy bugs, spider mites, buds, cabbage white caterpillar) and subsequently reduces plant damage. Farmers from Canada report reductions of several insect pests, which is explained in a production of the enzyme ‘chitinase’ that breaks down the chitin in insects’ exoskeleton. 

Disease suppressing effects on radish, grapes, tomatoes, strawberries, and peppers have been found by scientists. The disease suppressing effect disappears after sterilisation of vermicast giving evidence that the ‘microbial antagonism’ in the vermicast was the biological mechanism for the disease suppression.

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