Vermicomposting vs Composting


A decrease in the carbon from fulvic acids and an increase in the percentage of the carbon from humic acids were observed through the vermicomposting process; the latter was more marked at the end of the process when there was a higher and active earthworm population. Through vermicomposting the humic substances showed an increase of 40 to 60 percent which was higher than the value obtained for the composting process.

The results obtained with the germination test indicated that the initial mixtures were toxic, probably due to their elevated ammonium content, but this toxicity was gradually removed through the vermicomposting process. Differences regarding the possible effect of the earthworms were not detected since the germination percentages were very similar both at the first stages when the earthworm activity was low and at the end of the process when the earthworm populations were bigger. However, the results obtained for the germination index showed a beneficial effect of earthworms and the highest values of this index were recorded at the final stages of the process. The germination index was 65 to 70 percent higher in the treatments with earthworms than in the control (no earthworms).

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