ISSN 2344 – 1283, ISSN CD-ROM 2344 – 1291, ISSN ONLINE 2344 – 1305, ISSN-L 2344 – 1283


Published in Scientific Papers. Series "Journal of Young Scientist", Vol. 9
Written by Raluca Maria DINU, Aurelian IOAN, Irina Corina DRĂGAN, Florin Ionuț PITU

Using waste as a resource - this may be the definition of the concept of circular economy that we have tried to put into practice. The reuse and transformation of organic waste from the kitchen and garden can be transformed by biological and biotechnological processes in which microorganisms and decomposing worms are used. Composting is a microbial successional process which have progression in breakdown of substrates and the resulted product, work as a substrate for next successive population, whereas vermicomposting is a biotechnological process in which certain species of earthworms (Lumbricus spp. And Eisenia foetida) are used to enhance the process of waste degradation. It is a mesophilic process that comprises bacterial and fungal degradation with the help of earthworms; all of them are active at 10°C–32°C. Initial degradation takes place in the gut of the earthworm so it is a fast process. Earthworms are often called as friends of farmers because they convert waste into gold. The dominant phyla in vermicompost are dominant uncultured Acidobacteria, Chloroflexi, Bacterioides and Gemmatimonadetes. Highly active bacterial as well as fungal populations are found in compost and vermicompost. Vermicompost amendment helps plant soil sodicity and salinity and encourages multiplication of microbial biocontrol agents in disease suppressive soils and suppress a variety of diseases. Earthworms (phylum Annelida), usually red wigglers (Eisenia foetida) or European night crawlers (Eisenia hortensis), are used to compost organic materials, such as pig and cattle manure, agricultural and yard waste, and food waste (e.g., cafeteria, coffee shop, restaurant, and groceries). The worm castings result in organic fertilizer that can be applied to the land. The process of composting is usually odorless. There is a growing group of vermiculture enthusiasts and advocates within the organic food, locally produced food, and urban agricultural movements. The beneficial effects of earthworm feces and worm casts on crops have been known for more than a century, however, there has been a significant increase in applications of vermicompost in certain types of agriculture over the last decade because of the identification of specific plant growth–promoting properties. The technique of vermicomposting also helps to recycle plant material waste, municipal wastes and animal manure. The use of vermicompost is vital in sustainable agriculture since it is an inexpensive method of managing agricultural wastes, in particular. Vermicompost maintains a stable physical soil structure because of the presence of soil macropores and organo-mineral complexes that allows adequate porosity, good aeration, water holding capacity, microbial activity, balanced mineral nutrients, and colloidal buffering capacity. These properties are due to the presence of humic and fulvic acid. Biostimulatory effects can be obtained from vermicomposts, which can be utilized in agriculture and horticulture to replenish nutrients and improve plant resistance toward abiotic stresses. There are various formulations of vermicompost available in the commercial market such as their leachates (i.e., the liquid runoff that settles in or below the vermicompost), teas (vermicompost water extracts), and other extracts which are darkly colored, odorless, and rich in nutrients. This paper presents the results obtained in the research conducted for the case study included in the Bachelor's Thesis. All experiments underlying this study were performed in the laboratory of Ecology and Environmental Microbiology within the Faculty of Land Reclamation and Environmental Engineering within the U.S.A.M.V. Bucharest. In this paper we present the results obtained by testing the vermicompost we produced from organic household waste.

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