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Utilization of Biodegradable Kitchen Waste

Utilization of Biodegradable Kitchen Waste

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Published by: alvin on Jan 18, 2010
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08/09/2010

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UTILIZATION OF BIODEGRADABLE KITCHEN WASTES INTO ORGANICFERTILIZER USING EARTHWORMS
(LUMBRICUS TERRESTRIS)
ABSTRACT
One of the effective means to at least lessen the occurrence of our present garbagedisposal problem is through the use of methods that are non-toxic, less expensive, lees-harmful, and yet equally effective. This project aims to provide for a natural and effectiveway of disposing garbage.During the experiment, kitchen wastes were collected. The materials wereshredded and placed in garbage bags with small holes. The temperature inside the bagswas allowed to lower.Three set-ups were prepared and were covered with plastic. The first boxcontained pure carabao manure, the second box contained 70 percent carabao manure and30 percent processed kitchen wastes and the third box contained pure processed kitchenwastes.
 Lumbricus terrestris
was placed in each set-up. The boxes were placed in alighted area while maintaining their moisture. After drying, the
 Lumbricus terrestris
weregathered. The resultant product, called “earthworm castings,” were then sun-dried and passed through a fine sieve to remove foreign materials.Results showed that the castings from kitchen wastes and manure was highest in percentage total nitrogen, third highest in percentage total P2O5, and highest in percentage and highest in percentage total K2O.It was concluded that organic kitchen wastes could be converted into acompetitive organic fertilizer using
 Lumbricus terrestris
. The organic fertilizer produced by using earthworms can compete in terms of nutrient contents with other organicfertilizers.
INTRODUCTION
A good alternative in solving our garbage problem is vermicomposing, the process in which organic wastes are decomposed naturally with the use of earthworms.This project focuses on the efficient decomposition of organic kitchen wastesusing
 Lumbricus terrestris
and converting these wastes into organic fertilizer that cancompete in terms of nutrient with other organic fertilizers.This project provides additional research material in using earthworms as agentsfor decomposition of organic wastes. It aims to provide better and simpler means of waste disposal while producing something useful –organic fertilizer.
 
This project only tested the macronutrient contents of the harvested earthwormcastings and compared them with those of other organic fertilizers. This proposal,however, did not include tests for macronutrient contents and other qualities of thecastings produced. Also, this proposal did not test whether different waste materials produce different nutrient content for the castings.
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
Vermicomposing is the culture of earthworms in a composting system. Theearthworms ingest organic matter as well as soil. As these materials pass through theearthworm’s body, they are mixed with digestive enzymes and reduced by the grindingaction within the animal. The organic matter comes out of the earthworms as castings thatcontain plant nutrients. To work well, the earthworms prefer a well-aerated but moisthabitat. They thrive well where farm manure or plant residues had been added to the soil.Most of them thrive best where the soil is not too acidic (Brandy, 1990).Apelhof, as cited by Blackgold Vericompost Manufacturing Corporation (BVMC,1987), reported that the
 Lumbricus terrestris
, one of the 3000 species of earthworms presently identified, caught the interest of agriculturist and other earth worm enthusiasts.The
 Lumbricus terrestris
or the African night crawler has a deep maroon shade, andmeasures from 4 to 12 inches in length.Composting produces essential nutrients for plant growth. These nutrients areclassified into macro and micronutrients. Relatively large amounts of macronutrients arerequired whereas micronutrients are required in small amounts only. These elements must be present in right proportions for when there is deficiency or excess of any element, thismay seriously affect plant growth. The plants would develop symptoms of starvation or toxicity. The macronutrients include nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Every livingcell contains nitrogen and its abundance leads to green, succulent growth. Phosphorusoccurs in the protoplasm, with its great concentration in seeds thereby increasing their  production. Potassium influences the uptake of other elements and affects bothrespiration and transpiration (Fitzpatrick, 1974).
METHODOLOGY
Kitchen wastes, composed mainly of vegetable and fruit peelings, were gathered,shredded, and placed in garbage bags with small holes. Temperature build-up inside the bags due to partial decomposition was measured and allowed to lower down for onemonth until three consecutive declining of temperature were achieved.Three set-ups measuring 15 x 18 inches were prepared and were covered with plastic. One box contained pure carabao manure, the other box contained 70 percentcarabao manure and 30 percent processed kitchen wastes and the last box contained pure processed kitchen wastes. About one hundred pieces of Lumbricus terrestris were placed
 
in each set-up. The boxes were placed in a lighted area to prevent the worms fromescaping since the worms are light sensitive. The set-ups were checked daily and wateredto keep moisture. Upon consumption of the contents of the boxes, as evidenced by theappearance of brown granular structures, the set-ups were spread on newspapers under the sunlight. The Lumbricus terrestris were gathered. The resultant product called“earthworm castings,” were then sun-dried and passed through fine sieve to removeforeign materials.A laboratory analysis on the macrocontent of the earthworm castings wasconducted by the Solis Department of the Sugar Regulatory Administration, La CarlotaCity, Negros Occidental. The nutrient contents were then compared with those of other organic fertilizers.
RESULTS AND DICUSSIONS
During the production of earthworm castings, the
 Lumbricus terrestris
placed inthe box, which contained pure processed kitchen waste, were found dead after one day.The death of the earthworms can be attributed to the acidity of the kitchen wastes. Asorganic matter decomposes, inorganic and organic acids are formed.Carbonic acid, sulfuric acid and nitric acid are some of the acid formed by theorganic decaying process. High concentrations of these acids may have caused the deathsof the earthworms in the set-up using pure kitchen wastes.Both the castings harvested from the set-up that contained pure manure and fromthe set up which contained mixture of manure and kitchen wastes were tested for their  Nitrogen-Phosphorus-Potassium micronutrient value. The results were compared withthose of other available fertilizers.
SOURCE TOTAL K2O %TOTAL N %TOTAL P205CASTINGS FROM 0.907 0.827 1.099KITCHEN WASTESAND MANURECASTINGS FROM 0.637 0.891 0.425MANURE ONLYKITCHEN WASTES 0.494 0.742 0.726WITH TRICHODERMAFARMER’S ORGANIC 0.794 1.626 0.958FERTILIZER

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