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Study of Earthworm Compost in

Fukushima
I Made Agus Dwi GINARTHA

Master Double Degree Program
Regional and Environmental Science
Ibaraki University-Udayana University
Udayana University
Introduction
Nuclear accident on March 11, 2011,
caused widespread radiocesium (Cs-134
and Cs-137) contamination of farmlands,
mainly in the eastern part of Japan,
especially in Fukushima.
Utilization of leaf molds was limited
because showed contain high Cesium
contamination
Vegetables waste is a great source
become compost material, because
contain high nutrient and low Cesium
contamination
Vermicomposting could be appropriate
technologies to produce organic fertilizer,
primarily owing to its low cost and
applicable in Fukushima.
Research Objectives
Optimization Vegetable
Waste Vermicomposting
in Fukushima
Earthworm Dynamics
and Nutrient
Mineralization during
Vermicomposting
Potential of
Vermicompost Combine
with DSE as Bio-fertilizer
to Increase Crop
Production under
Greenhouse Cultivation
Optimization Vegetable Waste
Vermicomposting in Fukushima
Investigated
fundamental factors
(EC, moisture, temp)
System dynamics of
vermicomposting
Appropriate
management of
vermicomposting
Materials and
Methods
Earthworm compost reactor was assembled in a greenhouse of
farmer since February 2013 until February 2014
The content of vermicompost reactor from bottom-to-up layer
were wood chip (Japanese cedar), cow manure, initial
vermicompost (Eisenia fetida), and vegetable residue, respectively

In addition, there were soil heater establish in composting box to
ensure the activity of earthworms during winter season
100 mm
100 mm
200 mm
Earthworm population was counted manually by
sampling 10 times with 30 cm (d=13.4 cm) core
sampling since March 2013 until February 2014

EC, moisture, and temperature data during
vermicomposting process in the reactor was
obtained from Decagon 5TE (EM50) which was
placed in 2.5 cm, 5 cm, 7.5 cm and 15 cm depth
from the surface.

2 mm mesh litter bag 10 10 cm in size,
containing a mixture of vegetable waste, was
placed on the surface layer of vermicompost
reactor (10 cm from the surface) with three
replicates, and was analysis during 2 weeks with
decay model of litter bag decomposition to
obtained the decomposition rate

Materials and
Methods
Vegetable waste input
Vegetable waste in this research was obtained
from Delica Food Company in Date city,

Fresh weight of Daily vegetable waste input
was measured by farmer in Fukushima
0
100
200
300
400
500
600
700
V
e
g
e
t
a
b
l
e

w
a
s
t
e

i
n
p
u
t

(
k
g
)

time (day)
leaf
root
onion
Materials and
Methods
Statistical analysis
Correlation analysis
Significance
Coefficient correlation

Linear regression analysis
Linear regression model
Scatter plot

System dynamics model
System thinking
Simulation
Materials and
Methods
Correlation between each variables

Variable Remain
(kg)
input rate
(kg/day)
moisture
(%)
EC
(mS/cm)
Temperature
(
o
C)
Earthworm
Population
population
growth
/day
growth rate
percentage
(%/day)

Remain(kg)
- 0.999
***
0.907
***
0.534 0.043 -0.597 -0.63
*
-0.723
**

input rate (kg/day) - 0.912
***
0.55 0.016 -0.573 -0.64
*
-0.73
**

moisture (%)

- 0.667
*
-0.009 -0.391 -0.75
**
-0.778
**

EC (mS/cm)

- -0.177 0.022 -0.28 -0.336
Temperature

- -0.527 0.07 0.204
e. population

- 0.4 0.28
Population
growth/day
- 0.868
***

growth rate percentage (%/day)

-
RESULT
0
20
40
60
80
100
120
0
50
100
150
200
250
300
350
400
450
500
1 3 5 7 9 11 13 15 17 19 21 23 25 27 29 31 33 35 37 39
M
o
i
s
t
u
r
e

(
%
)

i
n
p
u
t

(
k
g
)

week
We found out that inputs were firstly decomposed, and then the
remains of that process would accumulate and influenced the
changes of moisture during vermicomposting
RESULT
Comparison between changes of input
with moisture content dynamics
System dynamics of Vermicomposting
RESULT
Earthworm
population
Remaining
accumulation
Vegetable waste input
Moisture
Feeding activities
decomposition
RESULT
Model formula and interpretation
Variables of Model Interpretation Formula Unit
Input Average of daily vegetable waste input
amount during vermicomposting (i)
=


kg/day
remain Remaining or rest of the
vermicomposting process and the fresh
input at the present time that not yet
decompose (RA)
=

+(

)

Kg
Estimated moisture Moisture content during
vermicomposting, the result of Decagon
5TE machine
MD =1E07(RA)
3
+ 0.0002(RA)
2
+ 0.022(RA)

%
Estimated
population growth
Estimated of delta population per 40 m
2

based on the sampling time (EPG)
=

0

(0.0028MD
2
) + (0.2902MD) 6.0145
100

Earthworm
/55 m
2

Initial Population Earthworm population per 40 m
2
in the
reactor before adding the vegetable waste
input (P
0
)
- Earthworm
/55 m
2

Earthworm
population
Earthworm population per 40 m
2
in the
reactor at the present time (Pt)

=
0
+ Earthworm
/55 m
2


Simulation and Accuracy
Simulation Accuracy test
R = 0.8304
0
50000
100000
150000
200000
250000
300000
350000
0 20000 40000 60000 80000
P
r
e
d
i
c
t
e
d

e
a
r
t
h
w
o
r
m

p
o
p
u
l
a
t
i
o
n

Observed earthworm population
The accuracy of EPG model was obtained high (R
2
= 0.8304).

We found out that the optimum moisture content of this study was 51 % that was used
53174 earthworms.55m
-2
as initial earthworm population, with vegetable waste input rate
should adjusted 410 kg/55m
2
/day

0
5000
10000
15000
20000
25000
30000
35000
40000
45000
50000
55000
60000
65000
0
7
0
1
4
0
2
1
0
2
8
0
3
5
0
4
2
0
4
9
0
5
6
0
6
3
0
7
0
0
e
a
r
t
h
w
o
r
m

.
5
5
m
-
2

daily input (kg/day/55m2)
RESULT
Earthworm Dynamics and Nutrient
Mineralization during Vermicomposting

Earthworm
dynamics
Microbial activity
Nutrient
mineralization
Cesium
contamination
Materials and
Methods
Earthworm population was counted manually by
sampling with 30 cm (d=13.4 cm) core sampling,
six points in the reactor that distinguished
different time of input the vegetable waste and
divided became four layers (0-2.5 cm, 2.5-7.5 cm,
7.5-15 cm and 15-20 cm)
Earthworm biomass was observed by measured
the weight of earthworms in each depth
Sampling time in this study
conducted 5 times since May
2013 until February 2014
Earthworm population and
biomass measurement
Materials and
Methods
Adjust the water
content of the
samples until 30%
Make glucose and
antibiotic solution
and sterilize by
autoclave
Mix the sample
with glucose and
antibiotics, Put into
200 mL flask and
sealed with rubber
Measure microbes
respiration by gas
chromatography
Inject the gas that
took from the
sample by syringe
Microbial biomass-C measurement
(SIR method)
Nutrient content
measurement
Materials and
Methods
0.2 g dry sample was measured and put into
Kjeldhal tube and mix with 5 ml nitric acid, 2
ml perchloric acid, and 1 ml sulfuric acid. The
solution was heat by Buchi-426 Digestion Unit
Make extraction of the
samples that mixed with
chemical to release
nutrient content
Kjeldhlal method
Exchangeable nutrient
Cesium and C/N ratio
measurement
Materials and
Methods
The samples should be oven dry and measured the
water content. Then the cesium contamination of the
samples was determined by cesium measurement
using Germanium semiconductor machine
Total carbon (C) and total nitrogen (N) was measured
by C/N analyzer machine. 200-400 mg dry oven
samples were measured and then analyzed using C/N
ratio measurement machine (JM3000CN)
Type of WC Dry samples Wet samples
Vegetable waste (%) Cs134
(Bq/kg)
Cs137
(Bq/kg)
Cs134
(Bq/kg)
Cs137
(Bq/kg)

Lettuce 95 7.67 2.14 6.65 2.10 0.38 0.11 0.33 0.10

Radish 95 1.10 1.54 6.08 1.32 0.06 0.08 0.30 0.07

Radish + carrot 95 1.10 1.54 7.03 1.94 0.06 0.08 0.35 0.10

Initial
vermicompost
- 24 - 31 41 - 44

Cow manure - 14 - 21 31 - 43

Woodchip - 0.74 3.26

Chemical properties, radio-cesium (Cs)
contamination of vegetable wastes and
radiocesium (Cs) contamination
Type of vegetable
wastes
Water
content
(%)
C (%) N (%) Ca (%) Mg (%) K (%) P (%)
Lettuce 95
39.48 3.89
3.17 0.58 3.73
1.50
Radish 95
42.24 3.18
3.18 0.57 3.21
1.053
Radish + carrots 95
40.58 3.32
3.03 0.63 3.93
1.75
Materials and
Methods
Earthworm dynamics influenced
by season
We obtained that earthworm activity especially feeding activity decreased significantly
during winter season.
This condition indicated by decreased the mean individual weight and total biomass of
earthworm, even the population of earthworm was found highest in winter
0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1
0
500
1000
1500
2000
2500
3000
6
-
F
e
b
-
1
3
1
5
-
M
a
r
-
1
3
1
9
-
A
p
r
-
1
3
2
6
-
A
p
r
-
1
3
1
-
M
a
y
-
1
3
2
4
-
M
a
y
-
1
3
1
2
-
J
u
n
-
1
3
2
9
-
J
u
n
-
1
3
3
0
-
S
e
p
-
1
3
2
4
-
O
c
t
-
1
3
2
5
-
D
e
c
-
1
3
2
4
-
F
e
b
-
1
4
2
4
-
M
a
r
-
1
4

w
e
i
g
h
t

1

e
a
r
t
h
w
o
r
m

g
)

e
a
r
t
h
w
o
r
m

p
o
p
u
l
a
t
i
o
n
/
m
2


earthworm population/m2
weight 1 earthwormgr
0.00
0.10
0.20
0.30
0.40
0.50
0.60
0.70
0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000
w
e
i
g
h
t

o
f

1

e
a
r
t
h
w
o
r
m

(
g
)

earthworm population.m
-2
RESULT
Earthworm biomass dynamics
influenced by Nitrate amount
The result of this present study showed that earthworm
biomass pronounced negative correlation with nitrate (NO
3
-N)
concentration.

0
100
200
300
400
500
600
700
800
0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000
e
a
r
t
h
w
o
r
m

b
i
o
m
a
s
s

(
k
g
/
5
5
m
-
2
)

NO3-N (mg/)
R = 0.15538
P = 0.0306
RESULT
Earthworm activity influenced
microbial activity
0 2000 4000
0-2.5cm
2.5-7.5cm
7.5-15cm
15-20cm
earthworm population (per m
2
)
d
e
p
t
h


The result of this present study showed that the microbial decomposition
process was highest occurred in surface layer and E.fetida highest activity was
second layer (2.5-7.5 cm)
The microbial biomass-C bacteria was obtained higher than fungi in each depth
of reactor during vermicomposting
RESULT
0 2000 4000 6000
0-2.5 cm
2.5-7.5 cm
7.5-15 cm
15-20 cm
microbial biomass-C (ug/g dw)
d
e
p
t
h

microbial biomass-C
total
bacteria biomass-C
fungi biomass-C
0.00
100.00
200.00
300.00
400.00
500.00
600.00
700.00
800.00
900.00
1000.00
M
a
y
-
1
3
J
u
n
-
1
3
J
u
l
-
1
3
A
u
g
-
1
3
S
e
p
-
1
3
O
c
t
-
1
3
N
o
v
-
1
3
D
e
c
-
1
3
J
a
n
-
1
4
F
e
b
-
1
4
M
g

(
m
g
/
k
g
)

0
5000
10000
15000
20000
M
a
y
-
1
3
J
u
n
-
1
3
J
u
l
-
1
3
A
u
g
-
1
3
S
e
p
-
1
3
O
c
t
-
1
3
N
o
v
-
1
3
D
e
c
-
1
3
J
a
n
-
1
4
F
e
b
-
1
4
K

(
m
g
/
k
g
)

Nutrient Mineralization
RESULT
0
200
400
600
800
1000
1200
1400
1600
i
n
o
r
g
a
n
i
c

N
i
t
r
o
g
e
n

(
m
g
/
k
g
)

Earthworm compost as
final result of
vermicomposting process
showed high nutrient
content especially total
carbon, total nitrogen,
nitrate, ammonium,
calcium, magnesium,
potassium and phosphorus

The ingestion, digestion
and assimilation of the
organic material in the gut
and then casting play a
crucial role in substrate
mineralization (Dominguez
et al., 2013)

Nutrient content of earthworm compost

Earthworm compost
Nutrient content
(mg/kg)
NO
3
-N 2114.5
NH
4
-N 19.80
Ca 294.24
Mg 572.90
K 13903
P 465.60
EC 4.50
pH 7.61
Total Nutrient (%)
C 14.28
N 1.39
Ca 2.29
Mg 0.37
K 2.72
P 8.45
RESULT
C/N ratio during vermicomposting
The lowest C/N ratio during vermicomposting was obtained in
the surface layer, indicate that high decomposition was
occurred in that layer
9.9 10 10.1 10.2 10.3
0-2.5
2.5-7.5
7.5-15
15-20
C/N ratio
d
e
p
t
h

f
r
o
m

t
h
e

s
u
r
f
a
c
e

(
c
m
)

Materials C (%) N (%) C/N
Vegetable waste
lettuce
39.5 3.9 10.16
radish
42.2 3.2 13.31
Radish + carrot
40.6 3.3 12.23
During
Vermicomposting
0-2.5 cm
16.52 1.65 10.02
2.5-7.5 cm
15.24 1.49 10.23
7.5-15 cm
16.18 1.56 10.27
15-20 cm
12.68 1.08 11.78
Finished product compost
14.28 1.39 10.25
RESULT
Cesium (Cs-134 and Cs-137)
Contamination
The highest cesium (Cs-134 and
Cs-137) contamination during
vermicomposting in Fukushima
was observed on 2.5-7.5 depth
from layers, and the lowest cesium
contamination was observed on
the surface layer (0-2.5 cm)
The appropriate compost should
be take from the surface layer of
the vermicompost box

0 100 200
Earthworm
compost
0-2.5
2.5-7.5
7.5-15
15-20
Bq/kg
134
137
RESULT
Potential of Vermicompost Combine with DSE
as Bio-fertilizer to Increase Crop Production
under Greenhouse Cultivation

Effect of vermicompost
and DSE on
Growth of cherry
tomato seedling
Yield&quality of
cherry tomato
Yield&quality of green
lettuce
Potassium content


Cherry tomato and Lettuce
Cultivation in Greenhouse
Organic
Fertilizer
(g/container)
N P
2
O
5
K2O CaO MgO
Conventional
45.7 41.6 57.5 21.9 11.5
50% reduced
22.9 20.8 28.8 11.0 5.7
Cherry tomato (cultivar PEPE) :
- cultivation was started on May 2013
- harvested on 9/10/2013,
7/10/2013,27/10/2013
Lettuce :
- cultivation was started on October 2013
- harvested on 24
th
February 2014
This study used split-split plot design were
amount of fertilizer became main treatment,
DSE (V.simplex) became sub treatment, and
earthworm compost became sub-sub plot, and
each container was contain 50 g earthworm
compost and 500 g kanuma soil.
Materials and
Methods
Yield and quality
measurement
Yield of cherry tomato and lettuce was measured the fresh
weight immediately on the harvest time
The quality of yield that was measured in this study including
sugar content that was measured by refractometer and
potassium content that was measured by LAQUAtwin K+
Materials and
Methods
Vermicompost and DSE enhanced growth
of cherry tomato seedling
The highest seedling was obtained in DSE and vermicompost treatment.
DSE with vermicompost treatment was obtain enhanced the plant height of
cherry tomato seedling about 104.57 %, compared with control (no-DSE and
no-vermicompost).
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
16
18
20
DSE DSE no-DSE no-DSE
Vermicompost no-vermicompost Vermicompost no-vermicompost
p
l
a
n
t

h
e
i
g
h
t

(
c
m
)

RESULT
Effect of Earthworm compost on YIELD
of CHERRY TOMATO cultivation in Fukushima
The highest yield in this study was obtained in 50% reduced of fertilizer with
vermicompost and DSE
Vermicompost effect as a single factor was observed enhanced significantly about
132.42% (p<0.0001)
DSE effect as a single factor was observed enhanced significantly about 28.56%
(p=0.0004)

0
1000
2000
3000
4000
5000
6000
DSE No DSE DSE No DSE
conventional conventional 50% reduced 50% reduced
c
h
e
r
r
y

t
o
m
a
t
o

y
i
e
l
d

(
g
)

vermicompost no vermicompost
RESULT
Effect of Earthworm compost on SUGAR
CONTENT of CHERRY TOMATO cultivation in
Fukushima
4
4.5
5
5.5
6
6.5
7
DSE No DSE DSE No DSE
conventional conventional 50% reduced 50% reduced
S
u
g
a
r

c
o
n
t
e
n
t

(
%
)

vermicompost
no vermicompost
RESULT
The highest sugar content was obtained in 50% reduced of fertilizer with
vermicompost and no DSE, that was 6.41 %
Vermicompost effect as a single factor was observed enhanced significantly about
6.21 % compared with without vermicompost treatment (p=0.0091)
DSE effect as a single factor was observed enhanced 1.72 % compared with
without DSE, although the effect was statistically no significant (p=0.4143)

Effect of Earthworm compost on YIELD
of LETTUCE cultivation in Fukushima
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
Conventional,
DSE
Conventional,
No DSE
50% reduced,
DSE
50% reduced,
No DSE
s
u
g
a
r

c
o
n
t
e
n
t

(
%
)

Earthworm compost
No Earthworm compost
RESULT
The highest yield of green lettuce in this study was obtained in conventional
fertilizer with no vermicompost and DSE
The highest sugar content was obtained in 50% reduced of fertilizer with
vermicompost and no DSE
But the effect of earthworm compost on yield and sugar content of lettuce in this
present study was observed statistically non-significant

0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
DSE No DSE DSE No DSE
conventional conventional 50% reduced 50% reduced
l
e
t
t
u
c
e

y
i
e
l
d

(
g
)

vermicompost
no vermicompost
Potassium content (ppm) in cherry tomato and lettuce
The highest potassium content in cherry tomato (a) was obtained in conventional fertilizer with
vermicompost and DSE
Vermicompost effect and DSE as a single factor was observed enhanced potassium content of cherry
tomato about 27.82 % (p=0.0003) and 0.45% (p=0.9316), respectively
The highest potassium content in green lettuce (b) was obtained in conventional fertilizer with
vermicompost and DSE
Vermicompost effect and DSE as a single factor was observed enhanced potassium content of lettuce
about 20.09 % (p=0.0111) and 8.26% (p=0.2301), respectively
0
500
1000
1500
2000
2500
DSE No DSE DSE No DSE
conventional conventional 50% reduced 50% reduced
vermicompost no vermicompost
(a)
0
500
1000
1500
2000
2500
3000
DSE No DSE DSE No DSE
conventional conventional 50% reduced 50% reduced
(b)
RESULT
SUMMARY
The optimum input rate of vegetables waste in compost box was expected to adjust
410 kg/55m2/day for vermicomposting process (compost reactor = 11mx5mx0.4m)
with 51 % that was used 53174 earthworms.55m-2 as initial earthworm population.
Earthworm population and activity during vermicomposting process was influenced
by seasonal changes and chemical condition especially nitrate. Optimum nitrate
amount regarding to increase earthworm activity should be adjust in 376 mg/L
Earthworm compost using vegetable waste was observed contain high nutrient
content, such as C, N, Ca, Mg, K and P was observed 14.28 %, 1.39 %, 2.29 %,
0.37 %, 2.72 % and 8.45%, respectively
Radiocesium (Cs134 and Cs137) contamination of earthworm compost in
Fukushima during vermicomposting process was observed lowest in the surface
layer, so appropriate compost should be take from the surface layer (0-2.5 cm).
Earthworm compost combine with DSE in this present study was observed
significantly increased production of cherry tomato in greenhouse at Fukushima,
but non-significantly affected lettuce production. That combination also observed
increased potassium content in cherry tomato and lettuce significantly
Acknowledgement
Thanks to all the supports especially for:
My supervisor in Ibaraki University, Prof. Dr. Masakazu Komatsuzaki, Prof.
Dr. Kazuhiko Narisawa, Prof. Dr. Okayama for their kindness in guidance me
always.
My supervisor in Udayana University, Prof. Dr. Ir. I Made Sudana, Dr. I Gusti
Alit Susanta Wirya, Prof. Dr. Ir. Dewa Ngurah Suprapta for all supports and
kind attention for me
Rahmatullah Hashimi, Takahiro Ito, and all my laboratory member for the all
supports during this study
Danny from Tsukuba University, Abdurachman from Tokyo University of
Agriculture and Technology for all supports especially to analyze and
construct the model
Dr. Nobuo Sakagami and Arisawa san for all supports especially in Double
Degree Program
Mr. Manuel Aira from Universidad de Vigo, Spain and Mr. Heidi Anderson
from Institut fur Bodenbiologie, Germany, for all information and help
especially to constructed and establish SIR methods
THANK YOU