Introduction 
 



It was first recognized by Aristotle. Later on Darwin documented the importance of it in breaking down the dead plant materials. 3600 species worldwide About 510 species belonging to 67 genera and 10 families have been recorded from Indian subcontinent.

Common Species 
   

Lumbricus terrestis Night crawler Allolobophora caliginosa Grey worm Allolobophora chlorotica Green worm Lumbricus rubellus Red worm Eisenia fetida Red Wiggler

Vermiculture & Vermicomposting 

Vermiculture is
the culture of earthworms 

Vermicomposting is
using earthworms and microorganisms to convert organic waste into black, earthysmelling, nutrient-rich humus. Vermicompost is an ecofriendly natural fertilizer prepared from biodegradable organic wastes and is free from chemical.

Earthworm species suitable for vermicompost production  

  

Anyone of the following earthworm species may be used for preparation of vermicompost - Eisenia foetida - Amynthas diffringens - Eudrilus eugeniae - Perionyx excavatus

    Three species of earthworms are generally used in India for vermicomposting: Eudrilus eugeniae ( African Night Crawler) Eisenia foetida ( Tiger Worm/Red Wiggler) Perionyx excavatus (India Blues) These may be easily obtained from any organization / farm in your place practicing vermicomposting. .

2 Predators ants.Factors influencing vermiculture        Food Moisture 50% Temperature 40 800F Light pH .8 7. toads. rats Aeration . birds. cats. snakes. dogs.6. salamanders.

Foodstock  DO s  Fruit & vegetable scraps  Grains & cereals. cake  Leaves  Plant cuttings  DON Ts  Non-Biodegradables  Plastic  Glass  Rubber  Pet feces (cats)  Toxic materials  Plant cuttings treated with herbicides or insecticides .  Cooked eggs & shells  Coffee grounds & filters  Onions & potatoes  bread.

leaf litter. hotel refuse. used for the preparation of vermicompost.Raw materials required  Cow dung and any other biodegradable wastes such as crop residues. vegetable wastes. wastes from the agroindustries. bio-degradable portion of urban and rural wastes etc. weed biomass. .

Put a layer of soil at the bottom. . Sprinkle little water to maintain the moisture. Put some vegetable peels and leftover food into one corner of the pot . Introduce some earthworms in it. and cover it with a layer of dried leaves. Add a layer of cow dung manure or fresh cow dung on top of this.How to do vermicomposting at home    Take a broad earthen pot or an old plastic crate.

Cover it with leaves again and sprinkle some more water. Repeat the above procedure till the pot is full. Compost is ready when all the garbage has decomposed and the pot is full of dark soil like granular substance. Leave the pot for six weeks.6 weeks. . but sprinkle water daily.    The next day remove the leaves and add some more garbage in a separate place. Compost would be ready after 5 .

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Vermicomposting in process .

The worms will again burrow down. Repeat till 75% of compost has been removed. Remove another layer of compost.How to separate the vermicompost after 5-6 weeks      Uncover the pot and put it in bright sunlight. Remove the top portion of the compost. . The worms are sensitive to light and will burrow down. You can use the same pot for further composting. The worms would have multiplied by now. Take half the worms and expand the composting into another pot for composting.

etc. . Dilute this compost with some soil and sand and then use.WHERE TO USE THE COMPOST ?   Sprinkle the compost into your pots. flower beds.

of appropriate length (depending upon the availability of raw materials). and height 1. Ideally a tank with breadth 3 ft.Methods of Preparation (Commercial level)     The compost can be prepared in concrete tank. Could be used Suitable plastic tub/basin/structure may also be used.0 ft. Chop the biomass required.52. Collect and heap the weed biomass under sun for about 7-10 days. Sprinkle cowdung slurry on the heap .

     Place a thin layer of surface soil/sand (1-2 inch) at the bottom of the tank. over the soil or sand layer Place the chopped bio-waste and partially decomposed cowdung layer-wise in the tank upto a depth of 1.0 ft. . Place fine bedding material such as partially decomposed cowdung/dried leaves etc. Release about 2-3 kg earthworms of any of the above earthworm species over the mixture.5-2. The bio waste : cowdung ratio should be 60:40 on dry weight basis.

. Stop sprinkling of water when 80-90% bio wastes is decomposed. Completion of vermicompost could be judged visually by observing the formation of granular structure of the compost at the surface of the tank. Provide shade over the compost mixture to protect from rain water and direct sunlight.      Cover the compost mixture with dry straw or cloth. Collect the vermicompost by scrapping layerwise from the top of the tank and keep it under shade. (vermicast). Sprinkle water to maintain 70-80% moisture content.

Screening of earthworm species .

Separate earthworms and cocoons for reuse. Seville vermicompost for separation of baby earthworm and cocoons. . Dry vermicompost under shade to keep the moisture content below 20 %.Separation of earthworm and cocoon     Heap the harvested vermicompost for 6-12 hrs under shade for separation of the earthworm.

Vermicomposting Controlled Environment .

Vermicomposting.Protected by Greenhouse .

3 0.5 2.2 0.Nutrient concentration of vermicompost Nutrients           In Percent Nitrogen : Phosphorus : Potash : Calcium : Magnesium : Sulphur : Iron : Copper (ppm) : Zinc : Maganese : 1.2 1.5 0.5 1.4 0.4 0.8 1.8 1.36 500-1000 ppm 1000-2000 ppm .5 22 .0 0.5 1.5 2.

provides the entire essential nutrient element. 3. Vermicompost is rich in plant nutrients. Vermicompost is free flowing. 2. Provides excellent effect on overall plant growth.Advantages of Vermicompost    1. encourages new shoots/ leaves and improves the quality an self life of the produce. easy to handle store and apply and does not have bad odour .

Improves soil structure. texture. Soil pH is neutralized by the buffering action of vermicompost. . Vermicompost is rich in several enzymes and growth regulators such as auxins. 7.     4. 8. cellulose decomposing micro-flora etc. Vermicompost contains earthworm cocoons and increases the population and activity of earthworm in soil. gibberellins etc. P-solubilizers. 5. 6. Vermicompost is rich in beneficial microflora such as N fixers. aeration. water holding capacity and prevents soil erosion.

11. Availability of nutrients from vermicompost is faster due to its narrow C:N ratio 12. . Vermicompost enhances the decomposition of organic matter in soil. Prevents nutrient losses and increase the use efficiency of chemical fertilizers. Vermicompost is free from pathogens. 10. Vermicompost minimizes the incidences of pests and diseases in crop. toxic elements. 13.     9. weed seeds etc.

Rowta Mangaldoi 200 t 200 t 50 t 50 t . Narendra Kundalia Jorhat. Ghanshyam Upadhyhay Rowta. Bokakhat Sh. Hiren Sarma. Mangaldai Sh.Vermicompost Marketing Name & Address Production capacity (per year)     Sh. Nabajuoti Rajkhowa Lokhowjan tini Ali. Assam Sh.

Subrata Bhowmic. Pub Charigaon. Gogoi Charing Baruwati Gaon Charing. Dipak Modi Jorhat. Duliajan Sh. Polash Bora Bor Samua Gaon. Tripura Sh. Jorhat Sh. Bubul Buragohain Golaghat. Agartala. Sivsagar Sh. Phanindra Pathak Nagaon 50 t 200 t 50 t 50 t 50 t 200 t 200 t .Name & Address  Production capacity (per year)       Sh. Deboraj Bordoloi. Assam Sh. Sanjib K.. Assam Sh.

Jabalpur Akshat Farms. Mumbai . T. Chennai H. Nashik S. S Vermi Compost Farm. Kolkata Vanashree Agrotech. Madurai Protina Agro Products. Madurai Samagra Agrotech. Vermicompost & Worms Farm. Ltd.Vermicompost Manufacturers & Suppliers            Sarva Mangalam Natural Products Pvt. Chennai Adeniums India.. Pune Baba Bio Tech. Chandigarh Anushka Vermicompost. Udaipur Suriya Farms.

Costs and benefits   Apart from infrastructural expenditures. 8-10 per Kg. 3000-3500 per ton in bulk and Rs. the operating cost for preparation of vermicompost generally comes around Rs. 1700-1800 per ton The vermocompost market rate around Rs. .

Commercial Bins  Can-O-Worms       Most popular Enclosed tier system Bottom catch tray & spigot Stackable mesh trays Worms migrate vertically Easy to harvest castings .

Commercial Bins  Worm-A-Way®     Plastic Ventilated Several sizes Lightweight .

Commercial Bins  Worm-A-Roo     Double bin system Plastic Migration device Lightweight .

Bin Care & Maintenance     Provide adequate bin and bedding mixture Maintain moisture level Maintain temperature 60-65° F Provide air circulation in bin via adequate holes   Provides aeration Controls odors by eliminating anaerobic conditions .

 Worm castings vs. Vermicompost is a combination of :     Worm castings OM and bedding at various stages of decomposition Organisms such as worms and cocoons Microorganisms . Vermicompost   Worm castings are deposits that have moved through the worm s digestive system.

Crop: crop is a storage compartment for their food and other things they swallow. Pharynx: they push pharynx or throat out of mouth to grab leaves and to pull them back into the mouth. then into the crop. . Then they wet the food with their saliva. But they don't have teeth. Esophagus: they push that wet food down to esophagus. From the crop. that food goes to the gizzard.Vermicast formation     They open their mouth wide to fit leaves and other material.

. some of it will pass into their bloodstream. Intestine: Once they get the leaves all ground up they move to the intestine where the digestive juices break them down even more. These muscles work almost like teeth.    Gizzard: It is where the work happens. Anus: Whatever is leftover comes out through their anus as castings or worm poop. It use any stones that have swallowed and the strong muscles of gizzard to grind up the leaves. Bloodstream: Now that the leaf is all digested.

Status in India    Over 15. Bombay s garbage problem Indian Institute of Technology.000 hectare cultivated area in almost all agro-climatic zones in India.50. Powai .000 farmers and 500 entrepreneurs have adopted this process Vermicompost is now being utilized in over 1.

America = Lumbricidae .Earthworm Taxonomic Details     Phylum Annelida (Latin for rings ) Class Chaetopoda Order Oligochaeta Most common to N.

Lifespan of the Earthworm  Lifespan   Conservative estimate: 4-8 years Mortality by accident   Primitive physiology is unchanged Body composition:   70-95% water Balance = protein. fat. minerals absorbed from soil .

Earthworm Biology  Segmented body somites  Somites equipped with setae    Five hearts Cold-blooded Peristonium = mouth  Prostonium for prying .

produces cocoons Cocoons contain ~ 4 eggs Eggs incubate 3 weeks .Reproductive System    Hermaphrodites. but not self-fertilizing Mutual exchange of sperm Ova are fertilized in cocoons    Clitellum: light-colored band .

Regeneration    Cut a worm in half and you ll have two worms Worm needs at least 13 segments Will re-grow body segments (equal number) .

avoid predators and objects. Can feel bird s footsteps  Eyes are sensitive to blue light and skin to ultravoilet rays = burrowing action . and reproduce.Nervous System    Brain = a knot of nerves Ganglion serve as impulse centers Super sensitive to touch   Allows worm to select food.

Includes microorganisms Molecules absorbed through intestinal membranes  Result: CASTINGS .Digestive System   Eats weight in soil & omits daily Processed in alimentary canal    Muscular mixing with enzymes releasing amino acids. sugars. organic molecules.

an organ responsible for mucus production during reproduction 2 .1 -The worm's clitellum. The worm is darker on its upper surface .Dorsal blood vessel.

Clitellum.A swollen area with specialized genital setae (segment 26). the pair of genital setae are used to help bind two worms together while facing in opposite directions . The clitellum includes six enlarged segments (3237). During mating.1 . an organ responsible for mucus production during reproduction. 2 .

4 .one of a pair of sperm grooves. These are only visible when the worm is in reproductive condition. sperm released at the sperm ducts travels posteriorly in the worm's sperm grooves to reach.one of a pair of swollen areas on segment 15 containing the openings of the sperm ducts.3 . 5 . . These are only visible when the worm is in reproductive condition. extending from segment 16 to the clitellum.segment 14 which contains the openings of the female genital pores. The two worms exchange sperm in this manner. and enter. As two worms mate. 6 . the seminal receptacle opening of the other worm (located opposite its clitellum).segment 9 and 10 which contain the four openings of the seminal receptacles.

The Internal Earthworm .

Gizzard region of the digestive system. This area of the digestive tube is thin-walled and not very muscular  .1 .Crop region of the digestive system.Intestine region of the digestive system. This area of the digestive tube is quite muscular 3 . 2 .

storage organs for sperm received from another worm.Worm's suprapharangeal ganglia or "brain". It loops around the pharynx to form the ventral nerve cord that extends the length of the worm.Ttwo of the worm's six seminal vesicles (located in segments 9-13).      4 .pharynx region of the digestive system. This organ extends through the aortic arch region and connects to the crop. One other receptacle is visible 6 . located in segments 7-11.one of the worm's five pairs of aortic arches. . This organ of digestion is quite muscular 9 . 8 .Two of the worm's four seminal receptacles (located in segments 9 and 10). storage organs for sperm that the worm has produced 5 . These "hearts" beat and pump blood from the dorsal to the ventral vessel 7 .Esophagus region of the digestive system.

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