Author(s): Yadav KD, Tare V, Ahammed MM
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Abstract The present study examined the suitability of vermicomposting technology for processing source-separated human faeces. Since the earthworm species Eisenia fetida could not survive in fresh faeces, modification in the physical characteristics of faeces was necessary before earthworms could be introduced to faeces. A preliminary study with six different combinations of faeces, soil and bulking material (vermicompost) in different layers was conducted to find out the best condition for biomass growth and reproduction of earthworms. The results indicated that SVFV combination (soil, vermicompost, faeces and vermicompost - bottom to top layers) was the best for earthworm biomass growth indicating the positive role of soil layer in earthworm biomass growth. Further studies with SVFV and VFV combinations, however, showed that soil layer did not enhance vermicompost production rate. Year-long study conducted with VFV combination to assess the quality and quantity of vermicompost produced showed an average vermicompost production rate of 0.30kg-cast/kg-worm/day. The vermicompost produced was mature as indicated by low dissolved organic carbon (2.4+/-0.43mg/g) and low oxygen uptake rate (0.15+/-0.09mg O(2)/g VS/h). Complete inactivation of total coliforms was noted during the study, which is one of the important objectives of human faeces processing. Results of the study thus indicated the potential of vermicomposting for processing of source-separated human faeces.
This article was published in Waste Manag
and referenced in Journal of Fertilizers & Pesticides