Vermicompost as an effective organic fertilizer and biocontrol agent: effect on growth, yield and quality of plants

Rakesh Joshi, Jaswinder Singh & Adarsh Pal Vig - Reviews in Environmental Science and Bio/Technology

Farm Table says:

This paper contained such an awesome literature. No matter where you are in the world, this article will be of great use to any farmer or just anybody who is interested in using organic farming instead of the chemical based fertilizers.

In India, during the period of the 1960s to 1980s, there was a remarkable increase in the agricultural production due to ‘‘Green revolution”. After a green revolution, use of chemical fertilizers increased and India achieved self-sufficiency in agriculture. Use of chemical fertilizers resulted in pollution of soil, water, and air.

There have been adverse effects on the health of human beings and cattle due to the residues of these agrochemicals in food products.

Vermicompost:

• rich in microbial activity and contains antagonistic organisms to control plant pathogens, therefore it is an effective biocontrol agent.

• an excellent soil amendment which makes it the best organic fertilizer and more eco-friendly as compared to chemical fertilizers.

• an ideal organic manure for better growth and yield of many plants.

• rich in microbial activity and contains antagonistic organisms to control plant pathogens, therefore it is an effective biocontrol agent.

• can increase the production of crops and prevent them from harmful pests without polluting the environment.

Vermicomposting is a non-thermophilic process (Edwards and Burrows 1988) which involves a joint action of earthworms and mesophilic microorganisms (Aira et al. 2000) for the conversion of organic wastes into a valuable end product.

Application of vermicompost increased seed germination, stem height, number of leaves, leaf area, leaf dry weight, root length, root number, total yield, number of fruits/plant, chlorophyll content, pH of juice, TSS of juice, micro and macro nutrients, carbohydrate (%) and protein (%) content and improved the quality of the fruits and seeds. Studies suggested that treatments of humic acids, plant growth promoting bacteria and vermicomposts can be used for a sustainable agriculture discouraging the use of chemical fertilizers.

The Study and its Result:

It is evident that vermicompost can improve physical, chemical and biological properties of soil and is an excellent organic fertilizer. The Presence of microbiota and phenolic compounds, effectively control a number of plant pathogens and pests. A number of growth, yield and quality parameters of various crops are positively affected by vermicompost.

In most of the studies, when applied in combination with chemical or other fertilizers has been proved as a substitute of using chemical fertilizers alone.

• it has been proved more effective than chemical fertilizers in few studies.

• it is an effective tool for solid waste management also

• as organic fertilizers, are slow releasing and have to be applied in bulks because of their lower N, P, K values as compared to chemical fertilizers,

• application of vermicompost alone may be costlier than applying chemical fertilizers alone or applying vermicompost in combination with chemical fertilizers.

Farmers must be educated and made aware of the use of organic amendments like vermicompost in combination with chemical or other fertilizers. Cost effectiveness of vermicompost should also be reflected in future studies. Net economics of applied vermicompost and inorganic fertilizers must be compared to know whether such organic amendments are cost-effective for farmers or not and how these amendments can be made more cost effective in future so that the farmers of both developed and developing world can take its advantage without hesitation.

2014 - India - Rakesh Joshi, Jaswinder Singh & Adarsh Pal Vig - Reviews in Environmental Science and Bio/Technology
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