Centre for Pollution Control and Environmental Engineering, Pondicherry University, Chinnakalapet, Puducherry 605014, India.
Journal of Applied Horticulture, 2014, volume 16, issue 2, pages 112-116.
Abstract: It is widely acknowledged that vermicast has beneficial effect on plant growth but little is known on how the manner and duration of storage affect the vermicast quality. In an attempt to cover this knowledge-gap we have carried out a study on changes in physical and chemical properties of vermicast as function of ageing when it is stored. The study revealed that most of the characteristics of the castings were retained during the first 60 days of storage. Further as storage was continued, the physical properties such as total and water filled pore space were reduced by 11 and 40%, respectively. The water holding capacity of castings also reduced about 82% and exhibited high degree of water repellency. Whereas, the bulk density and particle density of castings increased two-fold. These changes may impede the water availability, oxygen diffusion and plant root penetration in the field. The nitrogen loss of 49% was recorded due to intense ammonia volatilization. There was more than 75% loss in potassium and phosphorus content and a significant reduction in the concentration of minor and trace nutrients. These changes in the properties of castings reduced the beneficial impact of vermicast on plant growth.