• Michael Quintern added an answer:
    Any advice about a decrease in macro nutrient content after vermicomposting?


    I recently ran an experiment for 10 weeks to analyse the benefits of vermicomposting. The feedstock consisted of ground coffee with mixed salads from supermarkets being substituted as the kitchen waste. After about 7 weeks, few of the earthworms began to die. I also noticed growth of ants within the reactor. An analysis in week 10 has shown the reactor has shown the feedstock has a higher nutrient content than the reactor which had the compost?. 

    Any ideas on how this is possible?

    Michael Quintern · Quintern Innovation Ltd. & Noke Ltd. trading as MyNOKE

    Hi Jason,

    Vermicomposting is a complex ecoystem - even in 'simple' trials such as yours, considering only two waste streams / organic resources. I often find it more even more difficulty to be limited to only two resources as the optimum ratio of the two resources may not be the optimum for successful vermicomposting. Understanding that vermicomposting can have different desired outcomes, depending on what your primarily goal is, e.g. organic waste reduction at lowest costs, best quality vermicast, minimum effect on the environment during vermicomposting, or a focus on breeding earthworms.

    All colleagues above mentioned potential or most likely reasons for not meeting your desired outcome, which I asume from your introduction is vermicomposting for  concentration of nutrient content in the solid product. We all know that parameters  such as pH, moisture (too wet or dry) C/N ratio, structure, oxygen supply, and there will be few more to consider, will effect your outcome. We all could advise you in more detail if you would share a few more details. You mentioned some analysis you have conducted already. Maybe you can provide pH, moisture content, C/N ratio, mixing ratio, nutrient content etc. Do you have produced any leachate in your reactors? Have you analyzed it and calculated the nutrient budget in the solid and liquid fraction? Did you loose any e.g. N? Nitrogen and potassium are washed out easily.

    I would like to encourage you to carry on with your trial - understanding why a system is not working is the key to find the successful system. You will find that some combinations of organic resources will not work in the lab (small reactors), but will  succeed at large scale in the field. As well you will find that successful trials at small scale do not work in the field at full scale. For example I can force compost worms to feed on certain organic wastes if they can't escape the reactor. Once there are no borders, the worms will just leave or stay out of your mix and search for better feedstock sources.

    The total nutrient content of the vermicast might be seen as the most important aspect for marketing, as this is number you can easily put a value to, when comparing with mineral fertilizer prices. The true market value - at least here in New Zealand - is in the humus and the biological functions of the vermicast. We are marketing close to 50,000 tonnes of various vermicast products this year and often customers prefer the vermicast with a wider C/N ratio and lower total N content of 1% over the nutrient-richer vermicast with a nitrogen content of close to 2%.

    I am looking forward to some more details from you to help solving your 'mystery'.

    Keep up your interesting vermicomposting research.

    Warm regards,


  • Roland Ramusch added an answer:
    Can anyone recommend some case studies of decentralized composting initiatives carried out in developing countries?

    I am looking for research paper or person who can help me provide information . .am especially looking for information on Scientific Handling of Waste Society, Bangalore India and other similar activities in developing countries? Will appreciate your kind support..

    Roland Ramusch · University of Natural Resources and Life Science Vienna

    Linzner R. (2010): Decentralised composting of market waste and use in urban agriculture; Conakry, Guinea. Urban Agriculture Magazine, 23 (April 2010), 20-21; ISSN 1571-6244.

    Educational movie on decentralised composting based on a small-scale facility located in Conakry (Guinée):

    Project report:

  • M.Azizul Moqsud added an answer:
    Can anybody please explain to me how one can estimate the C/N ratio if you're producing an organic compost?

    Hi all, 

    I want to know how to estimate the amount of the organic products (like vegetable scraps, sawdust, ripen fruits) you are putting together for the production of organic compost that can maintain perfect C/N ratio? We are following Berkeley's 'The Rapid Composting Method'. (Please see the attached document) 

    Thanks in advance

  • Alan P Newman added an answer:
    How do bulking agents like beanstalk and sawdust help compost eco-toilet content?


    I am planning to do research on eco-toilet and possibility of (co)composting with other waste materials like saw dust, and solid waste. While doing literatures search, I came across two publications relevant to my proposed research: "On-Site Operation of a Composting-Type Eco-Toilet Using Beanstalk and Sawdust as Matrix by Liu, N. et al. (2012), and "Processing of Human Feces Using Beanstalk and Sawdust as Matrix in a Composting-Type Eco-Toilet" by Liu et al. (2012) both published in Advanced Materials Research (Editors Jingtao Han, Zhengyi Jiang and Sihai Jiao). Can anyone forward me these articles? The link (attached below) gives the article information.

    Thank you 


    Alan P Newman · Coventry University


    Sorry I should have read the question more closely.

    I do not have these papers and it is a long time since I was involved in this. I seem to remember that your  country's EPA did some work on this. Perhaps someone at the EPA will be able to help you.

    Good luck 


  • Rebecca Last added an answer:
    The vermicompost created out of grasses have seeds that normally become weeds in one';s garden. How can this seeds be controlled organically?

    for people who would love to grow vegetables organically, how can they overcome the processes of getting rid of weed seed before they prepare their vermicompost?

    Rebecca Last · Natural Resources Canada

    Heat treatment can indeed be effective in neutralizing weed seeds, but this requires sustained high temperatures, which would likely harm or kill the worms. A couple of other possible controls are: (1) try to cut the grasses before they go to seed; and (2) applications of corn gluten meal are now used widely in Ontario to prevent emergence (i.e., germination) of annual weeds. In the latter case, timing of the application is key because if applied after germination has occured, the corn gluten meal is also an effective fertilizer! It does not work on perennial weeds, either.

  • B.R. Rajeswara Rao added an answer:
    How can a contamination assessment of compost be made through bioindicator plants?

    There is a great potential for reducing the municipal and industrial wastes through composting. Many phytotoxins come from agricultural use of pesticides and industrial solvents. How the effect of these phytotoxins can be studied using the plants as bio-indicators to access the phytotoxicity level of these composts? Please, suggest some related articles and research proposals.

    B.R. Rajeswara Rao · Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants

    Check the following documents for their utility:

  • Dervilla Mcgowan added an answer:
    What is the best way to enumerate microorganims in a compost sample?

    I want to have a look at bacterial and fungal numbers in compost. I have never worked with soil microbes before, only biomedical bacterial organisms so would love detail useful for a novice.

    Thank you in advance!

    Dervilla Mcgowan · Monash University (Australia)

    Thank you so much for you r answers. It seems its pretty much the same as the methods I have used before which is great. I really appreciate the feedback.

    Thank you

  • Manfred Fehr added an answer:
    Does any city in a developing country have in place functional reverse logistics for biodegradable municipal waste?

    Although biodegradable material represents 70% of municipal waste in developing countries, I do not know of any city that runs separate collection and composting facilities. I am looking for a precedent to imitate.

    Manfred Fehr · Universidade Federal de Uberlândia (UFU)

    Dear Md, Nirmala and SP,

    Thank you kindly for your input. It is very helpful in my research.


  • Nidal Shaban added an answer:
    Does water extract from compost (compost tea) increase plant growth and suppress diseases?

    One of cultural practices in organic farming is to spray vegetable crops with compost tea. It is believed that compost tea would provide plant nutrients, stimulate growth (via growth hormones in the tea), and suppress diseases. How strong is such evidence?

    Nidal Shaban · University of Forestry


  • A. R. Karbassi added an answer:
    What is the best method of converting organic S into SO4 compost?

    Sulphate composts are useful for alkaline soils. There are huge amount of sulfur production during refinery processes. Sometimes these amounts of sulfur can not be directly used and should be converted into some other by-products. What is the easiest way to convert organic S into SO4 compost?

    A. R. Karbassi · University of Tehran

    Dear Nelson

    The usual practice in Iran include pumping water into a pool. The pool is having many outlets that ends up to the natural channels. Thus, nothing is on the way to be corroded. In some parts, we used PVC pipes. 

    I thank you once again.


  • Servio Tullio Cassini added an answer:
    Can anyone advise on references about alternative uses -apart from composting- of cocoa shell (Theobroma cacao) ?

    The research aims to find some alternative use for the shell of the cocoa ( Theobroma cacao) except sweat for composting.

    Servio Tullio Cassini · Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo

    Depending of amount of cocoa shell you have available per day/month you can think about gaseification process. We have experience with small gaseifiers of wood pellets and residues at rural áreas for generation of electricity.

  • Dr. Sunil C M added an answer:
    How can I fasten up vermicomposting so that I can get the compost within 10-15 days?

    I am aware that adding Eudrilus (earthworm SPP) can enhance the process but I would like the compost to be ready within a short span (10 days) and that should also enhance plant growth? Please tell me the strategies to be used for selling these vermicompost.

    Dr. Sunil C M · University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore

    One thing i will tell that what ever you add it may hasten the decomposition process but minimum it requires 30 days for completion.

    Thank you

  • Eloy Conde added an answer:
    Why does the ability of bacteria to degrade organic matter weaken over time?

    I isolated one specie of bacteria from mixed culture and used it for the degradation of organic matters. For the first and second batch of experiments, it works very well on the degradation of the organic matter. For example, the degradation efficiency of 100 mg/L organic matter could be 90-95%. However, after I stored the bacteria in the -80°C after a period of time, and used it to grow in the media at 25°C. After inoculated in the reactor, it did not work very well. Under the same condition, it could only degrade about 50% of organic matter in 3 days. It happened twice for my research. Does anyone have any idea about it? Why the degradation ability of the bacteria is not as good as before? Thank you 

    Eloy Conde · Instituto Tecnológico de Celaya

    I recommend first to check if the same microoorganismo because in essence should regain their "viability" for biological process which was "adapted" or "induced" to have such activity.
    a molecular analysis could draw from doubts.

    it is also important to consider the cryopreservation method you use, especially after re-culturing the microorganism also ...... greetings!

  • Dr.Aneez Ahamad, P.Y added an answer:
    Is there a simple method for quantification of microbial biomass in sludge or in soil?
    I'm interested specifically in looking into the contribution of biomass in DOC (dissolved organic carbon), that means organic compounds that are smaller than 0.45 microns.
    Dr.Aneez Ahamad, P.Y · Supreme Council Of Health, Qatar

    A representative sample could be plated in different specific media to know the major one which contributes the DOC

  • Sid James Nelson added an answer:
    What potential losses of total organic carbon can occur at 8 weeks of composting sawdust?

    What potential losses of organic carbon can occur at 8 weeks of composting sawdust?

    Sid James Nelson · North Carolina State University

    You will have to know the N and P  levels since the carbon is in excess. Use the Liebig law of minimums to determine limiting nutrient, to determine the theoretical extent of mineralization. If you have analysis of the forms of C in the sawdust, composting removes by mineralization the most labile proteins,sugars,cellulose ,hemicellulose, and leaves lignin, forming humic and fulvic fractions. Sawdust is notoriously low in N and P, so it only partially transformed. 

  • Fuqing Xu added an answer:
    Could you share experiences on the good raw materials for composting and methane fermentation?

    I am interesting in making compost, especially for farmers.

    Composting and metahne fermentation are the good way to reduce organic waste to landfill and good for incineration in terms of energy recovery. If anyone have experiences of producing compost or mathane fermentation from organic waste.

    Fuqing Xu · The Ohio State University

    If your composting facility will be close to farms, crop residues and animal manure will be good options. Near cities, yard waste like leaves and lawn grass combine with food waste will give you both good bulking agent and nutrients. And all these materials won't have too much concerns of heavy metal or pathogens. 

  • Steffen Werner added an answer:
    What is the benifits of adding charcool to the compost ?

    Organic farming.

    Steffen Werner · Ruhr-Universität Bochum

    Please see this paper:

    It gives a lot of references regarding our question.

  • R. Shalini added an answer:
    Is anyone familiar with the identification of sheep dung?

    Hi everyone,

    I used sheep and cow dung for soil burail method, after a 1 year incubation period I saw the dung , it got some compost and some are white in colour and in powder form. Can anyone please help and suggest the reason why the dung is white and inpowder form. How can it be identified? Pls guide me through the methodology and reasoning.

    Thank u

    R. Shalini · Nehru Memorial College


    I want a methodology for synthesis of nano parcticels from microorganisms anyone please help m

  • Chantal J Beauchamp added an answer:
    Which additive (residue) should I mix with a WWTP sludge (30% C, 4%N) for composting achieving a C/N ratio higher than 20 in the mixture?

    The C/N ratio of the sludge is around 6. But the levels of %C is quite high, I modelled the process mixing the sludge with the straw but the amounts of straw needed are too high because instead, a there is a residue with high C content. I think I need a residue higher in N.

    Chantal J Beauchamp · Laval University

    Dear Yago,
    The C/N of your WWTP is about 7.5, You need to add a C, and woody waste is often used since it is cheap. In Spain, you could try to find:
    Olive husks
    Paper mill sludge (with less than 65% water content)
    Wood shavings
    Shurb or tree trimmings

    Good luck,

  • Chantal J Beauchamp added an answer:
    Can anyone suggest an easy method for making compost by using only municipal solid waste?

    Does anyone know any method for composting of municipal Solid waste? Can the 100% of the waste prepare good compost? Or does some % mixture of other organic waste need to be added?Do you know about papers related with this issue? Thanks in advance. Regards, SINDOR.

    Chantal J Beauchamp · Laval University

    Dear Dr. Pardaev,

    In non-sorting MSW, you get metal, glass, paper, food waste, etc. If you compost these ingredients all together, you are going to get them in your compost. For example, trace metals will concentrate in your compost as your organic matter will be used by compost microorganisms. The trace metal concentrations may be harmful to the environment. Where do you want to use this compost?

    You need to do source separation of metal, glass, paper, etc. If you can get only food wastes, then the environmental quality of your compost will be improved.

    MSW are also reach in water. Most of the time, you need to add a structuring agent. The methods of Beltsville or Rutgers are used to understand the challenges and can be found on Internet.

    -United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and United States Environmental
    Protection agency (EPA). 1980. Manual for composting sewage sludge by the
    Beltsville aerated-pile method. EPA-600/8-80-022. USEPA, Washington, D.C.

    -USEPA. 1986. The Rutgers strategy for composting: Process design and control.
    EPA/600/2-85/059. USEPA, Washington, D.C.

    Good luck,

  • Kulasekaran Ramesh added an answer:
    What are economically affordable sources of K for organic farming?

    In organic farming and for high-K demanding crops, K could be a problem. N source can come from compost, or animal manure; P can be supplied by bone meal or rock phosphate, but K is hard to find. Seaweeds may be a source, but could pose an invasive problem. Natural polyhalide mineral is only available in certain locations. Any suggestions are appreciated. Thanks.

    Kulasekaran Ramesh · Indian Institute of Soil Science

    Dear, in general, application of composted animal manure has sufficient quantities of potassium too. In exceptional cases where K demand of the plant is too high, crop residues rich in K may be used for recycling. An organic Banana farmer utilizes all the banana wastes other than the fruits for recycling in his farm in india.

  • Newton de Lucena Costa added an answer:
    Can anyone suggest an easy method for making compost by using fallen dry leaves in a tropical country?

    The traditional methods of composting are more labour intensifying, hence economically not viable. I am looking for the best and quick way of making compost by using dry leaves of deciduous trees in a very short span of time. Any help in this matter will be  highly appreciated.

    Newton de Lucena Costa · Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA)

    An alternative is to laminate composting.
    It is another way of doing aerobic composting. mounted -shaped blade is used at the place where the compound to humified. This location can be on the projection area canopy of tree crops (coconut, orange, etc.) or where construction is done for plant cultivation. Alternate blades are mounted carbon-rich waste (thickness 15 cm) waste rich in nitrogen (thickness of 5 cm) .The total thickness of the blades varies from 40 to 60 cm. when made in the projection of the plant canopy, the material should be away 20 to 30 cm from the stem. In this type of composting the plowing is done by worms and insects which develop within the blades, eliminating the manual plowing.

    Enrichment of the organic compound
    During assembly of the compost windrow one can to enrich the compound of nutrients, using rich rock powder macro and micronutrients (for ex. Phosphate of Gafsa) at a ratio of 10 kg tonne of waste to be composted. The addition of gypsum
    agricultural in proportion to the rock waste will benefit the Quality of the compound, as in piles in sheets or hills. Quick compound without manure The manure nutrient enriched compound, but composting process may occur without the addition of manure. The important thing is to use materials rich in carbon and for nitrogen rich materials having the C / C suitable for the job of microorganisms responsible
    for fermentation and humus waste.Mix 2/3 of waste rich in carbon, which tend to
    be harder and woody as twigs, dry leaves, straw, stems, etc., with 1/3 of material rich in nitrogen as the plant shoots, grass clippings, leaves and stems green legume plants, vegetables remains, fruit and food. These materials, these ratios,
    should be mixed evenly moistened (without flooding) and placed in the form of windrow or pile. In the second, fourth, seventh and tenth day after mounting
    gem do the plowing. After the last plowing the begin 70 ° C down to around
    40 ° C and the compost is ready for use.

  • Marziye Yousefi added an answer:
    Is there any publication about vermicomposting reactor?

    I need several papers and articles to reference and compare my results with, but unfortunately I couldn't find any research about using of vermicomposting reactor. thanks in forward for helping me.

    Marziye Yousefi · University of Tehran

    Dear Dr Manyuchi and Mr Zoghi,

    I really appreciate you answer my question. Now I can complete my paper.


  • Dyoni Matias de Oliveira added an answer:
    Can anybody suggest to me a standard method for the quantification of lignin in the leaf litter?

    I need to quantify the lignin content of plant material and their subsequent compost. Though I had taken IR spectra of both the plant material and compost I couldn't extract much of inputs. Please, suggest me some methods for isolating the lignin content and its quantification.

    Dyoni Matias de Oliveira · Universidade Estadual de Maringá

    I suggest acetyl bromide method, the simplest method.

    See here:

  • Barbara Sawicka added an answer:
    Vermi-compost vs. thermo-compost: which one is better as a soil amendment?

    It is a common belief that vermi-compost (compost made with earthworms) is better than thermo-compost (microbial decomposition with temperatures as high as 60 0C)  in quality and soil amendment properties. I wonder if there is strong scientific evidence to support such a claim.

    Barbara Sawicka · University of Life Sciences in Lublin

    Dear Daniel

    vermicompost undoubtedly be more interest, especially in organic farming. This is a competitive product in relation to fertilizers

  • Paul Howard Riley added an answer:
    Does anybody know any groups that are working on the composting of human excreta that I might be able to join for a master's project?

    I'm interested to be hooked with anybody with similar interests on this that may want some help in more long-term research.  Don't mind where in the world it is.

    Paul Howard Riley · University of Nottingham

    Try Sarah,

    she is very good

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