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Vermiremediation and Phytoremediation: Eco Approaches for Soil Stabilization

  • Khalsa College Amritsar

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The contamination of soil by anthropogenic activities has raised many concerns in scientific community. There is an urgent need of reliable and nature friendly techniques for addressing these concerns. Vermiremediation and phytoremediation are two such dependable techniques. Vermiremediation involves earthworms to convert solid organic materials and wastes into vermicompost which acts as a soil conditioner and nutrient-rich manure. The contaminants in organic wastes which could pollute the soil can be significantly reduced using earthworms. The vermicompost generated from earthworms increases soil fertility (physical, chemical, biological). In vermicompost nutrients such as nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, sodium, magnesium and calcium are in plant available forms. Vermicompost is increasingly considered in agriculture and horticulture as a promising alternative to chemical fertilizers. Phytoremediation involves plants and soil microbes to minimize the amount of contaminants (such as heavy metals) in the environment. Plants have capacity to uptake contaminants from the soil and execute their detoxification by various mechanisms (phytoaccumulation, phytostabilization, phytofiltration, phytodegradation, phytovolatilization). Plants store these contaminants in there tissues from where these can be harvested or dumped in safe sites. This study is aimed to document the various techniques and their role, with commercial examples, benefits, and drawbacks etc of phytoremediation and also effects of vermicompost on the soil fertility, physicochemical and biological properties of soil.
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Citation: Bhat SA, Bhatti SS, Singh J, Sambyal V, Nagpal A and Vig AP. Vermiremediation and Phytoremediation:
Eco Approaches for Soil Stabilization. Austin Environ Sci. 2016; 1(2): 1006.
Austin Environ Sci - Volume 1 Issue 2 - 2016
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Vig et al. © All rights are reserved
Austin Environmental Sciences
Open Access
The contamination of soil by anthropogenic activities has raised many
concerns in scientic community. There is an urgent need of reliable and
nature friendly techniques for addressing these concerns. Vermiremediation
and phytoremediation are two such dependable techniques. Vermiremediation
involves earthworms to convert solid organic materials and wastes into
vermicompost which acts as a soil conditioner and nutrient-rich manure. The
contaminants in organic wastes which could pollute the soil can be signicantly
reduced using earthworms. The vermicompost generated from earthworms
increases soil fertility (physical, chemical, biological). In vermicompost nutrients
such as nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, sodium, magnesium and calcium
are in plant available forms. Vermicompost is increasingly considered in
agriculture and horticulture as a promising alternative to chemical fertilizers.
Phytoremediation involves plants and soil microbes to minimize the amount
of contaminants (such as heavy metals) in the environment. Plants have
capacity to uptake contaminants from the soil and execute their detoxication
by various mechanisms (phytoaccumulation, phytostabilization, phytoltration,
phytodegradation, phytovolatilization). Plants store these contaminants in there
tissues from where these can be harvested or dumped in safe sites. This study
is aimed to document the various techniques and their role, with commercial
examples, benets, and drawbacks etc of phytoremediation and also effects of
vermicompost on the soil fertility, physicochemical and biological properties of
Keywords: Earthworms; Heavy metals; Microbes; Nutrients; Organic
fertilizer; Vermicompost
such as nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, sodium, magnesium and
calcium [11,16] and can play a major role in soil nutrient management.
e use of vermicompost can enhance the physiochemical properties
of soil, which can increase the plant growth [17]. Phytoremediation
involves plants and soil microorganisms to minimize the toxic eects
of pollutants in the environment [18,19]. is technique is used
to remove toxic metals and other organic pollutants. According
to Mench et al. [20] plants amend soil fertility with application of
organic materials. e present review article is aimed to document
the eects of vermicompost on the soil fertility, plant growth,
physicochemical and biological properties of soil and various
techniques of phytoremediation and their role in soil stabilization.
e process of vermicomposting involves earthworms to convert
organic materials into vermicompost which acts as a soil conditioner
and nutrient-rich manure. Vermicomposting technology is cost-
eective and eco-friendly technique that plays an important role in
minimizing environmental pollution. e nal vermicompost can be
applied for agricultural purposes which provide maximum microbial
activity to the soil [21]. rough vermicomposting, many researchers
have successfully converted various types of industrial wastes into
nutrient rich manure [22-24].
Excessive use of chemical fertilizers deteriorates the soil properties
(physical and chemical) and also contaminates the surrounding
environment [1]. According to Chaoui et al [2]. excessive leaching
of nutrients and salinity-induced plant stress can be caused by the
excessive use of inorganic fertilizers. e joint application of organic
and chemical fertilizers maintains the Soil Quality Index (SQI) [3].
e excessive use of chemical fertilizers without organic fertilizers can
deteriorate the soil properties [1]. e physico-chemical characteristics
of agricultural soils can be modied directly by the application of
vermicompost which acts as a soil conditioner and nutrient-rich
manure [4]. Vermicomposting involves joint interaction between
earthworms and microorganisms to generate a homogeneous, stable
and nutrient rich product called as vermicompost [5-8]. e nal
vermicompost is nutritionally improved as compared to traditional
compost [9-11]. Vermicomposting process increases the rate of
mineralization of organic substrates and enhances higher degree of
humication [12]. Soil fertility can be enhanced by the application of
vermicompost through physically (aeration, porosity, water retention,
bulk density), chemically (pH, electrical conductivity, organic matter
content) and biologically (microbial biomass, enzymes, micro and
micro nutrients) [13-15]. Vermicompost is increasingly considered
in agriculture and horticulture as a promising alternative to chemical
fertilizers. Vermicompost is rich source of macro and micro nutrients
Review Article
Vermiremediation and Phytoremediation: Eco
Approaches for Soil Stabilization
Bhat SA1, Bhatti SS1, Singh J2, Sambyal V3, Nagpal
A1 and Vig AP1*
1Department of Botanical and Environmental Sciences,
Guru Nanak Dev University, India
2PG Department of Zoology, Khalsa College Amritsar,
3PG Department of Human Genetics, Guru Nanak Dev
University, India
*Corresponding author: Adarsh Pal Vig, Department
of Botanical and Environmental Sciences, Guru Nanak
Dev University, Amritsar, Punjab, India
Received: June 10, 2016; Accepted: August 12, 2016;
Published: August 16, 2016
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Nutrient content in vermicompost
Vermicompost produced from organic sources can play a
major role in soil fertility and also in organic farming. e nal
vermicompost has higher macro and micro nutrients as compared
to traditional compost [10]. Vermicompost is granular, with large
surface area due to mineralization and degradation by earthworms
[7,25]. e nutrient content in vermicompost (prepared from cattle
dung) and traditional compost is shown in Table 1.
Effect of vermicompost on soil quality, physico-chemical
and biological properties
Vermicompost increases the soil microbial population and
acts as a rich source of nutrients. It increases the availability of
nutrients (potassium and nitrogen) through improving phosphorus
solubilization and nitrogen xation [17]. Application of vermicompost
can directly enhance the physiochemical and biological properties of
soil. Vermicompost increases soil porosity, aeration, water holding
capacity and inltration [13]. According to Kale and Karmegam [26]
earthworms in the soil add mucus secretion which enhances the soil
stability. e combination of earthworms and microbes decreases the
particle and bulk densities of soil which increases the porosity and
aggregate formation of the soil [1]. Soil treated with vermicompost
increases the available (N, K, P) and total (Ca, Cu, Fe, Mg, Mn, Na,
Zn) macro and micro-nutrients in the soil [1]. Leaching problem of
nutrients in soil can be reduced by the application of vermicompost.
Bhattacharjee et al. [27] observed that the nutrient leaching from
the soil is greatly reduced by the application of vermicompost
which changes the physico-chemical characteristics of the soil.
Vermicompost can also be used in acid and alkaline soils, due to its
near neutral to alkaline nature of pH. According to Manivannan et
al. [1] pH between 6-7 ranges increases the availability of nutrient
content to the plants. Many researchers have observed that the soil
pH increases in acidic soils and reduces in alkaline soils with the
application of vermicompost [28,29]. In vermicomposting process,
Electrical Conductivity (EC) of nal vermicompost depends on
initial raw material used [30]. Addition of vermicompost lowers the
EC of soil due to increase in the exchangeable Ca2+ concentration,
which allows higher leaching of exchanged Na+ and lowers the soil
EC [31]. Vermicompost improves soil porosity and inltration
rate, which enhances salt leaching leading to decrease in EC of soil
[32]. Vermicompost with EC value lower than 4.0 ds m-1 are ideal
for organic soil amendments [33]. Application of vermicompost
in soil increases the organic matter and biomass of soil microbes
[1]. According to Atiyeh et al. [34] dehydrogenase enzyme activity
was higher in vermicompost as compared to commercial medium.
Application of organic fertilizers (vermicompost, neem cake, farmyard
manure and ash) and biofertilizers to soil increases the enzyme
activities (dehydrogenase, acid phosphatase and β-glucosidase [35].
Vermicompost increases the surface area for microbial activities and
retention of nutrients [36,37]. Application of vermicompost increases
the biomass of soil microbes, which increases the plant growth and
fruit yield [38]. e scientic research on the plant growth by the
application of vermicompost are still sparse.
Effect of vermicompost on productivity and growth of
Many researchers studied the eect of vermicompost on
productivity and growth of plants [39-42]. Vermicompost contains
high levels of soil enzymes and plant growth hormones and also
retains nutrients in soils for longer duration without aecting the
environment [17,36]. Vermicompost can be used as a soil additive
and plant container media for overall growth and development of
plants [43]. According to Roy et al. [44] vermicompost increases the
root and shoot weight and plant height as compared to traditional
compost. Earthworms in the soil may impact the physico-chemical
characteristics of the soil and other organisms (nematodes,
collembolans) living within the soil [45]. Application of vermicompost
accelerates the growth of crops and plants. Vermicompost contains
enzymes and hormones that stimulate plant growth and makes it
pathogen free [46]. Plant growth promoting substances and plant
growth hormones (auxin, cytokinins, humic substances) produced by
microbes have been reported from vermicompost by many researchers
[47,48]. e nal vermicompost is considered an excellent material of
homogenous nature as it has reduced level of contaminants and holds
more nutrients over a longer time without aecting the environment
[49]. Many researchers [50-53] have reported that the vermicompost
produced from animal dung, sewage and paper industry sludge
contains higher amounts of humic substances, which have important
role in growth and productivity of plants. So vermicomposting and
vermiculture technology is economically sound, environmentally safe
technology for organic waste degradation and can create employment
opportunities for all weaker sections of the society. India, were a large
amount of organic waste is available could produce million tons of
vermicompost and will reduce the use of toxic chemical fertilizers.
Hidalgo et al. [54] observed that the addition of vermicompost to a
greenhouse potting medium (mixture of sand, pine bark and peat)
showed a signicant increase in water holding capacity and total
porosity. Ferreras et al. [55] reported that addition of 20 ton ha-1
of vermicompost in two consecutive years to an agricultural soil
signicantly improved soil porosity and fertility. Marinari et al.
[56] reported that the elongated soil Macropores number increased
signicantly in corn eld aer a single vermicompost application
equal to 200 kg ha-1 of N. Gopinath et al. [57] observed increase in
total organic carbon and soil pH and decrease in bulk density of soil
aer application at a rate equal to 60 kg ha-1 of N of vermicompost
in two consecutive growing seasons. Vermicompost is increasingly
considered in agriculture and horticulture as a promising alternative
Nutrient content Vermicompost Traditional compost
pH 8.92±0.09 8.40±0.10
EC (mS/cm) 2.82±0.03 3.22±0.02
TKN (%) 2.40±1.20 1.03±0.24
TOC (%) 37.12±0.11 45.40±1.01
C:N ratio 15.46±0.57 44.30±1.62
TAP (%) 1.49±0.81 0.92±0.30
TK (%) 1.90±2.08 4.01±1.20
TNa (%) 1.41±0.38 0.71±0.20
Zna11.54±0.37 9.85±0.37
Cua9.0 3±0.20 8.04±0.23
Fea590.04±1.52 620.04±1.60
Mna38.0 1±0.88 13.02±1.77
Table 1: Nutrient content of vermicompost and traditional compost.
Weight in mg/Kg. Source: Bhat et al., [10].
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to chemical fertilizers. Vermicompost not only produces yield with
all nutrients but also at the same time increases the soil fertility and
nutrient availability to the crops. us it is a double edged technology
which plays a major role in sustainable development.
Limitations of Vermicomposting
While vermicomposting oers substantial environmental
benets, it also is associated with a number of limitations as given
S. No. Plant species Metals accumulated References
1Acorus calamus, Cyperus malaccensis, Eleocharis valleculosa, Equisetum ramosisti, Juncus effuses, Leersia
hexandra, Neyraudia reynaudiana, Phragmites australis, Phalaris arundinacea, Polypogon fugax, Typha
latifolia, and Typha angustifolia
Cd, Cu, Pb and Zn Deng et al., [64]
2Brassica napus and Raphanus sativus Cd, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb
and Zn Marchiol et al.,
3Paspalum notatum, Pennisetum glaucum × P. purpureum, Stenotaphrum secundatum and Vetiveria
zizanioides Pb and Cd Xia, [108]
Achnatherum chingii, Adiantun capillus-veneris L., Arundinella yunnanensis, Artemisia lancangensis,
Carpinus wangii, Fargesia dura, Juncus effuses, Lithocarpus dealbatus, Llex plyneura, Pinus yunnanensis
Tranch, Populus yunnanensis, Polystichum disjurctam, Rhododendron decorum, Rhododendron annae,
Rhododendron decorum, Rhododendron annae, Salix cathayana, Sambucus chinensis, and Trifdium repensl
Cd, Cu, Pb and Zn Yanqun et al., [63]
5Carthamus tinctorius L., Cannabis sativa L., Malva verticillata L., Melilotus alba L., and Trifolium pratense L., As, Cd, Pb, and Zn Tlustoš et al., [109]
6Bidens alba var. radiate, Cyperus esculentus L., Gentiana pennelliana Fern., Plantago major L., Phyla
nodiora L., Rubus fruticosus L., Sesbania herbacea and Stenotaphrum secundatum Cu, Pb and Zn Yoon et al., [65]
Aeschynomene indica L., Alternanthera philoxeroides (Mart.) Griseb, Aster subulatus Michx, Cyperus iria L.,
Cyperus difformis L., Digitaria sanguinalis (L.) Scop, Eleusine indica (L.) Gaertn, Echinochloa crus-galli (L.)
Beauv, Echinochloa caudata Roshev, Echinochloa oryzicola (Ard.) Fritsch, Eclipta prostrata L., Fimbristylis
miliacea (L.) Vahl, Isachne globosa (Thunb.) Kuntze , Monochoria vaginalis (Burm. f.) Presl, Oryza sativa
L., Phragmites communis Trin., Polygonum lapathifolium L., Polygonum hydropiper L. and Zizania latifolia
(Griseb.) Stapf
Cd, Pb and Zn Liu et al., [110]
8Dianthus chinensis, Rumex crispus, Rumex K-1, Rumex acetosa DSL, Rumex acetosa JQW, Sedum alfredii,
Vertiveria zizanioides and Viola baoshanensis Cd, Pb and Zn Zhuang et al., [111]
Artemisia lactiora Wall, Aster subulatus Michx, Bauhinia variegate, Buddleia ofcinalis Maxim, Colocasia
esculenta, Conyza canadensia (L.) Cronq., Debregeasia orientalis, Polygonum chinense, Polygonum
rude, Pteris ensiformis, Pteridium var, Pteris fauriei Hieron, Osyris wightiana, Ricinus communis L., Rumex
hastatus, Smilax china L. and Tephrosia candida
Cu, Pb and Zn Xiaohai et al., [67]
10 Lobelia chinensis and Solanum nigrum Cd, Cu, Pb and Zn Peng et al., [112]
11 Helianthus annuus and Tithonia diversifolia Pb and Zn Adesodun et al.,
Amaranthus viridis L., Brachiaria reptans (L.) Gard. & Hubb.,
Cr, Cu, Co, Ni, Pb
and Zn Malik et al., [113]
Cannabis sativa L., Cenchrus pennisetiformis Hochst. and Steud. ex Steud., Chenopodium
album L., Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers., Cyprus rotundus L., Dactyloctenium aegyptium (L.)
P. Beauv., Elusine indica (L.) Gaerth., Ipomoea hederacea Jacq., Malvastrum
coromandelianum (Linn.) Garcke., Parthenium hysterophoirus L., Partulaca oleracea L., Ricinus communis L.,
Solanum nigrum L., and Xanthium stromarium L.
13 Beta vulgaris var. canditiva L., Brassica oleracea var. capitata L., Cucurbita pepo L. convar. giromontiana
Greb., Cichorium intybus var. foliosum Hegi, Hordeum vulgare L., Medicago sativa L., Pastinaca sativa L.,
Phaseolus vulgaris L., and Zea mays L. convar. saccharata Koern.
Cd, Pb and Zn Poniedziałek et al.,
14 Brassica campestries, Croton bonplandianum, Datura stramonium, Dolichos lablab, Lycopersicum
esculentum, Parthenium hysterophorus, Ricinus communi, Solanum nigrum, Solanum xanthocarpum, Triticum
aestivum and Typha spp (weed)
Cd, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni,
Pb and Zn Singh et al., [115]
15 Solanum nigrum L. Cd Ji et al., [70]
16 Argemone mexicana, Cassia italic, Calotropis procera, Citrullus colocynthis, Cyperus laevigatus, Phragmite
australis, and Rhazya stricta
Cd, Cr, Co, Cu, Fe, Pb,
Ni and Zn Badr et al., [116]
17 Arrhenatherum album, Corrigiola telephiifolia, Cynosorus echinatus, Digitalis thapsi, Holcus mollis, Jasione
montana, Plantago lanceolata, Rumex acetosella, Thymus zygis, and Trisetum ovatum
Cd, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb
and Zn García-Salgado et
al., [117]
18 Alternanthera Philoxeroides, Eichhornia crassipes (Mart.) and Pistia stratiotes L. Cu, Fe, Mg, Mn and Zn Hua et al., [71]
19 Medicago sativa Fe, Al, Ni, Zn, Cr, Co,
Cu and Pb
Al-Rashdi and
Sulaiman, [118]
20 Sargassum hemiphyllum and Sargassum henslowianum Cd, Cr, Cu, Pb and Zn Yu et al., [119]
21 Plantago major L.
Al, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu,
Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb, Sr, V
and Zn
Galal and Shehata,
22 Trifolium respinatum L. Ni Rad and Ghasemi
et al., [120]
23 Trifolium alexandrinum Cr, Cu, Cd, Co and Pb Bhatti et al., [74]
24 Pennisetum sinese Roxb As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Mn, Pb
and Zn Ma et al., [73]
Table 2: Various studies conducted on metal accumulation and phytoremediation potential of plants.
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1. Earthworms require neutral pH, mesophilic temperature
and maintenance of 60-70% moisture level.
2. Vermicomposting unit is more expensive to set up than
compost piles.
3. Earthworms should be protected from direct light. Shade
is required for maintaining moisture temperature and faster rate of
4. Worms needs to be separated from vermicompost and
do require some attention and proper care (Protection from other
Heavy Metal Contamination of Soil
With the advent of industrialization life has certainly become
easy and human living conditions have improved vastly. But it has
also brought with it the menace of environmental pollution which
has become a severe cause of concern and existential threat for
life on earth. Among dierent forms of pollution, soil heavy metal
contamination is most dangerous because it aects the sources of
food and thus poses severe risk to life on earth.
Heavy metals are the metals having atomic mass greater than 20
and are transition metals, metalloids, actinides and lanthanides [58].
Heavy metals in biological processes are classied into two classes:
Essential heavy metals and Non-essential heavy metals. ose heavy
metals which are required by organisms for their physiological
processes are essential metals such as Copper (Cu), Cobalt (Co),
Iron (Fe) etc. Non-essential metals are not required by organisms
or sometimes are toxic even in small amounts such as Arsenic (As),
Cadmium (Cd), Chromium (Cr), Lead (Pb) etc. [19]. e essential
elements above maximum permissible limits can pose severe risks
to organisms. e main concern regarding the heavy metals is their
long term persistence in environment, such as 150 – 5000 years for
Pb, 18 years for Cd etc. [59-61]. Considering such long persistence
and toxic eects of heavy metals, their management and removal
from soil becomes mandatory. ere are several physical and
chemical techniques available for remediation of heavy metals such
as electrophoresis, soil washing, vitrication, pneumatic fracturing,
chemical reduction etc. [62]. But these techniques have “pump and
trial” and “dig and dump” approach. Also these techniques have very
high cost, require huge setup, disturb the native soil micro ora and
even generate secondary pollutants. erefore, there is an urgent
need for a cost eective, eco friendly and sustainable technique which
can solve the problem of heavy metal contamination of soil.
In recent times, “phytoremediation” has emerged as a very
eective tool for decontamination of heavy metal polluted soils.
Phytoremediation is a technique that involves growing heavy
metal tolerant plants having metal accumulating potential to clean the
contaminated site. ese plants can absorb, accumulate and detoxify
pollutants from the site through their metabolic processes. Many
studies have been conducted throughout the world on accumulation
and phytoremediation of heavy metals from soil [63-76,107-120]
(Table 2).
Dierent types of phytoremediation processes (Figure 1) are
discussed here.
In this process plants block the mobility and bioavailability of
heavy metals in soil by converting the toxic metals to less toxic forms,
thus stabilizing these metals in soils [75]. In this way metals are locked
up in soil and do not pollute the groundwater, food chain, wind etc.
[76]. Signicant amounts of heavy metals can be stored at root level,
especially in polyannual plant species, which contributes to long term
stabilization of heavy metals [77]. e concept of phytostabalization
lies in the variation in toxicity of dierent metal species. For example,
Cr (VI) is highly toxic and readily bioavailable in comparison to Cr
(III) [78]. But by excreting special redox enzymes in rhizosphere
Figure 1: Various types of Phytoremediation.
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plants eciently converts Cr (VI) to Cr (III) thus reducing its mobility
and toxicity [79]. But phytostabilization is not an ultimate solution
because the heavy metals will remain in soil can get converted back to
their toxic form with changing conditions.
Phytodegradation (Phytotransformation)
In phytodegradation plants degrade the organic pollutants in
soil by enzymatic activity in rhizosphere [80]. Plants release enzymes
like dehalogenase, nitroreductase, peroxidase, laccase and nitrilase to
degrade organic pollutants [62, 81].
It is a technique in which plants absorb pollutants from soil
and converts them to their volatile form, which is released into the
atmosphere. It is specically used for organic contaminants and
metals like Mercury (Hg). However it is a controversial technique
since it removes metal from soil but releases it into atmosphere from
where it can be redeposited into soil [19].
Phytoltration is a process where plants are used to remove
pollutants especially heavy metals from aqueous environments such
as surface waters, waste water, nutrient recycling systems [82,83].
e ideal plants for phytoltration should have extensive root
biomass and root surface area, which should be able to accumulate
and tolerate high levels of pollutants and have minimum handling
requirements [84]. Various researchers have documented the metal
uptake capabilities of aquatic plants, such as Water hyacinth, Water
lettuce and Siligator alternenthera [85-87].
Among all the techniques of phytoremediation, phytoextraction is
most ecient and useful technique for removal of heavy metals from
soil [88]. Phytoextraction is the main technique of phytoremediation
from commercial point of view also. is technique involves heavy
metal uptake from contaminated soils in huge amounts and their
translocation to aboveground aerial parts of plants [58]. ese aerial
parts sometimes accumulate higher concentration of pollutants than
the soil and thus are highly desirable. is contaminated aerial biomass
can be used for incineration purposes, thus fullling the much needed
energy requirements. e ashes and remains aer incineration can
be dumped, included in construction materials or subjected to metal
extraction [89]. e most important characteristics required for
phytoextraction of metals by plants are shoot metal content and shoot
biomass [90]. In order to quantify the phytoextraction capability of a
plant two factors are calculated:
a) Bioconcentration Factor (BCF): It is expressed as ratio of
heavy metal content in harvestable plant tissues to soil [91]
BCF = Charvested tissue/Csoil
where Charvested tissue is the metal concentration in harvested
tissue and Csoil is the metal concentration in soil.
b) Translocation Factor (TF): It is a ratio of heavy metal contents
in shoots to roots [92]
TF = Cshoot/Croot
Where Cshoot and Croot are metal concentration in shoots and
roots, respectively
Both BCF and TF are required to assess the phytoextraction
potential of a plant. Plants having both BCF and TF greater than 1 are
excellent for phytoextraction; plants having BCF >1 and TF <1 are
suitable for phytostabalisation [65].
Hyperaccumulators are the plants which have unusual capacity
of accumulating and tolerating very high content of heavy metals.
is concept was rstly given by Brooks et al [93]. To explain the
plants which can accumulate >1000 mg/kg of Ni while growing
in their natural habitat. In 1989, Bakers and Brooks gave criteria
S.No. Metals Hyperaccumulator plant species
1 As Pteris vittata L., Piricum sativum L., Pteris biaurita, Pteris cretica, Pteris quadriaurita and Pteris ryukyuensis
2 B Gypophila sphaerocephala Fenzel
3 Cd Azolla pinnata, Eleocharis acicularis, Lemna minor L., Oryza sativa L., Rorippa globosa, Solanum photeinocarpum, Thlaspi caerulescens,
Thlaspi caerulescens J. & C. Presl. and Vettiveria zizanioides L.,
4 Cr Brassica juncea L., Pteris vittata L. and Vallisneria americana
5 Co Berkheya coddii Roessler and Haumaniastrum robertii (Robyns) P .A. Duvign. & Plancke
6Cu Brassica juncea (L.) Czern., Eleocharis acicularis, Elsholtzia splendens Nakai ex Maekawa, Festuca rubra L., Lemna minor L., and Vallisneria
americana Michx.
7 Pb Alyssum wulfenienum Bernh., Arrhenatherum elatius (L.) Beauv., Chenopodium album L., Cepaefolium (Wulfen) Rouy & Fouc, Euphorbia
cheiradenia, Festuca ovina L., Hemidesmus indicus L., Thlaspi rotundifolium (L.) Gaudin ssp. Thlaspi caerulescens J. & C. Presl., and
Vetiveria zizanioides L.
8 Mn Agrostis castellana Boiss. & Reuter, Phytolacca americana L., and Schima superb
9 Hg Marrubium vulgare L. and Pistia stratiotes L.
10 Ni Alyssum bertolonii, Alyssum caricum, Alyssum corsicum, Alyssum heldreichii, Alyssum markgrai, Alyssum murale, Alyssum pterocarpum,
Alyssum serpyllifolium, Alyssum lesbiacum (Candargy) Rech. f., Agropyron elongatum (Host.)P. Beauv., Berkheya coddii, Isatis pinnatiloba,
Lemna minor L. and Thlaspi spp.
11 Se Brassica rapa L., Brassica spp (Wild type) and Lemna minor L.
12 U Chenopodium amaranticolor H.J.Coste & Reyn and Lolium perenne L.
13 Zn Brassica juncea L., Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers., Cardaminopsis spp., Eleocharis acicularis, and Thlaspi spp.
Table 3: List of hyperaccumulator species.
Sources: Jabeen et al., [62]; Vamerali et al., [76]; Ali et al., [19].
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for hyperaccumulation, according to which plants capable of
accumulating >100 mg/kg of Cd, 1000 mg/kg Ni, Cu, Co and Pb and
10,000 mg/kg of Zn and Mn in their shoots are hyperaccumulators. A
second criterion which can be used to identify hyperaccumulators is
based on BCF and TF. Plants having both BCF and TF values >1 can be
considered for hyperaccumulation [65]. is criterion is highly useful
in areas having low heavy metal contents. roughout the world
400-500 plant species belonging to families Brassicaceae, Asteraceae,
Caryophyllaceae, Fabaceae, Cyperaceae etc. have been identied as
hyperaccumulators [94]. Plants like laspi caerulescens, Alyssum
bertolonii, Arabidopsis halleri etc. are known hyperaccumulators of
Cd, Co, Ni, Pb, Zn etc. Table 3 represents some of the most prominent
hyperaccumulator plants. Usually the metal uptake in plants depends
on metal bioavailability to plants. But hyperaccumulation of metals
by plants is achieved by over expression of transport systems required
for enhanced sequestration, tissue-specic expressions of proteins
and high metal chelator concentration in soil [95].
e heavy metals once up taken by roots is either stored in
roots or translocated to the shoots [62]. e heavy metal tolerance
in plant tissues is governed by inter-related network of physiological
and molecular mechanisms which includes processes such as metal
exclusion, vacuolar compartmentalization, phytochelatin production,
metallothioneins secretion for metal chelation etc [96].
Although the natural metal absorption by plants is always
preferable, but it has some hurdles such as signicant reduction of
plant biomass while metal accumulation and inability of natural
mechanism to absorb insoluble fraction of metals in soil. erefore,
to overcome these drawbacks dierent chelators such as EDTA, citric
acid, EDDS etc. are used, which increases the metal solubility so that
leaching of metals can occur [97]. But some of these metal chelators
are non-biodegradable and can pollute the groundwater and soil.
Use of Metal Accumulating Plants
e plants that are used for phytoremediation can be used for
several purposes such as construction, incineration and Phytomining.
Phytomining is a process of extracting metals from hyperaccumulator
plants [19, 98]. In this process plant biomass which has accumulated
heavy metals is rst incinerated and the metals can be extracted from
ashes which are considered as bio-ore. e incineration process can
provide energy for vital functions.
Advantages of Phytoremediation
e concept of phytoremediation was rst given by Chaney [99]
and today this technique has gained acceptance worldwide. It is a
green and eco approach which overall improves the environment.
No secondary pollutants are generated in phytoremediation as plants
have highly ecient systems. is process is highly cost eective. For
example, Salt et al [100]. suggested that in order to clean up one acre
of soil (depth 50 cm) soil excavation USD 4,000,000 was required,
whereas phytoremediation only required USD 60,000 1,000,000.
Plants having high biomass and fast growth such as Jatropha, grasses,
willow etc. can be further used for economic purposes such as
construction, incineration etc. [101]. erefore, phytoremediation is
a durable and eective method for soil cleanup.
Limitations of Phytoremediation
Although phytoremediation is a very sustainable and
advantageous technology for decontamination of soil, there are certain
limitations to it also. First of all, this technology is highly dependent
on environmental conditions [58]. Plants which are considered
hyperaccumulators may only grow in certain environmental
conditions and certain seasons only. In that case rigorous research
is required to identify the plants which could accumulate metals in
dierent types of conditions. Secondly, phytoremediation is a very
slow process in comparison to other metal decontamination methods
[19]. irdly, this technology is more suitable in case of high biomass
producing plants and does not work very well with low biomass plants
[102]. Another major setback is the root system of plants. Plants
having extensive and spread root system (as in grasses) are more
capable in extracting metals from soil. On the contrary plants having
limited roots are not capable for metal uptake and accumulation [103,
104]. ere is also a high risk of food chain contamination, if proper
care is not taken [105].
Future Prospects
Phytoremediation is a reliable and environment friendly
technique for cleaning up of soil. Although recently most of the
research on phytoremediation is focused on laboratory based
experiments, but more emphasis should be given to plants growing in
wild and natural conditions which may provide better understanding
of metal accumulating plants [70]. Extensive research should be
focused on improving the metal uptake capabilities of weeds and
other plants growing in wild by application of various genetic and
biotechnological tools [106]. Lastly research must be focused on
utilizing the plant material used for phytoremediation in protable
process in order to make this technique a commercial success [19].
Combined Application of Vermiremediation
and Phytoremediation: Boost to Soil
Although both Vermiremediation and Phytoremediation are
distinct and very eective techniques for soil management, but if
used in combination these techniques can bring marvelous results.
In various contaminated environments (e.g. municipal dumpsites,
industrially polluted lands, agro-chemically contaminated soils etc.)
where soil is already aected by various pollutants, phytoremediation
provides a sustainable solution for extracting out the pollutants
and cleaning up the environment [19,62,76]. On the other hand
vermiremediation provides an instrumental solution for managing
the waste which can further contaminate that environment.
Vermiremediation also generates very useful products such as
vermicast and vermiwash [2,24]. ese products further supplement
phytoremediation by providing non-polluting nutrient source
for plants used in phytoremediation. It will enhance the growth
rate of plants and thus their phytoremediation potential. Also the
vermicast and vermiwash are very ecient alternatives for polluting
agrochemicals used in agriculture. us while decontaminating the
agricultural soil using plants, vermicast and vermiwash can be used to
enhance and maintain the soil nutrient pool. us, phenomenal results
can be achieved by using vermiremediation and phytoremediation in
e rising levels of pollutants (especially heavy metals) in soils
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pose severe risks to future generations. To fulll the requirements
of increasing human population many adverse and environmentally
dangerous methods are being used in every eld. Undoubtedly, these
unsustainable methods have increased human capacity to extract
more from nature, but this has also led to deterioration of nature.
erefore, there is urgent need for environment friendly techniques
such as Vermiremediation and Phytoremediation. Vermiremediaiton
is a very ecient technique of waste management and reduction. e
use of earthworms signicantly reduces the toxic substances from
the waste and decontaminates them. It also provides us manures and
vermiwash which are very good alternatives of chemical fertilizers.
e vermicompost generated during the process is a highly nutritious
product for plants which increases the fertility of soil and also enhances
microbial biomass in soil. On the other hand, phytoremediation
provides us a green solution for already contaminated soils. e use of
hyperaccumulating plants to extract metals from contaminated soils
is the best eco-friendly remedy available. e use of plants for metal
accumulation from soils is a highly ecient and cost eective system
in comparison to other methods of decontamination. e metals
stored in these plants can further be extracted out by phytomining
processes. e eciency of these metal accumulating plants can be
increased using various genetic tools also. us, these two techniques
i.e. vermiremediation and phytoremediation are best tools for waste
management, soil fertility enhancement and decontamination of
already contaminated sites. Further research must be carried out
to improve and explore these techniques, as they hold the key to
sustainable development.
Sartaj Ahmad Bhat is thankful to the UGC, New Delhi for UGC-
BSR Fellowship and Department of Botanical and Environmental
Sciences, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, Punjab, India for
providing research facility.
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Citation: Bhat SA, Bhatti SS, Singh J, Sambyal V, Nagpal A and Vig AP. Vermiremediation and Phytoremediation:
Eco Approaches for Soil Stabilization. Austin Environ Sci. 2016; 1(2): 1006.
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... The works indicated the linkages in three different ways. The researches of Tacon et al. [13], Stafford and Tacon [14][15][16], Nandeesha et al. [17], Mahajan et al. [18], Cruz [19], Khwairakpam and Bhargava [20], Joshi and Aga [31], Kesavan and Swaminathan [21], Chakrabarty et al. [22], Charyulu and Biswas [23], Sinha et al. [24], Adhikary [1], Srinivasrao et al. [9], Tah [25], Bhat et al. [26], and Basu and Sahoo [27] gave ideas of direct, indirect and composite initiative (i.e., after adding other ways with vermiculture) in generating entrepreneurial opportunity and employment subsequently. The present study captures the avenues through the works of the scholars. ...
... The ideas are placed directly or indirectly in these researches. The researches of Tacon et al. [13], Stafford and Tacon [14][15][16], Nandeesha et al. [17], Mahajan et al. [18], Cruz [19], Khwairakpam and Bhargava [20], Kesavan and Swaminathan [21], Chakrabarty et al. [22], Charyulu and Biswas [23], Sinha et al. [24], Adhikary [1], Srinivasrao et al. [9], Tah [25], Bhat et al. [26], and Basu and Sahoo [27] are mention-worthy in this direction. Direct employment generation ways through vermicompost or vermiwash came out in the works of Srinivasrao et al. [9] and Chattopadhyay [30], while the indirect possibilities came in the researches of Charyulu and Biswas [23], Adhikary [1], Tah [25], Srinivasrao et al. [9], Bhat et al. [26], and Basu and Sahoo [27]. ...
... The researches of Tacon et al. [13], Stafford and Tacon [14][15][16], Nandeesha et al. [17], Mahajan et al. [18], Cruz [19], Khwairakpam and Bhargava [20], Kesavan and Swaminathan [21], Chakrabarty et al. [22], Charyulu and Biswas [23], Sinha et al. [24], Adhikary [1], Srinivasrao et al. [9], Tah [25], Bhat et al. [26], and Basu and Sahoo [27] are mention-worthy in this direction. Direct employment generation ways through vermicompost or vermiwash came out in the works of Srinivasrao et al. [9] and Chattopadhyay [30], while the indirect possibilities came in the researches of Charyulu and Biswas [23], Adhikary [1], Tah [25], Srinivasrao et al. [9], Bhat et al. [26], and Basu and Sahoo [27]. The employment possibility created at the time of the production process of vermicompost or vermiwash is referred to as the direct employment possibility in the present study. ...
The present-day world focuses more on organic manures to get rid of the ill effects of chemical manures. In this context, Earth-Worm-based organic manure, vermicompost, and vermiwash are essential. The earth-worm-based manure replaces chemical manures and favors sustainable development through green practices. However, the present study is riding on the fact that vermi-products have good livelihood and entrepreneurship generating opportunities. The study captures the opportunities in four parts. The first part explored the potential entre-preneurial cum employment-generating opportunities through the works carried by different researchers, while the second captures the reports of different organizations and corporate bodies. The third part focuses on the opportunity analyzed through the author's field work's primary data. Finally, the fourth part tries to bring out all the possibilities of India's potential entrepreneurial cum employment generation possibilities by a modular approach.
... The definition of BAF used in the present study [34] is considered to be more informative when evaluating the ability of different taxa for phytoremediation than the definition presented by authors who considered only the concentration of elements in the roots [14]. The BAF is a highly descriptive factor of the phytoremediation potential, which reveals the ability of plants to store significant amounts of elements, such as metals and metalloids [35]. BAF values >1 for the accumulation of PTEs from soil to roots (BAFroot) indicate a high potential for phytostabilization activities in the plant species, while values >1 for the accumulation of these soil elements in the aerial parts or shoots (BAFshoot) reveal a high capacity for phytoextraction tasks in the plant species [35]. ...
... The BAF is a highly descriptive factor of the phytoremediation potential, which reveals the ability of plants to store significant amounts of elements, such as metals and metalloids [35]. BAF values >1 for the accumulation of PTEs from soil to roots (BAFroot) indicate a high potential for phytostabilization activities in the plant species, while values >1 for the accumulation of these soil elements in the aerial parts or shoots (BAFshoot) reveal a high capacity for phytoextraction tasks in the plant species [35]. ...
... TF values give us information about the mobility and transfer of elements in the plant, providing basic information about the accumulation mechanism of these elements in shoots from the roots [6]. TF values >1 indicate an elevated mobility of elements from roots to shoots and thus is a relevant indicator of the phytoextraction potential of the plant species [14,35]. Therefore, the feature of a phytoextractor is that both BAFshoot and TF are >1 [26,35], with those plants with higher TF values being better accumulators [11]. ...
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The study evaluates pollution by Pb, Zn, and Cr, and a possible sustainable solution through phytoremediation technologies, in the surroundings of Haina, a very polluted area of the Dominican Republic. Soils and plants were analyzed at 11 sampling points. After sample processing, the elemental composition was analyzed by ICP-OES. Soil metal concentrations, contaminating factors, pollution load indexes, and the Nemerow pollution index were assessed. Soil metal concentrations showed Pb > Zn > Cr, resulting in very strong Pb pollution and medium-impact Zn pollution, with an anthropogenic origin in some sites. This means that some agricultural and residential restrictions must be applied. Accumulation levels in plant tissues, bioaccumulation factors in roots and shoots, and translocation factors were determined for Acalypha alopecuroidea, Achyranthes aspera, Amaranthus dubius, Bidenspilosa, Heliotropium angiospermum, Parthenium hysterophorus, and Sida rhombifolia. The vast majority of the plants showed very low levels of the potentially toxic elements studied, although it may be advisable to take precautions before consumption as they are all considered edible, fodder, and/or medicinal plants. Despite their low rate of bioaccumulation, most of the plants studied could be suitable for the application of phytoremediation of Zn in the field, although further studies are needed to assess their potential for this.
... Vermi-composting is one of the best ways to not only enhance soil fertility but also reduce soil pollution (Ostos et al., 2008;Bhat et al., 2016). In the current study, cow dung manure was used for the vermi-compost production and our results are consistent with the findings of Acıkbas and Belliturk (2016) and Zahmacıoglu and Belliturk Mean AE Standard deviation designed with different superscripts indicated the significant difference among treatments. ...
... According to Ndegwa and Thompson (2000), the changes in pH of final vermi-compost are due to the decomposition of organic waste into organic acids. The observed EC values in our vermi-compost were 2.82 mS/cm and our results are consistent with Lazcano et al. (2008) and Bhat et al. (2016). They reported that EC below 4.0 mS/cm is a good indicator of the suitability and safety of vermin-compost for agricultural purposes. ...
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Vermi-composting is an environmental friendly and economic process to decompose organic waste. The objective of this study was to produce vermi-compost using Eisenia fetida and to investigate the impact of vermi-compost (VC) and organic manure (cow dung) on seed germination, seedlings, and growth parameters of Tagetes erecta. Physio-chemical parameters of vermi-compost and organic manure were recorded. A potting experiment was designed, germination medium containing soil, sand, and various concentrations of vermi-composts. The composition of germinating media was: TO (Sand + Soil), TCC (Sand + Soil + Cow dung), 10% VC (Sand + Soil + 0.1 kg VC), 15% VC (Sand + Soil + 0.15 kg VC), 20% VC (Sand + Soil + 0.2 kg VC), 25% VC (Sand + Soil + 0.25 kg VC), 30% VC (Sand + Soil + 0.3 kg VC), and 35% VC (Sand + Soil + 0.35 kg VC). Seed germination, seedling, vegetative plant growth, and flowering parameters were evaluated in different germinating media. Pre and post-physio-chemical parameters of germination media were also recorded to check their stability and quality. Results showed that 20% VC was effective for the early initiation of seed germination (2.0 ± 0.0 days) and all growth parameters of marigold seedlings. The germination percentage at 20% VC was recorded as 87.5 ± 1.40 %. The best vegetative plant growth and flowering parameters of marigold plants were observed with 35% VC after transplantation. Findings showed that vermi-compost is the best-suited germination and growing media, which not only improved the soil health but also promoted seed germination and plant growth. Our study undoubtedly indicates that vermi-compost is a more encouraging and advantageous bio-fertilizer and can be used as a powerful and effective for immediate marigold production.
... One is a direct remediation pathway in which earthworms actively (dietary uptake) or passively (dermal uptake) assimilate PTE [149]. The other way can be defined as indirect as the excavation and excretion activities (cast, mucus, calcium compounds, urine) of earthworms improve the soil's physical, chemical and biological fertility, thus favouring the health of the plants and their possible phytoextraction or phytoimmobilisation ability [154][155][156][157]. ...
Full-text available
The review deals with the environmental problem caused by low or moderate nickel concentrations in soils. The main effects of this potentially toxic element on the soil biota and the most common crop species are addressed. Moreover, the paper emphasises biological remediation methods against nickel pollution in European soils. The focus is on the well-accepted phytoremediation strategy alone or in combination with other more or less innovative bioremediation approaches such as microbial bioremediation, vermiremediation and the use of amendments and sequestrants. Results acquired in real field and laboratory experiments to fight against nickel contamination are summarised and compared. The main objective was to evidence the ability of the above natural techniques to reduce the nickel concentration in contaminated sites at a not-risky level. In conclusion, the examined works agree that the efficiency of phytoremediation could be implemented with co-remediation approaches, but further studies with clear and comparable indices are strongly recommended to meet the challenges for future application at a large scale.
... Thus, while fumigating the agricultural soil wielding plants, vermicast and vermiwash can be used to escalate and perpetuate the soil vittles pool. Thus, sensational results can be accomplished by using vermiremediation and phytoremediation in tandem [17]. Vermiremediations is a newly apprised technology that centers upon the postulate of strong environmental engineering. ...
Full-text available
The phylum Annelida is comprised of soft bodied soil inhabitating creatures called as Earthworms. These creatures possess immense capability of enhancing soil fertility by tilling soil and making it highly porous and available for gaseous exchange and nutrient absorption making it more fertile. They contribute majorly and indirectly to field of biotechnology through process of Vermiculture, Vermicomposting, Vermifilteration, Vermiremediation and Vermiwash formation. Through process of Vermicomposting earthworms performs bioconversion of plant's parts litter by breaking them down and further incorporating them into the soil, potentially effective economic fertilizers through inculcation of biotechnological approach as well. In this study, we summarize the function of earthworms as key role players in field of agriculture biotechnology and as ecosystem service providers.
... Organic contaminants can inhibit plant growth through phytotoxicity, as indicated by stress responses, which can be molecular, physiological, and/or metabolic (Zhang et al., 2012). Negative responses to plant growth and metabolism decrease the potential to accumulate, absorb, and detoxify chemicals by metabolic processes characterised by plant oxidative enzymes (Bhat et al., 2016). Therefore, any factor that alters plant growth or metabolism will also affect the phytoremediation process (Mitton et al., 2014). ...
Symbiosis among herbicide-metabolising microorganisms and phytoremediation plants may be an efficient alternative to remediate sulfentrazone-contaminated soils. This work evaluated the bioremediation of sulfentrazone-contaminated soils by symbiosis between bacteria (Bradyrhizobium sp.) and jack bean (Canavalia ensiformis L.). The experiment was carried out in a greenhouse between March and May of 2018, in the Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo (UFES). Four doses of sulfentrazone (0, 400, 800, and 1200 g ha⁻¹ a. i.) were tested with and without inoculation with Bradyrhizobium sp. BR 2003 (SEMIA 6156) After 80 days of cultivation, plants were cut and soil was collected for determination of the herbicide residual levels and millet bioassay. The sulfentrazone concentration was significantly reduced by plant inoculation with Bradyrhizobium sp.: on average, concentrations were 18.97%, 23.82%, and 22.10% lower than in the absence of inoculation at doses of 400, 800, and 1200 g ha⁻¹, respectively. Symbiosis promoted a reduction of up to 65% in residual soil herbicides. Under the 1200 g ha⁻¹ dose, inoculation promoted greater plant height than in the uninoculated plant. Regardless of the dose of sulfentrazone, the dry root mass was higher in the inoculated plants. The microbiological indicators showed satisfactory results mainly for the dose of 400 g ha⁻¹. The results of this study highlight the potential of positive interactions between symbiotic microorganisms and leguminous species, aiming toward the phytoremediation of sulfentrazone herbicide.
... These plants can accumulate, absorb and detoxify chemical substances from the site through their metabolic processes (plant oxidative enzymes). Non-toxic substances can be produced by some phytoremediation mechanisms such as phytostabilization, phytotransformation, phytovolatilization, phytofiltration and phytoextraction (Bhat et al. 2016). Table 3. Plants can accrue or metabolize a variety of organic compounds, including, imidacloprid (Byrne and Toscano 2005), triazophos (Cheng et al. 2007), chlorpyrifos (Prasertsup and Naiyanan 2011;Romeh and Hendawi 2013), methyl parathion (Khan et al. 2011) and atrazine (Wang et al. 2012). ...
Pesticides contamination in the environment presents a real hazard to human beings and other aquatic and terrestrial life. If not controlled, the contamination can lead to serious problems to the environment. In order to keep this contamination at a low level, some sustainable and cost-effective alternatives methods are required. Remediation techniques, such as microbial remediation and phytoremediation are reliable and efficient methods that utilize microbes and plants to eliminate the pesticide residues in the environment. These techniques offer useful and effective alternatives to physical and chemical remediation processes for being economically and ecologically sustainable. This chapter discusses present remediation techniques for the removing of pesticides from the natural environment.
The pronounced and major effects of contamination of the environment with heavy metals and other xenobiotic compounds have become a major problem worldwide. Soil contaminated with heavy metals poses serious threat to plants, animals as well as human health. Heavy metals due to their toxicity reduces the soil fertility, affects the plant photosynthetic efficiency, reduces yield of the crops, and causes nutrient imbalance. Phytoremediation an eco-friendly, clean, and green technology helps to remove contaminants from the polluted soils. The use of beneficial microorganisms along with plants is considered as an effective method for increasing the efficiency of remediation of contaminated soils. Earthworms also play an important role in remediation process. Interaction of plants with microflora plays a vital role in bioavailability of the metals and their bioaccumulation in plants.
Fly ash is the end product of burnt powdered coal. It has created various environmental problems and many health issues. So to control its negative impacts, earthworm-assisted technology (vermicomposting) was used for converting the fly ash into valuable manure. It was studied that it is not only changing the substrate from one form to another but also capable of improving its physicochemical properties such as pH, electrical conductivity (EC), and total organic carbon (TOC). It had been confirmed to increase all the nutrient contents such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK), which are required for good agricultural purposes. It was also found to have the capacity to remove heavy metals from the fly ash samples. Thus, this chapter has mainly focused on the utilization and management of fly ash through earthworms.
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Heavy metals neither are biodegradable materials nor are created. They occur naturally in earth crust and they reach in environment by the human activities (El-Kady & Abdel-Wahhab, 2018). Heavy metals are important elements for physiological and biological functions of plants, including biosynthesis of proteins, growth substances, nucleic acids, synthesis of chlorophyll and secondary metabolites(Latheef & Soundhirarajan, 2018), but the toxicity of heavy metals can reduce the plant growth and high level of the presence of these heavy metals are risk to human health(Khan et al., 2008). Present study is mainly focused on two heavy metals e.g. Mercury and Arsenic, and includes biotoxic effects on plants. Plant growth mechanism and biochemical activities are discussed along with eco approaches of remediation of heavy metals from soil are also presented in this paper e.g. vermiremediation and phytoremediation.
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The aim of this work was to study the effect of different organic wastes, viz. cow dung, grass, aquatic weeds and municipal solid waste with lime and microbial inoculants on chemical and biochemical properties of vermicompost. Cow dung was the best substrate for ver-micomposting. Application of lime (5 g/kg) and inoculation of microorganisms increased the nutrient content in vermicompost and also phosphatases and urease activities. Bacillus polymyxa, the free-living N-fixer, increased N-content of vermicompost significantly (p 6 0.01) as compared to other inoculants.
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The present paper discusses the role of earthworms in recycling of sugar industrial wastes. The wastes generated from sugar industry are pressmud, bagasse, bagasse fly ash, sugar cane trash, sugar beet mud, sugar beet pulp, molasses etc. These wastes when mixed with other organic substrates become ideal mixtures for growth of earthworms. These wastes if stored in open field’s causes contamination in the environment and may cause several diseases in public health. But the governments have been unable to tackle the menace of solid waste pollution due to dearth of appropriate technologies, finance and space. Therefore, environment friendly and cost effective technologies for nutrient recycling or remediation of wastes are being advocated as an alternative means for conserving and replenishing natural resources of the ecosystems. Vermicomposting is one such technology that synergises microbial degradation with earthworm’s activity for reducing, reusing and recycling waste materials in a shorter span of time. Earthworm technology can convert sugar industrial wastes into valuable fertilizing material. The final product (vermicompost) produced during the process of vermicomposting is nutrient rich organic fertilizer with plant available nutrients such as nitrogen, potassium, calcium and phosphorus. In the present study an attempt has been made to document the role of earthworms in reuse of sugar industry waste.
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Berseem (Trifolium alexandrinum) is one of the main fodder crops of Punjab, India. But due to the heavy metal contamination of agricultural soils by anthropogenic activities, there is rise in metal bioaccumulation in crops like Berseem. In addition to human influence, heavy metal contents in soil are highly dependent on soil characteristics also. Therefore a study was conducted in areas having intensive agricultural practices to analyze physico-chemical characteristics of soils under Berseem cultivation and heavy metal bioaccumulation in Berseem. The studied soils were alkaline, sandy in texture and low in soil organic matter. Among the studied heavy metals (Cr, Cu, Cd, Co and Pb) in soil and Berseem, Cr content in Berseem was found to be above maximum permissible limits. Soil to Berseem metal bioaccmulation factor (BAF) was above 1 for Cr, Cu, Cd and Co in many samples and highest BAF was found for Co (4.625). Hence it can be concluded that Berseem from studied areas was unsafe for animal consumption.
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A field trial was conducted on upland rice (var, TRC-87-251) using different doses of vermicompost to determine its significance in yield of rice. The control plot received neither vermicompost nor chemical fertilizer. The experimental plots received three different treatments, viz. different doses of vermicompost, the same along with recommended doses of NPK and only NPK. Significant increase in both grain and straw yield coupled with improvement in soil aggregation, water use efficiency and nutrient uptake were recorded in vermicompost treated plots compared with the control and NPK treated plots. The effects of 10 to 15 tonnes vermicompost/ha and supplementation of NPK with 5-10 tonnes vermicompost/ha on grain and straw yield were not significantly different. Recommended doses of NPK along with 5 to 10 tonnes of vermicompost led to high increase in the uptake of nutrients. From this it could be deduced that a minimum of 10 tonnes vermicompost or 5 tonnes vermicompost plus NPK per hectare may bring about a significant increase in production of rice grain and straw respectively in upland paddy besides amelioration of the soil physicochemical properties.
Valorization process involves transforming low value materials like wastes into high value added products. The current study aims to determine the potential of using valorization process such as vermicomposting technology to convert palm oil mill by-product, namely decanter cake (DC) into organic fertilizer or vermicompost. The maturity of the vermicompost was characterized through various chemical and instrumental characterization to ensure the end product was safe and beneficial for agricultural application. The vermicomposting of DC showed significantly higher nutrient recovery and decreases in C/N ratio in comparison with the controls, particularly in the treatment with 2 parts DC and 1 part rice straw (w/w) (2DC:1RS). 2DC:1RS vermicompost had C/N ratio of 9.76±012 and reasonably high levels of calcium (1.13±0.05 g/kg), potassium (25.47±0.32 g/kg), magnesium (4.87±0.19 g/kg) sodium (7.40±0.03 g/kg) and phosphorus (3.62±0.27 g/kg). In addition, instrumental characterization also revealed higher degree of maturity in the vermicompost. Ratios of 2921/1633 and DTG2/DTG3 also showed significant linear correlations with C/N ratio, implying that those ratios could be used to characterize the progression of vermicompost maturity during valorization process of DC.
A field experiment was conducted during rabi season of 2009 to find out the effect of integrated use of organic manures (farmyard manure and vermicompost), inorganic fertilizers and biofertilizers (phosphate solubilizing bacteria and Azotobacter) on growth, yield of and nutrient uptake by onion (Allium cepa L.) and nutrient build up in the soil. Application of 50% N through vermicompost + 25% N through urea + PSB + Azotobacter registered significantly higher yield of onion (74.85 q ha-1) and nutrient uptake (N, P, K and S) as compared to other treatments. After completion of experiment, the highest available N, P, K and S concentration (248.6, 19.7, 230 and 12.13 Kg ha-1, respectively) were recorded in the case of the treatment consisted of 50% N through vermicompost + 25% N through urea + PSB + Azotobacter (T6). Furthermore, the use of organic manures showed a significant improvement in soil physico-chemical properties (bulk density, water holding capacity, porosity, pH and EC) and residual nutrients concentration (N, P, K and S). Soil inoculation by P-solubilizers and Azotobacter alongwith FYM or vermicompost showed a remarkable increase in residual soil fertility status over the treatments which received FYM or vermicompost alone. The use of FYM and vermicompost has also showed a significant increase in soil fertility status over chemical fertilizers alone. The Azotobacter with organic manures can substitute the N requirement of plant to the extent of 25% without compromising with the yield, makes it a better integration in the present day context to sustain soil health and productivity to achieve better yield.