Does substrate quality affect earthworm growth and reproduction patterns in vermicomposting systems? A study using three popular composting earthworms
Efforts were made to evaluate the impact of substrate materials (crop residues + sheep manure, cowshed manure, and kitchen waste + leaf litter) on growth and reproduction performance of composting earthworms: Eudrilus eugeniae, Perionyx excavatus and Perionyx sansibaricus, under laboratory conditions. Results indicated that earthworm biomass and cocoon production rate was directly related to the type of earthworm species as well as nature of worm feedstuff. Although cocoon hatchling success did not show any relation with type of culture material, but hatchlings numbers cocoon−1 was directly related with quality of substrate. This study suggests that earthworm production can be managed by using feedstuff having higher nitrogen contents with low C:N ratios.
Keywords: organic waste, vermiculture, Eudrilus eugeniae, Perionyx excavatus, Perionyx sansibaricus, cocoon, hatchlings success, hatchling numbers per cocoon, substrate quality, earthworm growth, reproduction patterns, vermicomposting, composting earthworms, solid waste management