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Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering

Front. Environ. Sci. Eng.    2020, Vol. 14 Issue (4) : 61
Sugarcane bagasse amendment improves the quality of green waste vermicompost and the growth of Eisenia fetida
Linlin Cai, Xiangyang Sun(), Dan Hao, Suyan Li, Xiaoqiang Gong, Hao Ding, Kefei Yu
College of Forestry, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, China
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•Earthworms were able to convert green waste into more plant-available nutrients.

•The part of heavy metals content increased in the compost added by earthworm.

•The addition of SCB to GW did enhance earthworm biomass and humic acid content.

•The resulting vermicomposts were characterized by neutral pH and lower EC value.

Vermicomposting is a feasible method for disposing of lignocellulosic waste while generating a useful product. The current study assessed the potential of vermicomposting green waste mixed with sugarcane bagasse in proportions of 25%, 50%, and 75% (v:v, based on dry weight). The suitability was evaluated based on the agrochemical properties, earthworm biomass, and phytotoxicity. The final vermicomposts exhibited near-neutral pH values (7.1–7.6), and lower EC values (0.43–0.72 mS/cm) and C:N ratios (14.1–19.9).The content of available nutrients and CEC for all the vermicomposts exceeded those of the control compost (without earthworms). For vermicomposts, the average values of NO3-N, AP, AK, and CEC were 53, 517, 1362 mg/kg, and 158 cmol/kg, respectively. The total contents of heavy metals increased in all vermicompost treatments compared to control composts with the following average final percentages: Zn (2.0%), Cr (15.5%), Pb (23.4%), and Cu (44.3%), but these amounts were safe for application in agroforestry. The addition of sugarcane bagasse to green waste significantly increased the content of total humic substance, humic acid and urease activity, acid and alkaline phosphatase activity, and Eiseniafetida reproduction. The addition of 25% sugarcane bagasse to green waste decreased the toxicity to germinating seeds. These results revealed that vermicomposting is a feasible way to degrade green waste into a value-added chemical product.

Keywords Green waste      Earthworms      Sugarcane bagasse      Vermicomposting      Nutrient recovery     
Corresponding Author(s): Xiangyang Sun   
Issue Date: 01 April 2020
 Cite this article:   
Linlin Cai,Xiangyang Sun,Dan Hao, et al. Sugarcane bagasse amendment improves the quality of green waste vermicompost and the growth of Eisenia fetida[J]. Front. Environ. Sci. Eng., 2020, 14(4): 61.
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Linlin Cai
Xiangyang Sun
Dan Hao
Suyan Li
Xiaoqiang Gong
Hao Ding
Kefei Yu
Treatment GWa(%, based on dry weight) SCBa(%, based on dry weight) Earthworms
T1 50 50 No
T2 100 0 No
T3 25 75 Yes
T4 50 50 Yes
T5 75 25 Yes
T6 100 0 Yes
Tab.1  The experimental design
Treatmenta pH ECc (mS/cm) C:N TOC (g/kg) TKN (g/kg) AN (g/kg)
GW 5.9 (0)d 1.10 (0.01) 34 (1) 480 (3) 13.8 (0.2) 0.59 (0.02)
SCB 6.5 (0) 0.35 (0.01) 161(11) 554 (1) 3.5 (0) 0.34 (0.02)
T1 7.6 (0.2)ab 0.82 (0.10)b 15.0 (0.4)c 323 (2)c 21.5 (0.7)b 0.65 (0.02)b
T2 7.7 (0.1)a 1.37 (0.13)a 11.7(0.2)e 272 (4)d 23.3 (0.1)a 0.76 (0.03)a
T3 7.1 (0.1)c 0.43 (0.02)e 19.9 (0.6)a 354 (8)a 17.8 (0.4)d 0.48 (0.02)d
T4 7.4(0.1)b 0.56 (0.10)de 17.3 (0.7)b 338 (14)b 19.6 (0.4)c 0.57 (0.02)c
T5 7.5 (0.1)ab 0.62 (0.06)cd 14.8 (0.2)cd 317 (6)c 21.5 (0.2)b 0.68 (0.02)b
T6 7.6 (0.1)a 0.72 (0.02)bc 14.1 (0.5)d 312.15 (8.75)c 22.2 (0.3)b 0.73 (0.02)a
IRb ≤3.00 ≤20
Treatment NH4+-N (mg/kg) NO3-N (mg/kg) NH4+-N/NO3-N ratio CEC (cmol/kg) AP (g/kg) AK (g/kg)
GW 72.9 (1.5) 20.6 (1.5) 25.8 (0.2) 0.48 (0.02) 1.7 (0)
SCB 5.2 (0.2) 2.5 (0) 30.9 (0.2) 0.23 (0.02) 1.2 (0)
T1 6.4 (0.1)d 57.3 (4.7)b 0.13 (0.01)c 127.5 (1.4)e 0.40 (0.03)b 1.6 (0.2)ab
T2 51.5 (2.4)b 44.4 (3.6)d 1.22 (0.43)b 145.8 (3.3)c 0.59 (0.12)a 1.5 (0)abc
T3 6.6 (0.2)d 51.0 (1.0)c 0.13 (0.03)c 183.8 (7.2)a 0.37 (0.08)b 0.9 (0.1)d
T4 6.6 (0.2)d 41.5 (1.0)d 0.16 (0.01)c 161.1 (2.4)b 0.52 (0.04)a 1.4 (0.2)c
T5 41.5 (1.0)c 86.2 (4.0)a 0.48 (0.09)c 137.6 (4.7)d 0.58 (0.01)a 1.5 (0)bc
T6 75.3 (2.2)a 33.0 (0.5)e 2.31 (0.36)a 151.0 (3.6)c 0.60 (0.04)a 1.8 (0.1)a
IRb 0.50–3.00 ≥60
Treatment Fe (g/kg) Cu (mg/kg) Mn (mg/kg) Zn (mg/kg)
GW 2.4 (0) 183.8 (44.1) 67.6 (1.7) 324.5 (14.8)
SCB 0.4 (0.2) 106.0 (21.2) 67.8 (2.9) 340.9 (45.7)
T1 3.0 (0.8)a 73.0 (34.9)c 98.8 (8.8)a 472.0 (34.40)b
T2 3.2 (0.4)a 98.9 (25.5)bc 95.0 (3.2)a 424.5 (25.2)bc
T3 2.4 (0.3)a 120.1 (39.4)abc 88.6 (9.4)a 365.5 (89.4)bc
T4 3.1 (0.5)a 148.4 (30.8)ab 97.2 (4.5)a 355.6 (48.5)c
T5 3.9 (2.0)a 174.3 (52.1)a 99.8 (20.8)a 363.8 (93.4)bc
T6 2.4 (0.4)a 174.9 (11.0)a 87.7 (6.4)a 744.8 (56.5)a
Tab.2  Selected chemical properties of sugarcane bagasse (SCB) and green waste (GW), and of the final composts
Fig.1  Humus substances (HS), humic acid (HA) and fulvic acid (FA) concentrations and humification indexes at the end of different treatment trials, including humification rate (HR), percentage of HA (PHA), and degree of polymerization (DP). Values are means±SE (n = 3). Means with different letters are significantly different at P≤0.05 according to Tukey’s HSD test.
Treatment Dehydrogenase (μg/g/24 h) Alkaline Phosphatase (μmol/g/h) Acid Phosphatase (μmol/g/h)
T1 822.5 (0.2)ac 16.9 (0.1)c 17.7 (0)e
T2 1398.9 (0.1)a 18.3 (0.1)b 18.9 (0.1)c
T3 1186.4 (0.5)b 16.9 (0.5)c 20.6 (0)a
T4 502.1 (0.1)f 18.0 (0.5)b 18.7 (0)d
T5 691.5 (0.8)d 22.6 (0.1)a 20.5 (0.1)a
T6 651.6 (0.2)e 18.2 (0.1)b 20.0 (0)b
Treatment Urease (mg/g/h) Cellulase (mg/g/h) β-glucosidase (μmol/g/h)
T1 393.8 (12.0)f 5.5 (0.3)a 23.6 (0.6)a
T2 403.7 (0.7)e 2.2 (0.5)b 15.4 (1.0)d
T3 501.6 (1.5)d 1.1 (0.1)c 21.0 (0.9)b
T4 869.9 (1.1)c 1.6 (0.5)c 12.4 (2.6)e
T5 1029.5 (2.5)a 1.2 (0.3)c 17.6 (0.1)c
T6 935.6 (2.6)b 1.2 (0.1)c 11.4 (0.3)e
Tab.3  Dehydrogenase, alkaline phosphatase, acid phosphatase, urease, cellulase, and β-glucosidase activity in the final composts
Fig.2  Total heavy contents of Cr, Ni, and Pb at the beginning and at the end of composting/vermicomposting. Values are means±standard errors (n = 3). Means with same letters are not significantly different at P≤0.05 according to Tukey’s HSD test. Uppercase and lowercase letters are used to denote significant differences between different treatments at the beginning and end of composts/vermicomposts.
Treatment Radish Lettuce
SGR (%) RRE (%) GI (%)a RSG (%) RRE (%) GI (%)a
T1 90 (0)bc 100 (4)cd 90 (3)c 84 (0)c 82 (6)b 69 (5)c
T2 90 (0)c 104 (1)c 93 (1)c 89 (5)bc 76 (1)c 68 (4)c
T3 97 (6)ab 96 (3)d 93 (8)c 91 (3)ab 104 (1)a 95 (3)a
T4 93 (6)bc 137 (0)a 128 (8)a 91 (3)ab 66 (1)d 60 (2)d
T5 100 (0)a 135 (2)a 135 (2)a 96 (3)a 83 (0)b 80 (3)b
T6 100 (0)a 114 (5)b 114 (5)b 70 (3)d 81 (0)b 57 (3)d
Tab.4  Seed germination rate (SGR), relative root elongation (RRE), and germination index (GI) of the final composts
Treatment Number of adults Weight of adults (g) Number of hatchlings Number of cocoons
T1 0 0 0 0
T2 0 0 0 0
T3 7.0 (1.0)ad 3.6 (0.3)d 177 (8)d 9.0 (1.0)c
T4 19.7 (1.5)b 10.2 (0.4)b 301 (11)b 24.7 (3.2)b
T5 27.0 (1.0)a 15.9 (0.5)a 344 (15)a 41.3 (2.5)a
T6 11.0 (1.0)c 5.8 (0.3)c 210 (10)c 12.0 (1.0)c
Tab.5  The number of earthworm adults, hatchlings, and cocoons (Eisenia fetida) and the weight of adults per replicate box (containing about 8 L of material) of the final vermicompost
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