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A. B. Singh, Asit Mandal, J. K. Thakur, Asha Sahu, Sudeshna Bhattacharjya and Ashok K. Patra
ICAR-Indian Institute of Soil Science, Bhopal, India
Part of the book: Research Advancements in Organic Farming
Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.52305/XLVW8171
Composting is a process of biological conversion of organic wastes (crop residues, animal wastes, food garbage and some organic municipal wastes) to a product that is biologically stable with higher manurial value. Compost is one of the vital components of organic farming which is beneficial for enhancing plant growth, improving organic carbon, and plant nutrient status of the soil. The addition of compost to the soil increases soil biological activity, augments soil biodiversity by addition of organic carbon, enhances moisture retention and thus, reduces soil erosion. Vermicomposting is a promising technique to rapidly convert huge amount of organic waste to compost using suitable earthworms species. It is a sustainable approach to protect the soil health, reduce waste volume and detoxify the harmful ingredients present in the wastes. It also helps to convert the biowaste including farm waste into nutrient-enriched organic fertilizers for plant growth. The final product of vermicomposting, has a potential manurial value that is the mixture of humus-like material and mineral substances derived by the activity of earthworms and microflora. Vermicompost can enhance soil fertility by improving physical, chemical and biological properties of soil. Vermicompost-treated soil has better aeration, porosity, bulk density and water retention and it also improves available plant macronutrients (NPK), micronutrients and beneficial soil microbes (nitrogen fixing and phosphate solubilizing bacteria and actinomycetes), thus a sustainable alternative to chemical fertilizers. It is a key component of organic farming for improving crop productivity and soil health. Microbial enrichment of vermicompost by the addition of biofertilizers and bioinoculants further improves the nutrient supplementing potential of vermicompost and also enhances microbial proliferation, mineralization, uptake and availability of plant nutrients. Vermicomposting is gradually emerging as a potential technology for recycling of bio-waste to quality organic manures and is also used at commercial level with popularization and awareness about organic farming. Keepping in mind the above aspects, the present chapter attempted to highlight the potential of compost and vermicompost for organic farming, soil health sustainability and ecosystem benefits.
Keywords: organic farming, organic waste, composting, vermicomposting, soil health
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