Nutrient recovery from pineapple waste through controlled batch and continuous vermicomposting systems
Komakech, Allan John
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The largest portion of pineapple peels and pulp generated from production points is disposed of haphazardly contributing to a number of environmental and health challenges. However, these wastes contain valuable plant nutrients that could be recovered to boost soil fertility, and increase agricultural production. This study evaluated the variation in physico-chemical parameters in batch and continuous vermicomposting systems as potential pathways for nutrient recovery from pineapple waste. The study compared the efficiency of waste reduction and nutrient recovery for batch (B), and continuous (C) vermicomposting systems during a 60-day period. The substrates were pineapple peels (PW), and cattle manure (CM) fed in a ratio of 4:1 (w/w). Control reactors were fed with 100% CM in both the feeding modes. Results indicated that waste degradation was 60%, and 54% while earthworm biomass increased by 57% and 129% for BPW, and CPW, respectively. pH significantly decreased with time in both systems. Total phosphorous increased with vermicomposting time with that of B being significantly higher than C systems. Nitrogen, potassium, and sodium significantly increased in the control experiments while the three elements significantly reduced for BPW, and CPW owing to high leachate production in the latter. The N, P, K, and C retention in vermicompost was 24.2%, 90.4%, 67.5%, 41.1%, and 32.6%, 91.2%, 79.3%, 46.1%, for BPW and CPW, respectively. Continuous systems produced higher earthworm biomass and retained more nutrients in vermicompost than batch systems, and can therefore, be recommended as better systems for pineapple waste vermicomposting.
- Natural Sciences