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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Vermicomposting of food waste: assessing the stability and maturity

Monireh Majlessi1, Akbar Eslami1, Hossein Najafi Saleh2*, Simin Mirshafieean1 and Sara Babaii3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Environmental Health Engineering, School of Public health, ShahidBeheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Environmental Health Engineering, School of Public Health, Neyshabour University of Medical Science, Neyshabour, Iran

3 Department of Environmental Health Engineering, School of Public health, Zanjan University of Medical Sciences, Zanjan, Iran

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Iranian Journal of Environmental Health Science & Engineering 2012, 9:25  doi:10.1186/1735-2746-9-25

Published: 13 December 2012

Abstract

The vermicompost using earthworms (Eisenia Fetida) was produced from food waste and chemical parameters (EC, pH, carbon to nitrogen contents (C/N)) and germination bioassay was examined in order to assess the stability and maturity indicators during the vermicomposting process. The seed used in the germination bioassay was cress. The ranges of EC, pH, C/N and germination index were 7.5-4.9 mS/cm, 5.6-7.53, 30.13-14.32% and 12.8-58.4%, respectively. The germination index (GI) value revealed that vermicompost rendered as moderate phytotoxic to cress seed. Pearson correlation coefficient was used to evaluate the relationship between the parameters. High statistically significant correlation coefficient was calculated between the GI value and EC in the vermicompost at the 99% confidence level. The C/N value showed that the vermicompost was stable. As a result of these observations, stability test alone, was not able to ensure high vermicompost quality. Therefore, it appears that determining vermicompost quality requires a simultaneous use of maturity and stability tests.

Keywords:
Vermicomposting; Food waste; Stabilityindex; Maturityindex; Germination index