The Application of Active Sewage Sludge on the Vermicomposting of Agricultural Waste

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Tarbiat Modares University

2 Recycle Organization of Mashhad Municipality


In this experiment, active sewage sludge was inoculated in organic waste. The objective was to study its effect on nutrient dynamics during vermicomposting. Active sewage sludge, as a source of nitrogen fixing and phosphorous solubilizing bacteria, was added in four combinations to the vermicomposting substrate. Prior to inoculation with active sludge, the treatments were precomposted for 30 days and finally vermicomposted for 40 days. Results showed that inoculation of microorganisms in the substrate accompanied by earthworms’ activity enhances the organic waste biodegradation rate. Increasing sludge concentration from 0 to 6000 mg/l led to reduced Total Organic Carbon from 32.76 to 29.91%, Total Volatile Solids from 49.85 to 48/02%, and C/N ratio from 19.59 to 16.06 but increased Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen from 1.68 to 1.87%, nitrate from 1476.75 to 1699.60 mg/kg, Total Phosphorous from 1.66 to 1.77 g/kg, and Electrical Conductivity from 3.10 to 3.48 mS/cm. By increasing the concentration of sewage sludge, heavy metals content also increased significantly due to the enhanced organic matter biodegradation. Finally, the results showed that, among the treatments, the one with an active sewage sludge concentration of 6000 mg/l had more desirable effects on the final vermicompost quality. Based on the reproducibility of the process and the quality of the final products, this experimental procedure may be proposed for studies requiring a mass reduction in the initial composted waste mixtures.


Main Subjects

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