Assessing the changes in E. coli levels and nutrient dynamics during vermicomposting of food waste under lab and field scale conditions

Wenlong Cao, Venkata Vaddella, Sagor Biswas, Katherine Perkins, Cameron Clay, Tong Wu, Yawen Zheng, Pius Ndegwa, Pramod Pandey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Vermicomposting (VC) has proven to be a promising method for treating garden, household, and municipal wastes. Although the VC has been used extensively for converting wastes into fertilizers, pathogens such as Escherichia coli (E. coli) survival during this process is not well documented. In this study, both lab and field scale experiments were conducted assessing the impacts of earthworms in reducing E. coli concentration during VC of food waste. In addition, other pertinent parameters such as temperature, carbon and nitrogen content, moisture content, pH, volatile solids, micronutrients (P, K, Ca, Mg, and S), and heavy metals (Zn, Mn, Fe, and Cu) were monitored during the study. The lab and field scale experiments were conducted for 107 and 103 days, respectively. The carbon to nitrogen ratio (C/N) decreased by 54 % in the lab scale study and by 36 % in the field study. Results showed that VC was not significantly effective in reducing E. coli levels in food waste under both lab and field scale settings. The carbon to nitrogen ratio (C/N) decreased by 54 % in the lab scale study and by 36 % in the field study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23195-23202
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Volume23
Issue number22
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016

Keywords

  • C/N ratio
  • E. coli
  • Eisenia fetida
  • Food waste
  • Vermicomposting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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