A case study of woody leaf litter vermicompost as a promising calcium fertilizer

Ksenia Petrochenko1, Alexander Kurovsky1, Anna Godymchuk2,3, Andrey Babenko1, Yury Yakimov1, Alexander Gusev4,5
1 Tomsk State University, 634050 Tomsk, Russian Federation
2 Tomsk Polytechnic University, 634050 Tomsk, Russian Federation
3 Tobolsk Complex Scientific Station, Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Science, 626152 Tobolsk, Russian Federation
4 National University of Science and Technology “MISIS”, 119049 Moscow, Russian Federation
5 G.R. Derzhavin Tambov State University, 392000 Tambov, Russian Federation


Petrochenko, K., Kurovsky, A., Godymchuk, A., Babenko, A., Yakimov, Y., & Gusev, A. (2019). A case study of woody leaf litter vermicompost as a promising calcium fertilizer. Bulgarian Journal of Agricultural Science, 25(4), 646–653

Vermicomposting of organic wastes aimed to obtain fertilizers and other beneficial substances is of major importance in modern bioresource technologies. Earthworms Eisenia fetida may be used for the decomposition of woody leaf litter from Southwestern Siberia. We have analyzed physicochemical and rhizogenic properties of peat moss vermicomposts obtained from tree leaf litter substrate ofpoplar, Populus nigra L., willow, Salix fragilis L., and birch, Betula pendula Roth., compared to traditional horse manure-based substrate. There is a determination of рН, electroconductivity (EC), K+, Ca2+, and NO3--concentrations in water extracts of initial pure substrates (manure and litter) as well as their mixtures with peat moss before and after three-weeks vermicomposting. Among water extracts of prepared peat-based vermicomposts and substrates “manure…poplar…willow…birch”, having ЕС of 165…121…100…95 µS.cm-1, рН – 7.0…7.4…7.3…7.2, NO3--ions of 87…22…19…12 [mEq.kg-1 of dry weight] and Ca2+/K+ ratio – 0.47…6…4.5…4, respectively, we have chosen mostly Ca-enriched vermicompost of peat moss and poplar leaf litter (Ca2+-concentration till 100 [mEq.kg-1 of dry weight). The sprouting of wheat seeds and isolated potato shoots using poplar leaf litter vermicompost extracts resulted in a significant increase (18 and 28%) in the relative weight of the roots compared to the seeds and shoots grown on tap water (12 and 14%) and horse manure vermicompost extracts (12 and 19%).

Keywords: vermiculture; Eisenia fetida; leaf litter; Siberian; woody species; vermicompost; peat moss

See the article as a PDF.