Vermicomposting of aquatic weeds: A quick review
Aquatic plants play an important role in ecosystem functioning and services but they can also be deleterious if present in excess. The different anthropogenic activities result in accumulation of nutrients in aquatic ecosystems leads to eutrophication with massive weed growth and associated diverse adverse effects. Effective control/management of weeds in different aquatic systems is not only difficult but of short duration. The commonly used methods to manage/control the aquatic weeds are biological, chemical and mechanical, in addition to habitat manipulation. However, these methods can be highly disruptive causing adverse environmental effects and are relatively inefficient. On the other hand different species of earthworms can feed on wide range of weeds and convert them into stable product called vermicompost, rich in plant nutrients. Among different aquatic weeds the most extensively vermicomposted weed is water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes (Mart.) Solms), using different earthworm species. Among different earthworm species used for vermicomposting of aquatic weeds, Eisenia fetida (Savigny) is the most commonly used species. Vermicomposting is an efficient ecobiotechnological process that converts the aquatic weeds into nutrient rich material that can acts as suitable plant growth media for sustainable agroecosystems. Further large scale utilization of aquatic weed based vermicompost in horticulture can solve their management and disposal issues along with restoration of organic matter and nutrient depletion at low input basis.
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