NUTRIENT ANALYSIS OF THREE EARTHWORM CAST-TYPES COLLECTED FROM IKENNE, OGUN STATE, NIGERIA
Three types of earthworm cast, i.e. pellet cast, turret cast and mass cast, were analysed for physicochemical characteristics, nutrient composition and compared with impact on soil fertility. The standard methods of AOAC was used to analyse the pH, moisture content, cast profile, cations (Ca, Mg, Na, K, Mn, Cu and Zn), anions (P, PO4, NO4, NO3, N), Organic Carbon and Organic Matter. Pellet cast recorded a significantly higher pH of 8.60.01 while the mean pH of 8.09.01 and 7.81.01 were obtained for turret and mass cast respectively (p<0.05). On the other hand, pellet cast recorded the lowest moisture content (29.42%) compared with 45.60% and 47.19% obtained for mass cast and turret cast respectively. The % organic matter (1.05.02), % organic carbon (0.61.01), % Nitrite (0.008.001), % Nitrate (0.018.001), % Nitrogen (0.063.001) and % Phosphorus (0.39 0.001) obtained for Pellet Cast were significantly higher (p<0.05) than those obtained for mass and turret casts. Pellet cast had higher Ca (11.04.80 mg/dL), Mn (113.088.45 mg/dL) and Zn (8.54.62 mg/dL) than turret (9.64.77, 77.07.02, 6.68.65 mg/dL) and mass cast types (4.54.25, 19.12.82, 2.04.70) mg/dL). This study indicated that pellet cast has poor water holding capacity whereas it has higher nutrient concentration compared with mass and turret casts. On the overall, pellet cast, mass cast and turret cast all played synergistic role in soil fertility.
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