Keywords: Earthworm casts, moisture content, nutrient composition, organic matter, soil fertility


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.


Appelhof, M. 1982. Worms eat my Garbage. Flower Press, Michigan. Retrieved on 15th November 2013 from

Anderson, J.M., Ingram, J.S.I. (Eds) 1993. Tropical Soil Biology and Fertility. A Handbook of Methods, 2nd Edition. CAB Int, U.K. pp 221.

AOAC 1995. Association of Official Analytical Chemists. Official Methos of Analysis (20th Ed.), USA.

Atlas, R.M 1997. Principles of Microbiology. McGraw Hill, USA pp 147 &148

Bouyoucos, G.H. 1951. A recalibration of the hydrometer for making mechanical analysis of soils. Agron. Jour. 43: 434-438.

Brady, N.C., Weil, R.R. 1999. The nature and properties of soil. Prentice Hall, New Jersey, pp 414 & 415.

Bray, R.H., Kurtz, L.T. 1945. Determination of total organic and available form of phosphorus in soil. Soil Soc. 59: 39-45

Card, A.B., Anderson, J.V. and Davis, J.G. 2004. Vermicomposting Horse Manure. Colorado State University Cooperative Extension.
Delahaut, K. and Koval, C.F (2002). Earthworms: Beneficial or Pest?
deVleeschauwer, D., Lal, R 1981. Properties of worm cast in secondary tropical forest regrowth. Soil Sci., 132:175-181

English, J. and Costello, D. 2005. Earthworm species composition and distribution in the Upper Pennicula of Michigan. Retrived on August 20, 2007 from

Faniran, M.A., Areola, O. 1980. Essential of soil study. Macmillan Educational Ltd., London, p.27

Feller, Christian, George G. Brown, Eric Blanchart, Pierre Deleporte, and Sergey S. Chernyanskii, 2003 Charles Darwin, Earthworms and the Natural Sciences: Various Lessons from Past to Future. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 99:29-49

Holcombe, D., Longfellow J.J. 1995. Oregon Soil Corporation Reactor: blueprint for a successful vermiculture compost system. Oregon Soil Corporation: Eugene, Oregon

Madge, D.S. 1966. How leaf litters disappears. New Scientist 32:111-115

Madge, D.S., Sharma, G.D. 1969. Soil Zoology. Ibadan University Press, Ibadan. P7

Owa, S.O., Moreyibi, H.O., Dedeke, G.A., Morafa, S.O.A., Senjobi, B.A., Odunbaku, O.A., Aladesida, A.A. 2008. Effect of over-seasoned earthworm products on seed germination: Implication for early rain cropping. Journal of Applied Science Research 4(6): 683-687.

Sabrina, D.T., Hanafi, N.M., Nor Azwady, A.A., Mahmud, T.M.M. 2009. Earthworm populations and cast properties in the soils of oil palm plantations. Malasyian Journal of Soil Science 13: 29-42

Segun, A.O. 1976. Two new genera of eudrilid earthworms from Nigeria. Proc. Biol. Soc. Wash. 88:383-394

Sims, R.W. 1971. Eudrilinea from Southern Nigeria and a Taxonomic appraisal of the family Eudrilidae (Oligochaeta). J. Zool. London. 164: 529-549

Stewart, V.I., Scullion, J., Salih, R.O., Al Bakri, K.H. (1988). Earthworms and structure rehabilitation in subsoils and in topsoils affected by opencast mining for coal. Biology, Agriculture and Horticulture 5: 325-338.

Vinotha, S.P., Parthasarathi, K., Ranganathan, L.S. 2000. Enhanced phosphatase activity in earthworm casts is more of microbial origin. Current Science 79 (9): 1158-1162

Walkey, A., Black, I.A. 1934. An examination of Degtjaroff Method for determining soil organic matter and proposed modification of the chromic acid titration method. Soil Science 37: 29-38