Vermicomposting Water Hyacinth:
Ogutu, Philip Ariya
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Water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) in Lake Victoria has caused water loss through evapotranspiration, provided a breeding ground for mosquitoes and interfered with fishing and navigation. The weed contains macronutrients such as nitrogen (2.5%), phosphorus (1.0%) and potassium(5.3%) which can be made available to plants by using earthworms to convert the plants into compost. The worm cast and vermicompost obtained is a better source of organic manure than other aerobically or anaerobically degraded compost and has a lower environmental impact than chemical fertilizers. This study investigated the vermicomposting of water hyacinth by the fast-growing composting worm Perionyx excavatus and determined the concentrations of macronutrients. It was found that the vermicompost contained 47% more nitrogen, 60% more phosphorus and 40% more potassium than compost produced without worms. This suggests that vermiculture could be a means of reducing water hyacinth in Lake Victoria or other water bodies while producing a valuable agricultural product.
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