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Impact of Metallic Nanoparticles on Eisenia fetida Vermicomposting Efficiency, Growth and Nutrient Status

Neeraj Rani 1 , Ankita Goyal 2, Nitish Dhingra 3 and Swarndeep Singh Hundal 2


DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.10965975


The proliferation of nanotechnology has led to a significant influx of nanoparticles (NPs) into the environment, with a particular focus on soil ecosystems where earthworms, a prominent megafaunal species, are continuously subjected to these NPs. The present investigation focuses on examining the impact of metal oxide NPs (namely iron and zinc) on the vermicomposting efficacy of Eisenia fetida. The earthworms were subjected to iron oxide NPs (30 nm and 100 nm) and zinc oxide NPs (20 nm and 240 nm), respectively, spiked in the artificial soil at various doses (250, 500, 750, and 1000 mg/kg of soil). The iron (zinc) oxide NPs with a diameter of 30 nm (240 nm) exhibited the most significant augmentation in the weight of earthworms, with a percentage increase of 4.10% (30.76%), when administered at a concentration of 250 (750) mg/kg in the soil. However, using 100 nm iron oxide NPs and 20 nm zinc oxide NPs, the weight gain reached its maximum value of 11.50% and 21.05%, respectively, at a concentration of 750 and 500 mg/kg of soil, respectively. The treatment that involved the administration of a blend of iron (zinc) oxide NPs with varying sizes exhibited the highest increase in weight, measuring 8.06% (16%) at the NPs concentration of 500 (750) mg/kg of soil. The shortest duration for converting the substrate (farm yard manure) into vermicompost of 84 days was observed in the treatment involving a combination of zinc oxide NPs of sizes 20 nm and 240 nm (@750 mg/kg of soil). In contrast, for iron oxide NPs treatment, the shortest duration of 82 days was observed for the control. The nutrient analysis conducted on the vermicompost derived from the substrate indicated a consistent pattern of elevated concentrations of total nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus (%), accompanied by declining pH levels and total organic carbon content (%). The results suggest that the vermicompost produced by adding NPs exhibited higher nutrient content than the control, despite the prolonged duration (additional 2-13 days compared to the control) required for vermicomposting. The experimental results further indicated that using a combination of different sizes of iron and zinc oxide NPs resulted in the highest nutrient content in final vermicompost. Hence, it is plausible for marginal farmers in underdeveloped nations to investigate the possible effects of metal oxide NPs on vermicomposting as a mean to enhance agricultural practices.


1 School of Organic Farming, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana-141004 (Punjab), India
2 Department of Zoology, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana-141004 (Punjab), India
3 Electron Microscopy and Nanoscience Laboratory, Department of Soil Science, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana-141004 (Punjab), India



Rani N, Goyal A, Dhingra N and Hundal SS (2024) Impact of Metallic Nanoparticles on Eisenia fetida Vermicomposting Efficiency, Growth and Nutrient Status. Environ Sci Arch 3(STI-1): 14-26.


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