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J Agric Food Chem. 2014 Jan 22;62(3):691-8. doi: 10.1021/jf404265f. Epub 2014 Jan 8.

Treatment and biotransformation of highly polluted agro-industrial wastewater from a palm oil mill into vermicompost using earthworms.

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  • 1Chemical Engineering Discipline, School of Engineering and ‡School of Science, Monash University , Jalan Lagoon Selatan, Bandar Sunway, 46150, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia.

Abstract

In this laboratory-scale study, earthworms were introduced as biodegraders of palm oil mill effluent (POME), which is a wastewater produced from the wet process of palm oil milling. POME was absorbed into amendments (soil or rice straw) in different ratios as feedstocks for the earthworm, Eudrilus eugeniae. The presence of earthworms led to significant increases in pH, electrical conductivity, and nutrient content but decreases in the C/N ratio (0.687-75.8%), soluble chemical oxygen demand (19.7-87.9%), and volatile solids (0.687-52.7%). However, earthworm growth was reduced in all treatments by the end of the treatment process. Rice straw was a better amendment/absorbent relative to soil, with a higher nutrient content and greater reduction in soluble chemical oxygen demand with a lower C/N ratio in the vermicompost. Among all treatments investigated, the treatment with 1 part rice straw and 3 parts POME (w/v) (RS1:3) produced the best quality vermicompost with high nutritional status.

KEYWORDS:

Eudrilus eugeniae; cleaner production; organic fertilizer; palm oil mill effluent (POME); rice straw; soil; vermicomposting; wastewater treatment

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