Physicochemical Changes Effected in Activated Sludge by the Earthworm Eisenia foetida1
- Roy Hartenstein and
- Frances Hartenstein
Measurements were made of some physicochemical changes effected in activated sludge by the earthworm Eisenia foetida following conversion of the sludge into wormcasts. Mineralization was accelerated 1.3-fold and 2% of the minerals were assimilated. The rate at which heavy metals were concentrated during sludge catabolism was also accelerated. Castings stabilized within 2 weeks, as indexed by respirometry. Nucleic acids, which can be used as an index of microbial biomass, were present at a greater concentration in the wormcasts than in the sludge, while the phenolic content, which may potentially serve as an index of humification, was less concentrated. Other changes included a reduction in pH and an increase in oxidation-reduction potential and cation exchange capacity. The major general effect of E. foetida on the physicochemical properties of activated sludge is to convert a material which has a relatively small surface/volume ratio into numerous particles with an overall large S/V ratio, thus accelerating decomposition, mineralization, drying, and preclusion of malodor.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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