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Worm Composting Helps Clean Up Heavy Metals

Worm Composting Helps Clean Up Heavy Metals

By Sami Grover, TreeHugger

From airport scale worm composting to vermicomposting farm waste, the idea of using worms to eat our garbage is no longer confined to plastic tubs in TreeHuggers’ basements.

But it turns out that worm composting is not just a convenient way of breaking up organic waste, or creating fertilizer. ScienceBlog reports that worm composting can also play a crucial role in remediating wastes and removing toxic heavy metals from biosolids:

“The worms’ digestive system is apparently capable of detaching heavy metal ions from the complex aggregates between these ions and humic substances in the waste as it rots. Various enzyme-driven process then seem to lead to assimilation of the metal ions by the worms so that they are locked up in the organism’s tissues rather than being released back into the compost as worm casts.”

Conducted by a team of Indian researchers led by Swati Pattnaik and M. Vikram Reddy of the Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences, at Pondicherry University, the research holds particular promise for dealing with the growing problem of urban organic waste, which is often dumped on the outskirts of major settlements, polluting soils and causing issues for groundwater contamination.

With one Indian city already installing composters at every police station, it seems composting could play an important role in a strategic approach to this rapidly urbanizing country’s waste challenges.

 

Related:
The Wonder of Worms
Vermicomposting: Worms, Bins and How To Get Started
3 Reasons to Love Earthworms

Read more: Do Good, Eco-friendly tips, Environment, Green, Lawns & Gardens, Nature, Nature & Wildlife, Outdoor Activities, , , , , , , ,

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62 comments

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2:20AM PDT on Apr 28, 2013

:-)

11:03PM PDT on Apr 18, 2013

Fascinating and never look down on an Earthworm...they do more than some humans. Many humans are certainly wonderful, just some that give us a bad name. Earthworms on the other hand, really know how to tend the soil and are peaceful.

10:47PM PDT on Apr 18, 2013

Never ever doubt the super abilities that these tiny innocent Earthworms possesses!
They have helped us humans in many tremendous ways.
We should encourage people not to use them as baits

7:58PM PST on Jan 2, 2013

thanks

3:43AM PDT on Sep 4, 2012

thank you

3:43AM PDT on Sep 4, 2012

thank you

2:50AM PDT on Sep 4, 2012

Wouldn't the solution be to altogether stop the manufacture and use of toxic substances?
Ahhh..... we need to evolve further to be able see basic truth or use common sense.....

8:21PM PDT on Sep 2, 2012

Let Nature repair itself, right? but we should not interfere ! Let science progress, discover but leave Nature alone. Everything will be alright once again.

1:17AM PDT on Aug 28, 2012

sigh......

4:35PM PDT on Aug 27, 2012

Not the best worms to use for fishing then?

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