Alkyl polyglycoside and earthworm (Eisenia fetida) enhance biodegradation of green waste and its use for growing vegetables.


College of Forestry, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, PR China. Electronic address: [Email]


Managing municipal green waste is a challenge to municipalities, partly because of the slow rate of decomposition of green waste during composting due to its high lignin and cellulose contents. Hence, this study evaluated the effect of alkyl polyglycoside (APG), a biosurfactant, and the earthworm Eisenia fetida on the composting process. Addition of APG and E. fetida significantly increased total bacteria, cellulolytic fungi, phosphate solubilizing bacteria and nitrogen fixing bacteria populations, and the activities of cellulase, urease and alkaline phosphatase in composts as compared with the control. The APG and earthworm treatments also increased surface roughness and porosity of the green waste; Compared with control, APG and earthworm addition increased the degradation rate of TOC, lignin and cellulose by 5.9-17.9, 10.3-32.0 and 10.8-18.8%, respectively, and resulted in better compost quality, as was reflected in the neutral pH, higher cation exchange capacity (CEC) and nutrient concentrations (N, P, K, Ca, Mg, Fe, Cu, Zn, Mn). Final germination percentage and growth rate of tomato, eggplant and pepper seedlings were higher (P < 0.05) or similar in all composts produced with the addition of APG and earthworm, while plant growth was lower (P < 0.05) in the compost produced with the control than in peat substrate. The combination of APG+E. fetida enhanced the decomposition of green waste and improved final compost quality the most. Further research is needed to determine the best level of APG addition and optimum earthworm density for composting green waste.


Biosurfactant,Composting,Earthworm,Enzymatic activity,Green waste,Growing medium,