Author(s): Antara Seal*, Ranjan Bera, Anupam Datta, Susmita Saha, Ashis Kumar Chatterjee, Arun Kumar Barik, Debashis Mazumdar
Dumping of coir pith, the by product of coir-industry is posing serious environmental problems in the southern states of India, especially Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, India. A study was conducted at Vaniampara Rubber Estate (Kerala, India) to demonstrate the potential of Novcom composting method towards production of quality compost using coir-pith as raw material. Novcom coir pith compost was produced within a period of 21 days with one turning of the compost heap on 10th day. Physicochemical and fertility status of compost resembled the standard set by different international composting councils, while its total nitrogen (1.48 percent) content was much higher than coir pith compost produced using other composting processes. The high value of nitrogen might be due to intense biodegradation process, which lowered the potential for N loss and favorably influenced atmospheric- N fixation through naturally generated autotrophic micro flora within compost heap. The finding was corroborated by the high population of microbes (1014 to 1016 c. f. u. per g moist compost) within compost, which were generated naturally during the composting process. Maturity and phytotoxicity bioassay tests confirmed that Novcom coir pith compost was mature and free from phytotoxic effect. The study concluded that Novcom composting method could be an effective and economical process for speedy conversion of coir pith into a valuable input for organic soil management.