Vermicomposting is a process by which the organic waste is converted into manure with the help of earthworms. Growth rate, onset of maturity (clitellum development), rate of reproduction (cocoon production) and population buildup of earthworm during vermicomposting have been depend upon the conditions like temperature, moisture and physico-chemical properties of the feed mixtures. Eisenia fetida was superior to other epigeic species and tolerate wide range of temperature, moisture and pH. Endogeic species produced lesser cocoon than epigeic species and cocoon production decreased at low temperature. Maintenance of temperature and moisture content is the critical step for vermicomposting. Growth and maturation of earthworms was best at 20–25°C temperature with 80–85% moisture content. Increase temperature upto 30°C accelerated growth rate of earthworms and lessened the time to sexual maturity. Earthworms can survive in the soil contaminated with heavy metals by accumulating heavy metals in their tissues.
Part of the book: Earthworms