Azolla & Soya Hulls-Substitutes for Urea in Coir Pith Composting Using Pleurotus Sajor Caju

  • Radhakrishnan S
  • Anita Das Ravindranath
  • Sarma U S
  • Jayakumaran Nair A
Keywords: Coir pith, Azolla, Soya hulls, Pleurotus sajor caju, Composting, Solid state fermentation


Bio composting process is the available means of converting various organic wastes generated from the industry and the agricultural sectors into beneficial products such as biofertilizers and as a soil conditioners. The unique feature of these agricultural wastes are their organic content, pH, and high C: N ratio. Coir pith is a biomass residue obtained during the extraction of coir fibre from coconut husk. Accumulation of coir pith leads to an environmental concern and its management is a major problem with all coir industrialists. The high quantum of its production and the difficulties experienced in its disposal have tended to create a major problem of pollution of large areas of land and water in coir fiber extraction units. Therefore, biodegradation of coir pith is an essential requirement to control pollution. Coir pith, even though a problematic waste; it is a potential wealth when it is converted into valuable organic manure by microbial degradation. A method of composting of coir pith with urea has been developed by Coir Board, India using a fungus viz., Pleurotus sajor caju commercially known as Pithplus.  

            Application of urea releases higher concentration of ammonia in the soil making it more acidic and retards soil natural fertility. Hence an alternative cost effective nitrogen supplement needs to be developed as a substitute to urea for composting of coir pith. The present study aims at the formulation of bio organic manure from coir pith avoiding inorganic urea in the composting. Overall assessment on the physico chemical properties of the biodegraded coir pith leads to the conclusion that a combination of Azolla and Soya hulls (2:1 ratio) was found to be efficient in lignin degradation and contribute to novel changes in coir pith

Author Biographies

Radhakrishnan S

Scientific Assistant, Department of Microbiology, Central Coir Research Institute (Coir Board), Alleppey, Kerala, India

Anita Das Ravindranath

Senior Scientific Officer, Department of Microbiology, Central Coir Research Institute (Coir Board), Alleppey, Kerala, India

Sarma U S

Director, Central Coir Research Institute (Coir Board), Alleppey, Kerala, India

Jayakumaran Nair A

Sel. Grade Lecturer, Department of Biotechnology, Kariavattom, University of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India


Akin, D.E.,Rigsby, L.L. and Sethuraman, A. (1995) Alternations in the structure, and biodegradation of grass lignocelluloses treated with white rot fungi Ceriporiopsis subvermispord and Cyathus stercorius. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 61: 1591-1598
Arora, D.S., Chander, M. and Gilli, P.K. (2002) Involvement of lignin peroxidase, manganese peroxidase and laccase in the degradation and selective ligninolysis of wheat straw. Int. Bioterior. Biodegrad. 50:115-120.
Bisaria, R., Madan, M. and Bisaria, V.S. (1987) Mineral content of the mushroom P. sajor caju cultivated on different agro residues. Mush. J. Trop. 7: 53-60.
De Bertoldi, M., Ferranti, M.P., L’Hermite, P. and Zucconi, F. (1987) Compost production, Quality and Use. Elsevier Applied Science, London, p.853.
Garcia-Martinez, D.V., Shinmyo, Madia, A. and Deman, A. L. (1980) Studies on cellulose production by Clostridium thermocellum. Europ. J. Appl. Microbiol. Biotechnol. 9: 189-197.
Ghosh, P.K., Sarma, U.S., Ravindranath, A.D., Radhakrishnan, S. and Prasenjeet Ghosh (2007) A Novel Method for Accelerated Composting of Coir Pith. Energy Fuels. 21 (2).
Higuchi, T. (1980) Lignin Biodegradation: Microbiology, Chemistry and Potential Applications. Eds T.K.Kirk.T.Higuchi and Hou-Min Chang.CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, p.1.
Kadalli, G.G. and Suseela Devi, L. (2002) Evaluation of enriched coir dust compost for integrated nutrient management system. Dept of Soil Science and Agril. Chemistry, University of Agril. Sciences, GKVK, Bangalore
Mandhare, V.K., Suryawanshi, A.A., Jadav, V.T. and Patil, H.B. (2003) Biochemical changes in different agrowastes due to cultivation of Pleurotus spp. Madras Agr.J; 289-291.
Moriya, O., Yoshimasa, M., Toru, J. and Toshiaki, K. (2001) Lignin degradation and roles of white rot fungi. Study on an efficient symbiotic system in fungus - growing termites and its application to bioremediation. Riken Review. 42: 39-42.
Moorthy, K.V. (1981) Microbial and chemical studies on the cultivation of P. sajor caju (Fr.) Singer, M. Sc Thesis, University of Agri. Sciences, Bangalore.
Pandey, A and Radhakrishnan, S (1993). The Production of Glucoamylase by Aspergillus niger NCIM 1245. Process Biochemistry 28,305-309
Rajarathinam, S. and Zakia, B. (1998) Biodegradative and biosynthetic capabilities of mushrooms: Present and future strategies. Critical Reviews of Biotechnology. 18(2): 91-236.
Shashirekha, M.N. and Rajarathinam, S. (2007) Bioconversion and biotransformation of coir pith for economic production of Pleurotus florida. Chemical and biochemical changes in coir pith during the mushroom growth and fructification World J. Microbiol Biotechnol. 23: 1107-1114
Shetty, K.S. and Moorthy, K.V. (1981) Possibility of protein enrichment of straw by mushroom P. sajor caju. In: Recycling (ed. M.S. Karla), Punjab Agri.Univ.Ludhiana, 63-67.
Venkatasami, R. (2003), Integrated nutrient management in coconut with composted coir pith. Madras Agric. J., 90 (1-3):54-56 are added as Annexure- 2
Warrier, N.S. and Moudil, K.L. (1947) ‘Retting of coconut husk’.J.Scient.Ind.Res.6: 114-116.
Wood, D.A. (1979) Degradation of composted straw by the edible mushroom. A. bisporous. Enzyme activities with mycelia growth and fruit body formation (Ed. Grass word, E) 95-104.
Worthington, C.E. (1988) Worthington Enzyme Manual, pp. 76-79, Worthington biochemical Corporation, Freehold, NJ.
How to Cite
Radhakrishnan S, Anita Das Ravindranath, Sarma U S, & Jayakumaran Nair A. (2011). Azolla & Soya Hulls-Substitutes for Urea in Coir Pith Composting Using Pleurotus Sajor Caju. CORD, 27(2), 10.