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Revista Brasileira de Ciência do Solo
versão On-line ISSN 1806-9657
CASTILHOS, Rosa Maria Vargas et al. Distribution and characterization of humic substances in animal and plant vermicompost. Rev. Bras. Ciênc. Solo [online]. 2008, vol.32, n.spe, pp. 2669-2675. ISSN 1806-9657. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0100-06832008000700009.
The use of organic residues as fertilizers and soil conditioners requires their maturation and the quality monitoring of the final product. Vermicomposting is a technique which, along with the composting process, eliminates the potential harmful effect of manure residues to human health and soil. The stability and maturity degrees of a given vermicompost are usually inferred from the quantity and quality of the humic substances in the resulting compost. This study aimed to evaluate the quality and maturity of vermicomposts from six different residues: cattle manure (CM), sheep manure (SM), pig manure (PM), quail manure (QM), coffee dregs (CD) and mate-tee dregs (MD), by determining the content of humic substances (humic, HA, and fulvic acids (FA) and their chemical composition, after 70 days of composting. The humic substances were chemically fractionated according to their solubility in basic and acidic medium. The distribution of total C in the different humic fractions was determined, and the humification indices HA percentage and HA/FA ratio were calculated. The elemental composition (CHNO) and chemical composition by infrared spectroscopy (IRSP) were determined in the purified HA and FA. An aromaticity index (I1630/I2920) was calculated based on the IRSP spectra. The vermicomposts differed in humic substance content (FA+HA), which decreased in the order CD > SM ≈ MD ≈ CM > PM > QM. The maturity degree was greater in the vermicomposts of vegetal residues (coffee and mate-tee dregs). The HA showed that the proportion of O containing functional groups and the aromatic degree were lowest in these two vermicomposts.
Palavras-chave : humification degree; fulvic acids; humic acids; organic residues.