Vermibiotechnology: From Soil Health to Human Health

Vermibiotechnology: From Soil Health to Human Health
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Vermibiotechnology: From Soil Health to Human Health

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Publisher: Agrobios Publications
ISBN: 9788177542943
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PREFACE
Soil, a fragile ecosystem, has been cultivated for at least 10000 years. About 99 of our food comes from land and roughly 80 of our food is provided by grains. Similarly, the need of water is very clear. But unfortunately the rapid growth of human population is posing many problems to our soil and water the enormous waste generated are contaminating the soil, air and water the increased emission of green house gases causes global warming which leads to flooding, drought, soil erosion indiscriminate use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and weedicide and use of heavy farm machinery make the soil sick. Further the rate of food production is lagging behind the growth of human population, metallic and non-metallic minerals are getting exhausted, fossil fuels and the biodiversity are diminished. The size of the gene pool get reduced. Already the human population is experiencing large scale starvation and wide-spread poverty and drought in Asia and Africa. The gap between the rich and poor gets wider. It is now an accepted truth that the future of global food security depends on our knowledge and ability to manage our soil and water resources based on principles of ecology and equity. It is time we take all steps to conserve the fertility of our soil and restore the productivity of degraded soil. Organic farming is a solution to save mankind from the impending dangers. Earthworms, the dominant macrofaunal biomass in the soil improve soil structure and fertility. Of late we have realized their potential in the management of waste and large-scale production of vermicompost. Any attempt to improve the production of the soil has to be based on an understanding of the processes taking place in the soil. This book is a humble attempt to make the readers without scientific background and particularly students in colleges and universities, farmers, horticulturists, environmental scientists and municipal and industrial managers to understand the role of earthworms in the conservation, productivity and management of soil.
The present volume can be used as an undergraduate text reference book in Zoology, Botany, Life Science, Environmental Science, Agricultural, Civil and Chemical Engineering and also be useful to administrators who are concerned with soil. I am to grateful to the authorities of Annamalai University for their generous permission to write the book and all the help I derived in my forty years of service. I acknowledge with gratitude the help I received from Dr. M. Krishnamoorthy, Advisor, E.I.D Sugar Mill, India, and the managers of E.I.D Surgar Mill. I am especially thankful to Dr. Josef Zeyer, ETH, Switzerland, for the generous support and the Swiss Development Council for their grant under Indo-Swiss Collaboration on Biotechnology programme. It would not have been possible to complete the book without the assistance of my students Dr. K. Parthasarathi, Mr. M. Prakash and Mr. M. Y. Mohamed Parvees. The encouragement, love and sustained support extended by my wife Mrs. R. Varalakshmi cannot be forgotten. Annamalainagar 14.06.2006
Dr. L. S. Ranganathan
CONTENTS
1. INTRODUCTION ............................................................................................. 1 1.1 Importance of soil ............................................................................................... 1 1.2 Organic farming .................................................................................................. 2 Questions ...................................................................................................................... 4