Vol.4, No.5B, 28-30 (2013) Agricultural Sciences
Biochemical changes during composting of coir pith
waste as influenced by different agro industrial
T. Muthurayar1, M. S. Dhanarajan2
1Research Scholar, Sathyabama University, Chennai; rayar_jega@yahoo.com
2Principal, Jaya College, Thiruninravoor
Received 2013
Coir pith, a byproduct of coconut husk is diffi-
cult to decompose due to its high lignin and
cellulose content. In this study, coir pith was
composted with different agro industrial by
products such as cow dung, vegetable market
waste, poultry waste and microbial consortium.
The different treatment combinations used in
the present study were Control, T1 (Coir pith +
Cow dung + Vegetable market waste + Poultry
waste + mixed microbial culture (Trichoderma
viridae + Pleurotus sajar caju), T2 (Coir pith +
Vegetable market waste + Poultry waste + Tank
slit + Mixed microbial culture ) and T3 (Coir pi th +
Cow dung + poultry waste + tank slit + mixed
microbial culture). At the end of 12th week, in the
treatment T1, C: N ratio of 21.8:1 was observed
in the composted coir pith sample. Highest P
content of 0.47% and K content of 1.2% and the
least Cellulose and Lignin contents of 22.8% and
10.03% were recorded in the T1 treatment after a
composting period of 12 weeks. Highest pH of
7.4 was observed in the treatment T3, this was
followed by T1 (7.2 ) treatment.
Keywords: Coir Pith Compost; Agro Industrial
Wastes; C:N Ratio; Tr ichoderma Viridae and
Pleurotus Sajar Caju
Composting is the biological decomposition and stabi-
lization of organic substrates under conditions that allow
development of thermophilic temperature, to produce a
final stable product, free of pathogens and weed seeds
and can be beneficially applied to crops. Composting has
a wide range of applications in agriculture, economy, and
environment [6]. In composting the wastes are converted
into value added products that help to increase the reve-
nue of the farmers and industrialists since waste and the
by-product of one industry can be raw material for an-
other industry [2]. Coir pith has high moisture retention
property (500% - 600%) and K con tent. These properties
could be successfully exploited for agricultural use.
Taking this into account, th e present investigation was
undertaken with an attempt to convert the carbon rich
materials into compost using various industrial wastes
and microbes by utilizing different treatment methods.
2.1. Collection of Samples
The coir pith materials were collected from Uthama-
palayam, Theni district, Tamilnadu, India.
2.2. Experimental Details
The experiment was conducted in time duration of 12
weeks. For this experiment coir pith was mixed with
various components such as cow dung; vegetables mar-
ket waste, poultry waste, tank slit and microbial mixed
cultures. Coir pith treated with above additives to en-
hance the composting efficiency (Table 1).
Table 1. The Experimental details of the different treatments
used for biocomposting of coir pith waste.
Treatments Details of industrial waste componen ts
C Coir pith
T1 Coir pith + Cow dung + Vegetable market waste +
Poultry waste + Mixed microbial culture (Tricho-
derma viridae + Pleurotus sajarcaju)
T2 Coir pith + Vegetable market waste + Poultry
waste + Tank slit + Mixed microbial culture
T3 Coir pith + Cow dung + poultry waste + tank slit +
Mixed microbial culture
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. Openly accessible at http://www.scirp.org/journal/as/
T. Muthurayar, M. S. Dhanarajan / Agricultur al Sciences 4 (2013) 28-30 29
2.3. Compost Bed Preparation
Organic additives were weighed on fresh weight basis
and added individually. Coir pith was spread and com-
pacted well to get a layer of combination using different
additives such as cow dung, vegetable market waste,
mixed microbial culture, tank slit and poultry waste. 10
mg of Microbial cultures (Inoculation load 1 × 107 Cfu)
was added and a moisture content of 50% - 60% was
maintained. Height of each layer was maintained at a
height of 10 cm. Over this another layer was made with
coir pith. This procedure was repeated an d finally the top
of each cistern was covered with soil slurry. Turning was
given once in every three weeks and required reading
was made periodically. At the end of the 12th week, the
samples were analyzed for their biochemical properties
such as organic carbon, nitrogen, phosphorous and po-
tassium according to the methods of Sadashivam and
Manickam [5] and Jackson [3]. Cellulose and Lignin
content of the samples were determined periodically ac-
cording to the methods of Ververis et al. [7]. The initial
Biochemical composition of raw coir pith is presented in
Tab le 2. The final biochemical constituents were deter-
mined at the end of 12th week according to the protocols
as described earlier.
Biochemical composition of raw coir pith was evalu-
ated and presented in Table 1. Raw coir pith recorded
phosphorous, potassium, cellulose and lignin contents of
0.02, 0.30, 35.7 and 54.3%, respectively. The pH was
found to be acidic (5.4) and C: N ratio was found to be
high (162:1).
Changes in the different biochemical constituents such
as C: N ratio, Phosphorous, Potassium, Cellulose, and
lignin contents and pH was recorded at different intervals.
There was a steep decrease in the C: N ratio at the end of
third week and this trend contin ued up to a period of 12th
week. At the end of 12th week in treatment T1, a C: N
ratio of 21.8:1 was observed in the composted coir pith
sample. Irrespective of the observed samples there was a
slight increase in the pH content of samples. Highest pH
of 7.4 was observed in the treatment T3; this was fol-
lowed by T1 and T2 treatments that recorded a pH of 7.2
and 6.7, respectively. There was an increase in the K
content of coir pith as influenced by different treatment
methods. This increase was found to be significantly
higher in all treatments, when compared to control.
Highest K content of 1.2% was recorded in the T1
Treatment. No significant differences in P content were
observed in all treatments, when compared to control
treatment up to a time period of 2 weeks. After a period
of 3 weeks a steep increase in P content was observed.
This increase was found to significantly higher, com-
pared to control. Maximum P content of 0.47% was ob-
served in T1 Treatment, followed by 0.45%, and 0.39%
in T2, and T3, respectively (Table 2).
Cellulose content of all treatments was found to be
significantly decreased at the end of 12 weeks of com-
posting period. However, no significant differences among
different treatments were observed during the entire pe-
riod. At the end of the 12th week of composting period
the cellulose content recorded in T1, T2, and T3 treat-
ments, were 22.8%, 25 .8% and 27.3%, respectively. Lig-
nin content among treatments was found to be signifi-
cantly decreased after 9th week of treatment. At the end
of the composted period of 12th week the lignin content
recorded at different treatments were T1, T2, and T3
were 10.3%, 15.3% and 23.3%.
At the end of composting period of 12 weeks the dif-
ferent biochemical constituents of the composted coir
pith was analyzed and presented in table 2. The least C:
N ratio of 21.8: 1, cellulose content of 22.8% and lignin
content of 10.3 was observed in the T1 treatment (Table 3).
Table 2. Biochemical Composition of raw coir pith.
Properties Values
Organic c arbon(%) 50.4
Nitrogen(% ) 0.31
Phosphorus(%) 0.02
Potassium(%) 0.30
Cellulose(%) 35.7
Lignin (%) 54.3
pH 5.4
EC 1.5
C:N 162:1
Table 3. Biochemical Composition of composted coir pith as
influenced by different treatments.
Properties Values
Treatments Control T1 T2 T3
Organic carbon (%) 42.07 28.01 30.0 28.7
Nitrogen(% ) 1.02 1.28 1.25 1.24
Phosphorus(%) 0.02 0.47 0.45 0.39
Potassium(%) 0.42 1.2 0.89 0.77
Cellulose (%) 31.3 22.8 25.8 27.3
Lignin (%) 48.7 10.3 15.1 23.3
pH 6.0 7.2 7.4 6.7
C:N 41.2 21.8 31.3 23.1
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. Openly accessible at http://www.scirp.org/journal/as/
T. Muthurayar, M. S. Dhanarajan / Agricultur al Sciences 4 (2013) 28-30
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. http://www.scirp.org/journal/as/
Significant changes in OC, lignin and cellulose con-
tent were observed among the different treatments. This
results are in line with the findings of Barder and
Crawdford [1], who reported that the C: N ratio nar-
rowed when coir pith was composted with different addi-
tives such as these workers attributed this higher de-
composition ratio the presence of adequate nutrients.
Openly accessible at
After 12 weeks of composting period there was a con-
siderable increase in the N, P, and K contents among the
different treatments Kadalli et al. [4] observed highest N
and P contents in coir pith, composted with Pleurotus,
cow dung, garden weeds, sun-hemp, rock phosphate and
micronutrients. These authors also reported that in this
study the N content of the composts ranged from 1.02%
to 1.38% and the OC content ranged from 30.24% to
43.76% and C:N ratio has been drastically reduced to
21.91 due to increase in N content and loss of carbon as
The authors thank the authorities of Sathyabama University for their
support in executing this Research Project.
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