[Digestion] Digestate comparison to liquid worm castings

Anand Karve adkarve at gmail.com
Tue Dec 6 01:37:29 CST 2011

Dear Wayne,
the microbes in the soil multiply their numbers whenever they are provided
with food. It can be pure sugar, starch, cellulose or a complex substance
like green leaves. The microbes need the same minerals that the plants and
animals need, and when they multiply, they take the minerals from the
soil.  Normally, the soil minerals have very low solubility. They form
solutions having mineral concentration that can be measured in PPM or PPB
units. But the microbes can absorb them even from such dilute solutions.
Another property of the soil solution is that the concentration of the
minerals dissolved in it is always constant. Molecules absorbed by the
microbes from the solution are replaced by molecules entering the solution
from the undissolved pool of minerals in the soil. This is called dynamic
equilibrium. Now suppose your soil is deficient in Nitrogen. Then, only the
N2-fixing bacteria would survive in that soil. When the organic food
provided to the microbes is consumed by them, they die of starvation. In
that process, they release their biochemicals into the soil. So now the
soil that was poor in nitrogen, would appear to have more nitrogen. So,
when you talk to the farmers, give them this example. The microbes must
multiply. When they multiply, they take either from the soil or from the
air, whatever they need for their growth. When they die, they release these
compounds into the soil, and these elements are then taken up by the
Soil analysis actually analyses only the water soluble compounds in the
soil, whereas the microbes can extract minerals that are "insoluble"  (i.e.
having so low solubility, that the elements go undetected in soil
analysis). When these so called absent elements are then detected in
plants, people start talking of transmutation of elements by soil microbes.

On Mon, Dec 5, 2011 at 1:58 PM, Jim McNelly <jim at composter.com> wrote:

> On Fri, Dec 2, 2011 at 1:46 PM, Wayne Zschech <
> waynezschech at calvarychapel.com> wrote:
>> G'day All!
>> I know that the quality of the liquid digestate as a fertiliser depends
>> on the type of feedstock ingredients. However, as a generalisation (or with
>> specifics) how does our liquid digestate compare to liquid worm castings?
>> Is the digestate even close to the 'potency' of the worm castings?  Also
>> when comparing the standard NPK values of inorganic fertiliser is there a
>> rule of thumb that allows digestate to 'compete' with them even though the
>> NPK values are much higher in the inorganic fertiliser?  This will help me
>> in talking to farmers when talk about the benefits of our product as
>> instead of fresh manure or chemicals.
>> Blessings,
>> Wayne
>> ___
>> Have you actually tried to take the filtrate or digestate and feed it
>> directly to earthworms? I have. It kills them within hours.  You can
>> analyze it all you want, but just do this one thing.  Actually feed it to
>> earthworms and see for yourself what happens.
> --
> Jim McNelly
> Renewable Carbon Management, LLC
> 44 28th Ave N Suite J
> Saint Cloud MN 56303
> 320-253-5076
> www.composter.com
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Dr. A.D. Karve
Trustee & Founder President, Appropriate Rural Technology Institute (ARTI)
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