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Low-cost technology for fattening earthworms

R. Vimal Kumar

Those who wish to take up this technology commercially can earn a net profit of Rs.6,000 per month



NEW SOURCE: Earthworms fattened using a low-cost technology by the Fisheries College and Research Institute in Tuticorin.

Tuticorin : The Fisheries College and Research Institute here has developed a low-cost technology for fattening earthworms, which are used as life food source for ornamental fish.

Official sources told The Hindu that the salient feature of the technique developed by J.D. Jameson and A. Srinivasan, scientists attached to the Department of Fisheries Environment at the FCRI, was that the earthworm species named Eisenia Foetida could be fattened on a substratum (bed) of neem leaves and waste paper.

It's a deviation from the traditional culture techniques in which either soil or organic waste is used as bed and moreover, the method has been found to be yielding quick results, sources added.

On the modus operandi adopted to develop the new technique, R. Santhanam, Dean, FCRI, said mud or cement pots of 30 cm diameter and 30 cm height were first filled with neem leaves and waste paper at a ratio of 90:10 in weight.

"It served as a bed and food source to the worms," he said.

Dr. Santhanam said 300 young worms of 1 cm length were then stocked in each pot and water was sprayed over it every day to retain the moisture in the bed.

After 30 days, it was found that the young worms had grown to a length of 13 cm and each weighed 1.5 gm, with no mortality.

The Dean pointed out that similar growth could be achieved only in 45-60 days when traditional methods were adopted.

According to him, those who wish to take up this technology to fatten earthworms on a commercial basis can easily earn a net profit of Rs.6,000 per month, with an initial investment of Rs.30,000 in an area of five cents with 100 pots.

The earthworms are now widely used in freshwater fish hatcheries for feeding fish like gold fish, oscar, discus etc.

"The institute will try to disseminate the newly developed technology to ornamental fish culturists through training programmes," he said.

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