Composting: Organic Farming

Authored by: Saburo Matsui

Encyclopedia of Environmental Management

Print publication date:  December  2012
Online publication date:  December  2012

Print ISBN: 9781439829271
eBook ISBN: 9781351235860
Adobe ISBN:

10.1081/E-EEM-120046913

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Abstract

This entry examines four advantages of organic farming: it recycles nutrients by finding a use for organic waste; it produces compost that provides rich humus to enhance the soil; it reduces the need for synthetic chemical pesticides; and it provides us with tasty and authentic food. These four merits are made possible by the application of a probiotic principle to compost production. The probiotic approach in composting employs three major types of bacteria, separately or in combination, namely, Bacillus species, lactic acid bacteria species, and actinomycetous species. These bacteria are in general not harmful to human or plant health. The bacteria suppress the activities of organisms that cause continuous cropping hazards in the fields. Probiotic science is under development for human health, which utilizes beneficial/effective bacteria to support the human immune system. In the same manner, providing beneficial/effective bacteria to plant growth is called probiotics agriculture, in which pathogenic microorganisms are ecologically controlled in the fields. When grown via the endophytic or ectophytic manner, the beneficial/effective bacteria excrete auxin and/or cytokinin, which are major plant hormones for plant growth. Probiotics agriculture has great potential for further development, supporting the reduction in the application of chemical fertilizers and synthetic agrochemicals, thus providing safer food with authentic taste.

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