Conversion of Agricultural Crop residue into Biocompost

Alka Sagar 1*, Shalini Rai2. 1. Department of Microbiology and Biotechnology, Meerut Institute of Engineering and Technology, Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, India. 2. Department of biotechnology, SHEPA, Varanasi

2020-11-20 16:00:44



India is an agriculture-based country. Agriculture is a very important sector for economic growth and the gratification of the basic needs of the community. In agriculture, alternate means of soil fertilization relies on the organic inputs to boost nutrient supply and maintain the field management.

 Every year here grow different types of crops like wheat, rice, millets and sugarcane. That’s why a lot of wastes come out of these crops. According to an official report, more than 500 million tonnes of agricultural crop residue are produced annually in the country. The generation of crop residues is highest in Uttar Pradesh (60 Mt), followed by Punjab (51 Mt) and Maharashtra (46 Mt). Among different crops, cereals generate maximum residues (352 Mt), followed by fibres (66 Mt), oilseeds (29 Mt), pulses (13 Mt) and sugarcane (12 Mt). Cereal crops (rice, wheat, maize, millets) contribute 70%, while rice crop alone contributes 34% to the crop residues. Sugarcane residues consisting of top and leaves generate 12 Mt, i.e., 2% of the crop residues in India.  Farmers burn this waste every year, Burning agriculture Crop residue causes severe pollution of air, land and water on a local as well as regional scale. Burning the residue of crops in Punjab, Haryana, western Uttar Pradesh and other states has often over the country, especially in winters, leading to smog.

Apart from wheat and paddy stubble, sugarcane leaves are commonly burnt. Although the government has banned the burning of crop residue which makes both the soil and air poisonous, it continues every season. This also adversely affects the nutrient budget in the soil. It has adverse consequences on the quality of the soil. When the crop residue is burnt the existing minerals present in the soil get destroyed which adversely hampers the cultivation of the next crop. The on-field impact of burning includes the removal of a large portion of the organic material. Burning crop residue also causes damage to other micro-organisms present in the upper layer of the soil, making the crops prone to disease.

Straw carbon, nitrogen and sulphur are completely burnt and lost to the atmosphere in the process of burning. It results in the emission of smoke which if added to the gases present in the air like methane, nitrogen oxide and ammonia, can cause severe atmospheric pollution. These gaseous emissions can result in health risk, aggravating asthma, chronic bronchitis and decreased lung function. These problems increasing day by day in our country.   To stop this problem government making more rules and some awareness programs also run. This waste can use for different works.

Agricultural Crop residue, traditionally considered as trash, agricultural waste,  litter, garbage and junk is increasingly being viewed as a valuable resource. Corn stalks, corn cobs, wheat straw and other leftovers from grain production are now being viewed as a resource with economic value. Plant residue is crop materials such as stems, leaves, and roots, that are left on the field after the harvest.

Crop residues can improve soil structure, increase organic matter content in the soil, reduce evaporation, and help fix CO2 in the soil. Good residue management practices on agricultural lands have many positive impacts on soil quality. Crop residues, as lignocellulosic materials, have a potential source of renewable energy. Crop residue mulch improves soil aeration by promoting free exchange of gases between the soil and the atmosphere. This is facilitated by improvement of structural stability, total porosity and macroporosity, decrease of surface crusting and by improving the overall soil drainage.

Crop residues also provide thermal protection to plants from winter temperature extremes. Residues insulate the soil surface from both winter and summer atmospheric extremes by impeding the movement of heat and water vapor between the soil and atmosphere. Crop residue, therefore, retards heat loss from the soil during winter as well as hinders warming of soil during summer.

Agricultural crop residue is a source of organic material that is available after harvesting cereals and sugarcane crops with large enough amounts. Wheat, rice is a highly nutritious cereal that can be used as the source of several bioactive compounds. A  novel compost was developed using cereal crop industrial by-products. Conventional agriculture plays the most significant role in meeting the food demands of the growing human population, whereas fertilization practices include mainly the application of synthetic fertilizers.  However, the massive application of chemical fertilizers has disturbed field management, increasing the problem of soil, groundwater, and air pollution at a global scale. However, a vast proportion of this agricultural crop residue is subjected to open-field burning which is hazardous for the environment.

The use of composts and biofertilizers is within the scope of a sustainable agricultural system that provides an ecologically healthy and economically viable crop production, especially when they are derived by low-value by-products of the cultivated plants like cereals and sugarcane cops. Agricultural crop residue which predominantly contains cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin, can be converted into value-added product such as bio-compost. Several microbial species can use to conversion of crop residues into biocompost and other bioproducts. In general, the majority of the species of the microorganisms in the compost accelerator belong to the genus Agrobacterium, Arthrobacter, Azotobacter, Azospirillum, Bacillus, Burkholderia, Caulobacter, Chromobacterium, Erwinia, Flavobacterium, Micrococcous, Pseudomonas, Mesorhizobium, Rhizobium, Phosphate solubilizing bacteria and Aspergillus spp .

The agricultural crop residue can be converted into a brown value-added composted biofertilizer. This biofertilizer extractive a high carbon and crude protein content that can help provide a green technique for the improvement of soil health by supplementing the C and N pool of the soil and thus alleviate the farming cost. many companies have started to develop special spreaders of natural fertilizer and composts that can apply those amounts and particle types. The most important use of agricultural crop residue is in the production of energy (fuel), ethanol, pyrolysis of silicon dioxide production and the acceleration of the bioremediation process into the soil.

Composting is a bio-oxidative process which involves the conversion of organic waste to a stabilized final product free of phytotoxicity and pathogens, by the process of mineralization and partial humification. It can be made on the farm at a very low cost and can be used as organic fertilizer. The present study is going to convert agricultural crop residue into organic fertilizer

Dangerous effects of Agricultural Crop residue

  • Increase air Pollution from smoke
  • Create lots of diseases in human-like asthma, chronic bronchitis and decrease lung function.
  • reduce the biogeochemical cycle
  • emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs)
  • Loss of nutrients from the soil and in the soil
  • Kills slugs and other pests
  • Damage to electrical and electronic equipment from floating threads of conducting a waste

Advantage of Agricultural Crop residue

  • Animal feed
  • Bedding for animals
  • Roofing in rural areas
  • Mushroom cultivation
  • Packing materials
  • Fuel
  • Paper manufacturing
  • Biomass energy
  • Bio-ethanol
  • Bio-compost
  • Industrial production
  • Biothermal energy production

Government Initiatives towards Reducing Agricultural Crop Residue Burning

Many policies were made by the government in the past. Burning crop residue is a crime under Section 188 of the IPC and under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981. However, the government’s implementation lacks strength. These are following:

  • The Section 144 of the Civil Procedure Code (CPC) to ban burning of paddy
  • The Air Prevention and Control of Pollution Act, 1981
  • The Environment Protection Act, 1986
  • The National Tribunal Act, 1995
  • National Policy for Management of Crop Residue (NPMCR)
  • National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA
  • Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)