Earthworms derive their nutrition from many forms of organic matter in soil including decaying plant parts, decomposing remains of animals, and living organisms such as nematodes, protozoans, rotifers, bacteria, fungi. They can produce their own weight in castings every 24 hours. During the digestive process, many insoluble minerals are converted to a plant-available soluble form and long-chain molecules such as cellulose are partially broken down by bacteria in the digestive tract. Investigations show that fresh earthworm casts are several times richer in available nitrogen, available phosphates and available potash than the surrounding topsoil. Worm castings also contain many beneficial bacteria and enzymes. The analysis of worm castings reveals that the number of beneficial bacteria in the ejected worm casting is much higher than in the material ingested by the earthworm.
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