Pedosphere 31(3): 440--451, 2021
ISSN 1002-0160/CN 32-1315/P
©2021 Soil Science Society of China
Published by Elsevier B.V. and Science Press
Biological weathering of phlogopite during enriched vermicomposting
Fariba JAFARI1, Hossein KHADEMI1, Vajihe SHAHROKH1, Angel FAZ CANO2, Jose A. ACOSTA2, Farhad KHORMALI3
1Department of Soil Science, College of Agriculture, Isfahan University of Technology, Isfahan 84156-83111 (Iran)
2Sustainable Use, Management and Reclamation of Soil and Water Research Group, Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena, Paseo Alfonso XⅢ, 48, Cartagena, Murcia 30203 (Spain)
3Department of Soil Science, Gorgan University of Agricultural Science and Natural Resources, Gorgan 49189-43464 (Iran)
      As the dominant macrofauna in many soils, earthworms play a significant role in mineral weathering and nutrient release from mineral structures into available forms for root uptake. Phlogopite is a trioctahedral micaceous mineral that can be weathered to other minerals through release of its interlayer potassium (K). In this study, we investigated the effect of earthworm activities and associated microbial communities on phlogopite weathering during the production of phlogopite-enriched vermicompost with different quantities of phlogopite added. An experiment was run under laboratory conditions using three levels of phlogopite (0, 20% and 40% by weight) in triplicates. Each Petri dish contained 20 g of a mixture of cow manure and phlogopite, and vermicomposting process was performed by inoculation of eight Eisenia foetida earthworms. Changes in clay mineralogy and C/N ratio in each dish were assessed at days 0, 45, 90, 135, and 180 during vermicomposting. The results indicated that phlogopite was partially weathered to vermiculite and interstratified mica-vermiculite during the vermicomposting process. The rate of weathering was higher during the early stages of vermicomposting (the first 90 d). The weathering of phlogopite was influenced considerably by the activity of earthworms and associated microbial communities during the organic matter transformation process. At the early stages of the process, the weathering rate for different levels of phlogopite was not significantly different, but over time it accelerated steadily, and the difference increased.
Key Words:  C/N ratio,earthworm,Eisenia foetida,enriched vermicompost,mineral weathering,weathering rate,X-ray diffraction
Citation: Jafari F, Khademi H, Shahrokh V, Faz Cano A, Acosta J A, Khormali, F. 2021. Biological weathering of phlogopite during enriched vermicomposting. Pedosphere. 31(3): 440-451.
View Full Text

Copyright © 2023 Editorial Committee of PEDOSPHERE. All rights reserved.
Address: P. O. Box 821, 71 East Beijing Road, Nanjing 210008, China    E-mail:
Technical support: Beijing E-Tiller Co.,Ltd.