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BHU Gets Patency to Convert Temple Offerings into Vermicompost, Boosts Earthworm Reproduction

A patent granted after nearly four years of research showcases a unique method employed by BHU researchers to use temple offerings such as flowers, milk, and leaves to enhance earthworm multiplication, supporting organic agriculture.

KJ Staff
Banaras Hindu University (BHU) has been granted a patent (number 495237) for their innovative method titled "Synergistic Composition for Rapid Reproduction of Earthworms."
Banaras Hindu University (BHU) has been granted a patent (number 495237) for their innovative method titled "Synergistic Composition for Rapid Reproduction of Earthworms."

Banaras Hindu University (BHU) has been granted a patent (number 495237) for their innovative method titled "Synergistic Composition for Rapid Reproduction of Earthworms." Initiated on March 24, 2019, the patent faced hurdles, particularly due to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. However, perseverance prevailed, culminating in its approval on January 5, 2024.

BHU Unveiling the Research Journey

Earthworm is a commercial commodity which has been sold in the market but many times, getting enough earthworm from one pot of vermicompost is very difficult. Led by Dr Birinchi Kumar Sharma and Dr Harikesh Bahadur Singh, along with a team comprising Dr Akanksha Singh, research scholars Rahul Singh Rajput and Shatrupa Ray, and post-doctoral fellow Anukool Vaishnav from the Department of Mycology and Plant Pathology at the Institute of Agricultural Sciences, BHU, the researchers embarked on a mission to explore the untapped potential of temple offerings in boosting earthworm reproduction. The research also observed that the vermicompost mixture from temple offerings also increased plant growth and decreased soil-borne diseases in vegetable crops. 

BHU Harnessing Tradition for Innovation

Central to their research was the utilisation of traditional practices of offering flowers and leaves, especially Bel Patra, in Indian temples.

In the context, Dr Birinchi Kumar Sharma, Professor, Department of Mycology and Plant Pathology, BHU, said, "We started this initiative to find the biological significance of the ritual of offering flower, leaves, milk, ghee etc. at the renowned Lord Shiva temple situated in Banaras. After using a proportionate ratio of different combinations, we found a combination that included —Aegle marmelos leaves (Bel Patra), Datura stramonium (Datura), Tagetes erecta flowers (marigold), Hibiscus rosa sinensis (gurhal) flowers, milk, curd, clarified butter (ghee), and spent mushroom waste (SMW)—in precise ratios, that increased the vitality, reproduction and multiplication of the earthworm". He added further, "the formula not only increase earthworm multiplication but also contributed to enhance plant growth and suppress soil-borne diseases especially in vegetable crops."

The Formula for Success of BHU

After rigorous experimentation, the researchers formulated a composition, primarily comprising temple offerings in specific proportions. Particularly, the inclusion of spent mushroom waste (SMW) alongside milk, curd, and clarified butter emerged as a groundbreaking approach. This concoction not only bolstered earthworm vitality and reproduction but also demonstrated efficacy in suppressing soil-borne diseases caused by fungal pathogens.

The combination included temple offerings in ratio of [Aegle marmelos leaves (4): Datura stramonium fruits (1): Tagetes erecta flowers (2): Hibiscus rosa sinensis flowers (1): Milk (1.0): Curd (0.5): clarified butter (ghee) (0.5).] which has enhanced the earthworm vitality, reproduction and multiplication per unit area of vermicompost. In general we can say this composition supports life. The combination also suppresses diseases caused by fungal pathogens like Sclerotium rolfsii, Rhizoctonia solani, Fusarium spp. and Sclerotinia sclerotiorum and enhances the plant growth better than other compost.

Implications for Agriculture and Society

The ramifications of this innovation extend beyond agricultural enhancement. By promoting organic agriculture through the utilisation of temple offerings, BHU's breakthrough holds promise for mitigating the adverse effects of chemical fertilisers and pesticides. Moreover, it underscores the symbiotic relationship between tradition and innovation, repurposing sacred rituals for sustainable agricultural practices.

With farmers poised to benefit from increased profitability and soil health, BHU's patented method signifies a significant stride towards organic and sustainable agriculture. By redefining the narrative surrounding temple offerings, this research exemplifies the potential for integrating tradition with modern science to address contemporary challenges.

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