Journal of Earth, Environment and Health Sciences

: 2015  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 1--4

The Functional Effect of Different Organic Matter on Spinach (Spinacia oleracea)

Faramarz Ahmadi, Mehrdad Jafarpour 
 Department of Agriculture, Khorasgan (Isfahan) Branch, Islamic Azad University, Isfahan, Iran

Correspondence Address:
Mehrdad Jafarpour
Faculty of Agricultural, Islamic Azad University, Isfahan


Aims: The objectives of this study were to analyze two different organic materials of compost and vermicompost and examine their effects on growth characteristics of spinach plant. Settings and Design: The experiment was performed to evaluate the organic fertilizers effect on spinach (Spinacia oleracea) properties. Materials and Methods: This included 16 treatments in 4 replications which were laid out in a randomized complete block design. Treatments included compost, horse vermicompost and a compound of sawdust, crushed and noncrushed pomegranate peel and horse manure vermicompost of 8 and 12%. Statistical Analysis Used: After data collection, the MSTAT-C software was used to sort the data. Data was subject to analysis of variance (ANOVA) with SAS software and where significant means where detected, mean separation test was performed using the Duncan�SQ�s test at the 1% probability level. Results: The results showed that all treatments significantly affected the variables. The treatment including horse manure vermicompost + sawdust + crushed and noncrushed pomegranate peel 8% caused the highest portion of Vitamin C in the plant. The highest amount of organic acid was observed in the crushed pomegranate peel and sawdust 12% vermicompost treatment. The most positive effect on total soluble solid was observed in treatments (horse manure vermicompost, sawdust and noncrushed pomegranate peel 8%) and (horse manure vermicompost, sawdust and crushed and noncrushed pomegranate peel 12%). Conclusions: Treatment (horse manure vermicompost, 8%) resulted in the most length in spinach leaves. It was therefore concluded that the effect of vermicompost treatment was more significant than the compost treatment on the growth of spinach.

How to cite this article:
Ahmadi F, Jafarpour M. The Functional Effect of Different Organic Matter on Spinach (Spinacia oleracea).J Earth Environ Health Sci 2015;1:1-4

How to cite this URL:
Ahmadi F, Jafarpour M. The Functional Effect of Different Organic Matter on Spinach (Spinacia oleracea). J Earth Environ Health Sci [serial online] 2015 [cited 2024 Mar 3 ];1:1-4
Available from:

Full Text


Spinach (Spinacia oleracea), is considered to be in the Chenopodiaceae family. It is an annual (rarely biennial) long day plant that produces rosette leaves and has a deep main root. Spinach grows in fairly cold climate, which is the appropriate growth condition for the plant. It is planted in Spring and Autumn. Exposed to excessive heat, the plant flowers early and the seed yield is reduced.

Good fertilization, as a source of almost all the essential nutrients, is an important factor in crops growth. [1] The increasing use of chemical fertilizers to grow vegetables such as spinach has caused numerous problems related to the environment and human health. Hence, using organic fertilizers including compost and vermicompost can be a more suitable alternative. [2] Making use of agricultural waste and returning them to the cycle of nature rather than burying or burning them is an effective approach to help the environment. Pomegranate peel is one of these examples, which exists in abundance and is easily accessible. The role of the earthworms biological cycles and soil fertility is already well-known. Having these creatures is important to maintain the ecosystem balanced. Earthworms produce organic matter by decomposing and digesting raw materials. In addition to improving soil's physical and chemical properties, the produced organic matter increases the microbial population of the soil. [3] This fact improves the plant growth and affects functional parameters of the plant positively. Depending on a variety of factors such as soil, crop and conditions of the region, the organic matter being used varies.

Soil organic matter is effective in improving sustainable agriculture. Organic matter also compensates for low soil fertility. Furthermore, due to its positive impact on the environment, it has constantly been supported. Furthermore, soil organic matter content reduces the risk of soil susceptibility to water and wind erosion and prevents dissipation nutrients required by plants for proper growth. [4] Animal fertilizers such as horse manure have long been known as a suitable source of organic matter containing a high amount of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Dikinya and Mufwanzala [5] stated that chicken manure significantly increases the phosphorus of soil since it releases more phosphorus than nitrogen. As reported by Bulluck et al., [6] compost improves and expands the physical and chemical properties of soil. Peyvast [7] reported that a mixture of 10% vermicompost and soil significantly increases the leaf area, the amount of potassium, phosphorus, nitrogen and spinach microelements. In a research conducted to find the effect of sawdust vermicompost on the growth of some plants, Khomami [8] reported that different doses of vermicompost are significant on the plant height and fresh and dry weight of aerial parts and the roots. The largest plant height was achieved using 50% cow dung vermicompost and sawdust, which was significantly different from the control group plant. The objectives of this study were to analyze two different organic materials of compost and vermicompost and examine their effects on growth characteristics of spinach plant.

 Materials and Methods

Experimental location

To examine the compound effect of organic fertilizers on spinach quantitative and qualitative properties, this experiment was carried out in 2013 at a farm that is the property of Islamic Azad University of Khorasgan at latitude 35°47′N and longitude 51° 37′N. The seeds were planted during in rows (the spacing was 15-25 cm between rows and 5 cm depth of each). During the growing cycle, irrigation was done manually. After about 3 months of cultivation, samples of spinach leaves and stems were collected to measure the characteristics under study. About 6-7 fully developed leaves were picked randomly from each plot. The characteristic to be measured were Vitamin C portion, total soluble solid (TSS) sugar, TA organic acids, leaves length and PH. Vitamin C was estimated by 2,6-Dichlorophenol-induphenol visual titration method as described by Rangana; [9] The TSS content was determined by using a refractrometer; and TA organic acids were measured using Horwitz 10] method. To measure the length of leaf blade, petiole to the tip of the leaf was measured by a ruler. pH was determined with a pH meter.

The experiment was carried out in a randomized complete block design including 8 treatments in 4 replications at two different levels of 8% and 12% fertilizer with 16 treatment combinations, 64 plots where each plot had 2 m × 1 m, plants in 2 rows with 15 cm distance in each plot and 5 cm distance between each plant on rows so 40 seeds were planted per plot. Treatments are shown in [Table 1].{Table 1}

Statistical analyses

After data collection, the MSTAT-C software version 9.1 was used to sort the data. Data was subject to analysis of variance (ANOVA) with SAS software version 19 and where significant means where detected, mean separation test was performed using the Duncan's test at the 1% probability level. Graphs were demonstrated in Microsoft Excel software.


The ANOVA [Table 1] demonstrated that there were significant differences between treatments regard to acidity at 0.001 probability level. The most alkaline pH was observed in Bed 1 (horse manure compost 8%) whereas Bed 4 (horse manure vermicompost 12%) was the most acidic [Chart 1 [SUPPORTING:1]]. Due to the activities of organisms such as fungi and bacteria in vermicompost, humic acid is produced [2] which probably affects the acidification of the plant. These results are in agreement with Azarmi et al. [11] , which conducted an experiment on cucumber and showed that the application of vermicompost caused the least pH on the plant, whereas the most pH was observed in the control group (vermicompost-free examples).

Organic acid

Considering the ANOVA [Table 2], the organic acid was significantly affected by treatments (P < 0.001). Comparison of the means showed that the highest organic acid (0.56%) was in Bed 12, whereas the lowest organic acid existed in Bed 10 which had no significant different from Beds number 2, 6 and 13. Bed 12, with crushed pomegranate peels, probably had a better decomposition than Bed 10 with noncrushed peels, which therefore likely contributed to producing more organic matter. The fact that vermicompost nutrient content for the plant is a matter of its raw material, [12] and hence applies to Bed 12 which explains more organic acid production there. After Bed 12, the highest organic acid was observed in Bed 4 (the most acidic bed), which confirmed that increasing the organic acid in the plant creates a more acidic environment. [13] In an experiment by Zoran et al. [14] the organic acid of the fruit tomato was compared in two growth conditions with chemical and organic fertilizers. The result showed a significant increase in tomato's amount of acid malic and acid citric in the treatment with organic fertilizer in comparison with chemical one; those findings also match the results of this experiment.{Table 2}

Vitamin C

The Vitamin C ANOVA showed that treatments had significant effect on the amount of produced Vitamin C (P < 0.001). According to the comparison of means [Chart 2 [SUPPORTING:2]] the least amount of Vitamin C was observed in Bed 2, whereas the most was observed in bed 15 (Vermicompost horse manure, sawdust, crushed and noncrushed pomegranate peel 8%). The material digested by earthworms in vermicompost is rich in nutrient and also microorganisms (particularly bacteria). Besides, the high amount of plant hormons produced by earthworm including auxin, gibberellin and cytokinin can help increase the effective ingredients such as Vitamin C. [15] Ibrahim and Fadni [16] demonstrated that in comparison with the control group, cattle manure and compost increased the Vitamin C of the tomato to 36% and 56% respectively. In another experiment, the effect of organic fertilizer was examined on properties of tomato. The findings suggested that the use of organic material had a significant effect on tomato's amount of Vitamin C which subsequently approves the findings of the present study.

Total soluble solid

The effect of treatments had a significant effect at 0.001 on TSS. Beds 7 and 16 had the highest level of TSS whereas Bed 1 demonstrated the least amount. The decomposition which occurs in vermicompost makes nutrients available to plants and increases the absorption of plant nutrients. [17] Thus vermicompost caused more TSS due to the availability of more plant nutrients than in compost treatment. In an experiment, the organic matter of compost and cattle manure increased the TSS level in the tomato to 95% and 58% respectively in comparison with the control group. The use of organic fertilizer in beds decreases the acidity, which increases the absorption of plants nutrients from the soil. [18] In this experiment, the most alkaline plant was in Bed 1 which probably it was the most alkaline bed, and this bed showed the lowest TSS level, which confirms the effect of acidity on TSS; that is, in comparison with the acidic bed, the alkaline one makes the plant nutrients less available. [19] In another study, the application of vermicompost on the growth of cucumber and tomato was examined, the result showed treatments had a significant effect on the fruits TSS. [14] As results of the comparison of the means illustrates, both treatment percentages of vermicompost horse manure, sawdust, crushed and noncrushed pomegranate peel demonstrated the highest level of Vitamin C and TSS, whereas both treatment percentages of composted horse manure had the lowest level, which implies a direct relationship between Vitamin C and TSS. According to the report by Zoran et al., [14] sun radiations increases the amount of Vitamin C, which also intensifies photosynthesis operation and consequently increases formation of carbohydrates and TSS level increases consequently.

Length of leaf blade

The results of ANOVA showed that the treatment had a significant effect on the length of the leaves blade (P < 0.001). The most length of leaf blade belonged to bed 3 (25 cm) [Table 3], whereas the least were observed in Beds 11 and 14 (11 cm). In a similar experiment by Ibrahim and Fadni, [7] the effect of organic fertilizer on tomato was investigated where findings showed that the organic fertilizer had a significant effect on different stages of plant growth. The treatment included a mixture of cattle and poultry manure increased plant's height and the number of nodes. Azarmi et al. [4] mentioned that applying vermicompost increased the leaf area of cucumber to 18% which is in accord with our findings. Krishnamoorthy and Vajranabhiah [9] showed a direct relationship between worm population of vermicompost and the amount of soils cytokinin and auxins. Since cytokinin is a growth hormone, [20] it improves the plants growth.{Table 3}

Chemical fertilizers gradually degrade the soil structure and make some necessary elements of soil unavailable to the plant. [21] However, the organic fertilizer improves soils physical and chemical properties which contribute to soil amendment for plant nutrients and improved plant growth. [18] The findings of this study demonstrated that applying organic fertilizers in the form of vermicompost had improved effects on spinach growth elements.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


1Ogunlela VB, Masarirambi MT, Makuza SM. Effect of cattle manure application on pod yield and yield indices of okra (Abelmoschus esculentus L. Moench) in semi-arid and subtropical environment. J Food Agric Environ 2005;3:5-15.
2Atiyeh RM, Edwards CA, Subler S, Metzger JD. Pig manure vermicompost as a component of a horticultural bedding plant medium: Effects on physicochemical properties and plant growth. Bioresour Technol 2001;78:11-20.
3Ansari AA. Effect of vermicompost and vermiwash on the productivity of Spinach (Spinacia oleracea), Onion (Allium cepa) and Potato (Solanum tuberosum). World J Agric Sci 2008;4:554-7.
4Dikinya O, Mufwanzala N. Chicken manure-enhanced soil fertility and productivity: Effects of application rates. J Soil Sci Environ Manage 2010;1:46-54.
5Walker, D.J. and Bernal, M.P. 2004. Plant mineral nutrition and growth in a saline Mediterranean soil amended with organic wastes. Commun. Soil Sci. Plant Anal. 35(17 & 18), 2495-2514.
6Bulluck LR, Brosius M, Evanylo GK, Ristaino JB. Organic and synthetic fertility amendments influence soil microbial, physical and chemical properties on organic and conventional farms. Appl Soil Ecol 2002;19:147-60.
7Peyvast G. Olericulture. 5 th edition. Gilan.Gilan University. 192 pp.
8Khomami A M. Effect of Sawdust Vermicompost in Pot Media on Nutrition and Growth of Dieffenbachia (Dieffenbachia amonea) Plant. Seed and plant production journal 2011;26:435-444.
9Rangana M. Manual Analysis of Fruits and Vegetables Product. New Delhi: Tata McGraw-Hill Co. Ltd.; 1979. p. 2-95.
10Horwitz W. Official Methods of Analysis of the Association of Official Analytical Chemist (AOAC). 12 th ed. AOAC; 1975.
11Azarmi R, Torabi Giglou M, Hajieghrari B. The effect of sheep-manure vermicompost on quantitative and qualitative properties of cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) grown in the greenhouse. Afr J Biotechnol 2009;8:4953-7.
12Masarirambi M, Mbokazi B, Wahome P, Oseni T. Effects of kraal manure, chicken manure and inorganic fertilizer on growth and yield of lettuce (Lactuca sativa L. var Commander) in a semi-arid environment. Asian J Agric Sci 2012;4:58-64.
13Wang SY, Lin S. Compost as soil supplement enhanced plant growth and fruit quality of strawberry. J Plant Nutr 2002;25:2243-59.
14Zoran IS, Nikolaos K, Ljubomir Š. Tomato fruit quality from organic and conventional. Organic agriculture towards sustainability production. ch. 7. 2014; 214-222.
15Tomati U, Grappelli A, Galli E. The presence of growth regulators in earthworm-worked wastes. In: Paglioi AM, Omodeo P, editors. On Earthworms. Proceedings of International Symposium on Earthworms. Selected Symposia and Monographs, Unione Zoologica Italiana. Vol. 2. Modena: Mucchi; 1987. p. 423-35.
16Ibrahim KH, Fadni OA. Effect of organic fertilizers application on growth, yield and quality of tomatoes in North Kordofan (sandy soil) western Sudan. Greener J Agric Sci 2013;3:299-304.
17Kashem MA, Warman PR. Effect of high-molybdenum compost on soil sand the growth of lettuce and barley. Commun Soil Sci Plant Anal 2009;40:2225-33.
18Ingram DL, Henley RW, Yeager TH. Growth media for container grow nornamental plants. J Fla Coop Ext Serv 1993;24:1-16.
19Krishnamoorthy RV, Vajranabhiah SN. Biological activity of earthworm casts: An assessment of plant growth promoter levels in casts. Proc Indian Acad Sci Anim Sci 1986;95:341-51.
20Stowe-Evans EL, Harper RM, Motchoulski AV, Liscum E. NPH4, a conditional modulator of auxin-dependent differential growth responses in Arabidopsis. Plant Physiol 1998;118:1265-75.
21Lalitha R, Fathima K, Ismail SA. Impact of biopesticides and microbial fertilizers on productivity and growth of Abelmoschus esculentus. Vasundhara the Earth Journal 2000, p. 125-31.