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Applied and Environmental Soil Science
Volume 2010, Article ID 414356, 16 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2010/414356
Review Article

The Role of Earthworms in Tropics with Emphasis on Indian Ecosystems

1Centre for Scientific Research and Advanced Learning, Mount Carmel College, Bangalore, Karnataka 560 052, India
2Department of Biotechnology, VMKV Engineering College, Vinayaka Missions University, Periya Seeragapadi, Salem, Tamil Nadu 636 308, India

Received 3 November 2009; Accepted 16 December 2009

Academic Editor: Thilagavathy Daniel

Copyright © 2010 Radha D. Kale and Natchimuthu Karmegam. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The paper highlights the research carried out by different scientists in India on aspects of earthworm population dynamics and species diversity, associated with other soil fauna and microflora. It also deals with the importance of earthworm activity on physicochemical properties of soil with reference to India and other tropical countries. Stress is laid on the earthworm plant association and importance of the secretions of earthworms as plant growth stimulators. Moreover, the earthworm species reported and being utilized for vermicomposting in India are discussed, since vermicomposting is the ultimate technology which renders for the improvement of soil fertility status and plant growth. Earthworms serve as indicators of soil status such as the level of contamination of pollutants: agrochemicals, heavy metals, toxic substances, and industrial effluents; human-induced activities: land-management practices and forest degradation. In all these fields there is lacuna with respect to contributions from India when compared to the available information from other tropical countries. There is lot of scope in the field of research on earthworms to unravel the importance of these major soil macrofauna from holistic ecological studies to the molecular level.