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Development of Pressmud into Quality Enrich Product

India is the second largest producer of the sugar in the world and 8-10 million tons of pressmud is generated annually. Pressmud is a soft, spongy, amorphous and dark brown material containing sugar, fiber and coagulated colloids including cane wax, inorganic salts and soil particles. It consists of 80 % water and 0.9 -1.5 % sugar, organic matter, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, sulphur, coagulated colloids and other materials in varying amounts.

The time when cost of chemical fertilizer is skyrocketing and not affordable by farmers, pressmud has promise as a source of plant nutrient and as medium for raising sugarcane seedlings and leguminous inoculants. The advantages of using sugarcane pressmud for soil application is its low cost, slower release of nutrients, presence of trace element, high water holding capacity and mulching properties. Phosphorus is an expensive fertilizer, so farmers are not able to use it in appropriate amounts. Lack of phosphorus and other elements is continuously increasing in the soil due to unbalanced use of fertilizers. As an alternative to expensive and imported phosphorus fertilizers, it is beneficial to prepare cheap phosphorus strips fertilizer using its own resources.

Disadvantages of Pressmud:

  1. Pressmud affects the physical, chemical and biological properties of soil but due to its bulky nature and wax content it causes some problems.
  2. If pressmud is directly applied to soil as manure, the wax present might deteriorate the physical properties such as permeability, aeration, soil structure and composition etc. and with the passage of time the deterioration might get worsen.
  3. If it is freshly applied to the soil directly from the factory, it has the tendency to burn the plants due to the decomposition of the new sugarcane pressmud which liberates heat and ammonia in high concentrations

Composition of Pressmud:

pH 6.0-7.0
EC ds/m 3.0-3.3
Organic Carbon % 15.0-36.0
Nitrogen % 1.0-1.5
Phosphorus % 1.4-4.0
C:N 16-36
Potassium % 0.5-2.0

Soil And Water Conservation Engineering PDF Book

Method of Making Phospho-Rich Compost:

  1. Role of Fungi for Rapid Degradation of Pressmud:Developed fungal liquid inoculant consisting of phosphorus solubilizing, lignolytic, cellulolytic, amylolytic, pectinolytic, lipolytic and thermotolerant fungi to be used for bioconversion of pressmud.
  2. Degradation of Pressmud by Windrow method: length of the windrow should be 30mtr (approx.), height 2.5mtr.
  3. Machines used for mixing and spraying fungal liquid inoculant :


WindrowAer tilling machine

  1. After adding fungal liquid inoculants mix the windrow by aero tilling machine.
  2. After the seven days aerotilling is done and water is added to maintain moisture.
  3. Phospho Rich Organic Manure (PROM) was ready within 30 days.

Physico-chemical characteristics of PROM produced from activated composting of pressmud:

S.No. Parameters PROM
1 Moisture, per cent by weight 18.25
2 Particle Size 98% material passed through 4.0mm IS sieve
3 Bulk density (g/cm3) 1.3
4 pH (1:5 Solution) 7.5
5 Conductivity (as dsm-1) 3.5
6 Total Organic carbon, per cent by weight 13.8
7 Total Nitrogen , per cent by weight


8 C:N Ratio 12.54
9 Total Potash(asK2O),% by weight 1.2
9 Total Phosphates(asP2O5),% by weight 10.15
10 Phytotoxicity Nil
11 Coliforms Nil

Also Read: Organic Farming: A New Revolution In Agriculture

Importance and benefits of using phospho-compost: It is complete natural and organic manure. With its use, phosphorus is supplied along with almost all essential nutrients. It has the following benefits:

  1. These fertilizers contain a lot of acid which dissolves the insoluble nutrients present in the soil and provides it to the plants.
  2. The use of phospho compost in the ground increases the activation of microorganisms participating in nitrification, ammonization and nitrogen activity.
  3. Its use improves soil formation and particle configuration, and water holding capacity with increase in organic matter in the soil.
  4. They are very beneficial for crop production in saline and alkaline soil.
  5. It is cheaper to use than phosphorus fertilizers, reduces phosphorus fertilizer import costs and can also reduce soil erosion.
  6. Phospho-compost nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium are readily available to the plants.



A consortium of phosphorous solubilizing thermotolerant and lignocelluloytic fungi is found efficient for decomposing pressmud. Mechanical mixing of pressmud after inoculation helps in faster degradation PROM is rich in org. C, N, P and K without any phytotoxic effects on plants. Eco-friendly technology for production of value added product.



Article Written By

Mr. Shubham Sharma

Division of Microbiology, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, PUSA, New Delhi

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