An important and often unrecognized feature of vermicast is its cationic exchange rate. This is the rate at which the cationic soil trace elements can attach themselves to vermicast.
Everything in nature has an electrical charge. Some charges are positive, cations, and some are negative, anions. Organic vegetative matter is anionic and, because vermicast is highly vegetative matter, it is strongly anionic. Most trace elements are cationic.
In simple terms this means that trace elements are attracted to vermicast and readily bond to it in the same way that opposite poles of a magnet attract each other. Plants have a stronger pull than the vermicast and can therefore draw the trace elements away from the vermicast and into their roots.
Atiyeh et al. (2000) found that compost was higher in ammonium, while Vermicompost tended to be higher in nitrates, which is the more plant-available form of nitrogen.
Vermicasts are excellent media for harbouring N-fixing bacteria (Bhole, 1992).
Earthworms have multiple, interactive effects on rates and patterns of nitrogen mineralization and immobilization in natural and managed ecosystems (Edwards and Lofty, 1977; Lee, 1983; Lavelle and Martin, 1992; Blair et al., 1995b).
An excerpt from the document “Vermicast explained: what it is and how it works.” to read the full article, see our commercial documents section, otherwise