The application of agro-waste in the form of compost is an ecofriendly approach to minimize the use of chemicals for crop improvement. Hence, compost was prepared by the Indore method from banana spathe obtained from five popular varieties of banana cultivated in Tamil Nadu, India, and its growth promoting ability was tested on the rice cultivar CO-51. The banana spathe was applied as both an aqueous extract and compost to evaluate the growth parameters in bioassays and pot culture experiments. The compost improved the growth in terms of root length, shoot length, biomass, tillers, length, and width of flag leaf and yield in CO-51 rice cultivar significantly (p < 0.001%) when compared to the untreated control and fertilizer-treated plants. The maximum yield was observed in the treatment with Rasthali spathe. Biochemical analysis of the compost-treated rice plants showed an increase in chlorophyll, carotenoid, carbohydrate, protein, and amino acid content when compared to the untreated control plants. The results from the study suggest that the banana spathe compost could be used as an effective organic fertilizer for the growth of rice plants thus providing a strategy to reduce landfills, as well as the use of fertilizers, thereby further helping to protect the agroecosystem.
Key words: Keywords: Agrowaste, compost, banana spathe, rice.