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Effective Microorganisms (EM)

Posted: Fri Dec 15, 2006 3:57 am
by PeterNZ
In this topic people were asking me about Effective Microorganisms (EM).

EM was developped by Dr. Teruo Higa in Japan. It is a mixture from aerobic and anaerobic microorganism. It contains Photosynthetic bakteria, Lactic acid bakteria and yeasts.

A quote from the EM handbook:
A. Photosynthetic Bacteria
The photosynthetic or phototropic bacteria are a group of independent, self supporting microbes. These bacteria
synthesize useful substances from secretions of roots, organic matter and/or harmful gases (eg. hydrogen
sulphide), by using sunlight and the heat of soil as sources of energy. Useful substances developed by these
microbes include amino acids, nucleic acids, bioactive substances and sugars, all of which promote plant growth
and development. The metabolites developed by these microorganisms are absorbed directly into plants and act as
substrates for increasing beneficial populations.
B. Lactic acid bacteria
Lactic acid bacteria produce lactic acid from sugars and other carbohydrates, developed by photosynthetic
bacteria and yeast. Therefore, some foods and drinks such as yogurt and pickles have been made with lactic acid
bacteria for decades. However, lactic acid is a strong sterilizing compound, and suppresses harmful
microorganisms and enhances decomposition of organic matter. Moreover, lactic acid bacteria promote the
decomposition of material such as lignin and cellulose and ferments these materials, thereby removing
undesirable effects of undecomposed organic matter.
C. Yeast
Yeasts synthesize antimicrobial and other useful substances required for plant growth from amino acids and
sugars secreted by photosynthetic bacteria, organic matter and plant roots. The bioactive substances such as
hormones and enzymes produced by yeasts promote active cell and root division. These secretions are also useful
substrates for effective microbes such as lactic acid bacteria and actinomycetes.
EM is not a fertiliser. But it promotes microorgnisms in ANY environment. And this is the strength of EM! Any environment can be your compost heap, your vege beet, your paddock, your intestines or an animals intestines, your water tank, your running shoes, your bathroom and toilet - the list is endless. It creates an environment where beneficial microorganisms can multiply better and are happy to do their work! It supports fermenting processes and rotting processes.

We use EM
  • in the garden with No Dig Gardening
    on the compost heap
    feed it to the Goats and Sheep and Chicken
    in the hen house (no smell!!!)
    on the dog (no smell!!!)
    in the toilet (no smell!!!)
    in the bathroom
The next project is on our paddocks. The idea is the following: EM promotes the rotting process of manure i.e. sheep droppings. Intestinal parasites have a stage in the manure of animals. So if I spray the paddocks with EM I not only give the soil support for beneficial microorganisms, I also support that manure breaks down faster and gets transferred faster into humus and that the life cycle of parasite eggs is therefore much shorter!

Ok, if you want to get information about EM, I suggest your first point of contact online should be the web page of the EM Technology Network. Under EM Library you will find tons of information.

The EM Forum is helpful, but sometimes a bit strange i.e. "How can EM help with my stress at work" etc. People there tend to use EM for everything! Think "Enhance your libido, cure cancer and make your wife/husband look better" etc.

I would then suggest, see where and who is producing EM in your country. Contact them and ask them for information etc. In New Zealand it is naturefarm and the best place to buy EM in NZ is the

This brings me to cost: I can only speak for New Zeland. I pay NZ$23 for one liter. This one liter is EM-1. I should explain this. EM-1 is your base solution. This will have to be made into Extended EM, sometimes called EM-X or EM-A. I use a bottle and an airlock from my homebrewing. I use 50ml EM + 50 ml Molasses and 1 liter water. This has to ferment for 4 - 7 days. Check the links above for exact information or ask. This solution will be diluted depending on how and where you use it. Between 1 : 10 and 1: 1000. So one part EM-A and 10 parts water. 1 liter of EM-1 gives you 20 times one liter - 20 liters extended EM. 20 liters extended EM gives you around 2000 liter applicable solution if you mix 100ml EM with 10 liters of water. That's 2000 liters of applicable solution from 1 liter EM-1 for NZ$23! I call this a good value for money.

Ok, let me know if you want to know more about EM. I am happy to help and answer questions as long as I kow an answer!



Posted: Sun Jan 21, 2007 10:01 pm
by PeterNZ
I am just wondering if people

a) didn't understand what I was rambling on about
b) are not interested
c) think EM is bollocks
d) have tried it and were disappointed
e) all of the above

I am suprised that I didn't get any reaction! EM is perfect for a selfsufficient lifestyle and is a cheap and good and healthy option for all sorts of things i.e. bathroom cleaner etc.

Let me know if you want to know more about it!



P.S.: I need to get this Margo picture out of my profile. So I might write lots of posts in the next couple of days. ;-)

Posted: Sun Jan 21, 2007 10:13 pm
by Martin
a sort of universal Yakult........... :wink:

Posted: Sun Jan 21, 2007 10:21 pm
by Shirley
It's the first time I saw it Peter... sorry mate.

Anyway... one more post... one more post... and you'll shed your kaftan for good!!

Thanks so much for posting so much info about Ems.. much appreciated.

Posted: Sun Jan 21, 2007 10:25 pm
by PeterNZ
Hiya Shirlz,

do you use EM? What experiences do you have with it?



Posted: Sun Jan 21, 2007 10:26 pm
by PeterNZ
She is gone! She is gone! That Margo woman is gone!! Woohhooo!




Posted: Sun Jan 21, 2007 10:41 pm
by farmerdrea
You're funny, Peter! :mrgreen:

This is something I've been had at the back of my mind for a few years, actually, but haven't been able to focus on it.

How do you give it to your goats? On a regular or daily basis? Can you use it to treat ills in animals? If so, what kind? For instance, I had a few goats with alcohol poisoning from me feeding them grains that had soaked a bit too long. 14 goats were fed the concoction, 5 got sick, 3 badly, 1 died (my best goat, unfortunately), from the enterotoxemia brought on by the poisoning. With probiotics and antibiotics, I brought the other 2 bad ones round, but would something like the EMs help restoring the gut flora?

Will check out that shop...

(also trying to make that Margo disappear!)

Posted: Sun Jan 21, 2007 11:01 pm
by Shirley
PeterNZ wrote:Hiya Shirlz,

do you use EM? What experiences do you have with it?
Not so far... and none so far :)

Sounds good though - especially the feeding to goats and chickens etc.

Posted: Sun Jan 21, 2007 11:22 pm
by PeterNZ
Hiya Andrea,

how is it going down there? Good to see you!

I feed my two milking goats the following mix:

1 kg Maize
1 kg Wheat
1 kg crushed Oats
0.5 kg Peas
0.5 kg Bran
0.25 kg crushed Linseed
0.1 kg Sea Weed powder

This is mixed in a bucket. Every morning I disolve a big tablespoon of molasses, 5 ml Megimmune Red Cu and 10 ml EM with 300ml of very warm water. I mix this with 600 g of the grain mix above for each goat which gets milked.

See, all I can say is that my goats are healthy and happy. I never ever had worm problems, they look good, their feet are ok and everything else is normal. The problem with organic principles is, that you can't really proof it works or it doesn't. Is the EM a crucial part of this? I can only assume!

One other thing was, we had lots of twins this year. There was the time where all the Angoas looked a bit "stressed out". I am sure you know what I am talking about. Bland fibre, a bit down and tired etc. I started giving them the mix and in 1 week I could see a great improvement.

EM has an impact on the flora in the intestines. It promotes intestinal bakteria and yeasts etc. It also helps with the fermentation in the rumen and provides a far better cud. Nutrition is made more available and the digestion doesn't need so much energy!

And I think it is cost effective.



Posted: Sat Jan 27, 2007 2:07 pm
by the.fee.fairy
This is all really interesting.
The only thing i'd ever seen with EM was the indoor composter from Wiggly Wigglers.
Didn't realise you could use it for so much! I'll have a look out for a uk supplier i think.

Posted: Sat Jan 27, 2007 6:39 pm
by Chickpea
Peter, is it a GMO?

Posted: Sun Jan 28, 2007 12:34 am
by PeterNZ
Sorry Chickpea, but what is a GMO??




Posted: Sun Jan 28, 2007 12:36 am
by PeterNZ
PeterNZ wrote:Sorry Chickpea, but what is a GMO??



Ahh, GMO = Genetically Modified Organism!!! No, absolutely not. Then I wouldn't use it! It is Bakteria and Yeasts which are grown in labor envirnonments and then brewed using molasses.

Hope this answers your question!



Posted: Sun Jan 28, 2007 2:09 pm
by Chickpea
I read about EM in Wiggly Wigglers, where they're all big fans. I dunno, I'm just not excited by it. It sounds like a solution to a problem I haven't got. My chickens' shit smells. So what? It's meant to. My compost could decompose quicker. Don't care. It decomposes fast enough for me. What can I say? It just doesn't turn me on.

Posted: Mon Jan 29, 2007 3:58 am
by PeterNZ
That's an interesting position!

What about better and bigger vegetables? No smell in the toilet? No soap scum in the bathroom? Healthier animals? More seeds will sprout? Healthier soil? Better humus? Healthier earthworms? Non smelling composting toilets? Non smelling grey water for watering the vege garden? Healthier drinking water form rain etc.

Sorry, I sound like a sales person. But I am not! It s no problem if you're not turned on!