The Wonders of EM and AEM

in Organics Tue Nov 26, 2013 8:07 am
by pcduck (deleted)

I found this while doing research on Effective Microorganisms.

This is the link to where it was found


1. What is meant by Effective Microorganisms (EM)?
Microorganisms are tiny units of life that are too small to be seen with the naked eye and they exist everywhere in nature. Microorganisms are crucial for maintaining the ecological balance. They carry out chemical processes that make it possible for all other organisms including humans to live. There are friendly guys of the microbial worlds known as beneficial microorganisms and a not so friendly group called pathogens that are
harmful and capable of producing disease, decay and pollution.

In 1982 Dr.Higa at the University of Ryukyus, Okinawa Japan, discovered a specific group of naturally occurring beneficial microorganisms with an amazing ability to revive, restore, and preserve. He named this group E.M. (Effective microorganisms).

This mix will make a non-toxic chemical free insect repellent. It can be used to prevent pest and disease problems in the garden. It acts by creating a barrier around the plant thereby protecting it from insects. The mix can be enhanced by including garlic, hot peppers or aloe vera . These are chopped or mashed prior to adding to the mix.

Warm water (chlorine free )Select a suitable sized container for mixing, some plastic bottles with caps for storage and a funnel. Add the molasses to the warm water and stir till thoroughly mixed. Then add the vinegar, whiskey and EM concentrate. Pour the mix into the plastic bottles and add small quantities of chopped garlic etc. Seal as tightly as possible and leave in a warm dark place. Release any gas produced at least twice daily by releasing the cap. The EM is ready for use when the production of gas has stopped and the product has a sweet fruity smell. The mix can be stored in a dark cool place which has a uniform temperature for up to 3 months. If garlic extract has been used, filter this out before storage. Do not store in the refrigerator.

Dilute 20 mls of the mix in 2 litres of clean water in a sprayer and spray enough of the mix to wet the crop. Spraying can begin from seed germination or plant establishment and before pests and diseases can be seen. If an attack occurs use up to 30 mls of solution in 2 litres of water Spray weekly either in the morning or after heavy rains for best results.
EM is the trade mark used to identify this particular mixture of beneficial organismsE.M. is a combined culture of aerobic microorganisms (requiring oxygen to survive) and anaerobic (requires no oxygen to survive) that co-exist together to the mutual advantage of both (symbiosis).E.M combines with the existing microorganisms within the soil. They work together to build a healthy living soil.E.M is not toxic or pathogenic and is safe for humans, animals and the environment.Current research indicates that EM cultures can suppress soil-borne pathogens, accelerate the decomposition of organic wastes, increase the availability of mineral nutrients and useful organic compounds to plants, enhance the activities of beneficial micro-organisms, e.g., mycorrhizae, nitrogen fixing bacteria, and reduce the need for chemical fertilisers and pesticides. EM helps to increase beneficial soil micro-organisms and supression of harmful ones.

Apply weekly using a clean sprayer and spray directly onto the plants ensuring through wetting. This should be done in early morning or late afternoon for best results and to prevent leaf scorch.

Give a good watering ensuring the solution fully drenches / wets the soil. Apply as required around mature plants or on open ground. When incorporating organic matter/compost into the soil, apply EM dilution to the organic matter before digging in.

Cut any annual weeds, grass, or crop residues at least 5 cm from the ground and place the material on the soil as a mulch. Spray EM liquid weekly on the mulch and plants.

Apply to the compost heap to reduce troublesome odours and flies as well as improving the compost process and quality. Preferably spray on with a hand sprayer to prevent over wetting the compost heap and apply at each addition of fresh material if possible.

EM is a liquid concentrate and in this form the micro organisms are alive but dormant. It is a dark brown liquid with a pleasant vinegary yeasty type smell. The pH of this liquid is approx. 3.5. To activate the EM simply dilute the concentrated solution with clean chlorine free water. The EM solution which is then produced is a yellowish brown in colour with a pleasant smell.

EM Liquid Concentrate can be used as a pre planting treatment, as a foliar spray, or for actively growing fruit and veggie crops, and for all ornamental plants. In fact anywhere in the garden including your compost heap or areas of poor or stagnant soil.

Use EM liquid concentrate in the garden at the rate of 5ml EM concentrated solution diluted in 1 litre of clean chlorine free water. Apply at the rate of one litre per square metre. These are minimum recommended rates for use.

(This following procedure is optional )
You will need10 litre watering can10 litres of chlorine free water (water can be left to stand for 24hrs to allow the chlorine to evaporate)10-20 ml EM Concentrate10-20 ml MolassesIf necessary, dissolve the molasses or brown sugar in a little warm water first. Then pour the molasses or brown sugar into the 10 litres of water and stir thoroughly. Add the EM Concentrate into the molasses, water mix and stir well. The EM then uses the molasses as a food source, so kick starting it into action quicker.
Leave the mix to stand in a warm place out of direct sunlight for 1-2 hours to allow the EM to activate more fully. Apply at the rate of one litre per square m etre. Do not store any of the made up solution. These are minimum recommended rates for use.__________________

EM in the soil
Most organics including animal manures and composts have populations of micro-organisms. Many of these are beneficial upon introduction to the soil, however they are soon overwhelmed by the existing soil microorganisms. Thus, the beneficial effects of micro-organisms introduced with the application of composts are often short lived. On application EM cultures are subject to the same fate when applied to the soil environment. But the advantage of EM is that beneficial microorganisms are in much greater numbers, and in optimally-balanced populations when introduced, so remain dominant in the soil for a much longer time.
The effectiveness of EM can be extended in soils by three applications of EM at 8 - 10 day intervals during the first 3 to 4 weeks after planting a crop. This will insure that EM populations remain high throughout a critical a period when young seedlings and plants are vulnerable to environmental stresses (drought, heat, weeds, and pathogens). It is at this stage when the greatest loss in crop yield and quality occurs.

EM cultures have been used effectively to inoculate both farm wastes as well as urban wastes to reduce odours and hasten the treatment process. EM has also been used with great success as an inoculant for composting a wide variety of organic wastes. An EM culture known as EM Bokashi can be used for composting food organics and other compostable materials. EM Bokashi is a fermented compost starter made from sawdust and wheat bran. When the correct conditions are provided EM sets in motion a fermentation process to transform food and other organic materials into compost.

EM has been used on many different soils and crops over a wide range of conditions. Results show that in most cases EM gives positive results. EM is not a substitute for other management practices. EM technology is an added dimension for optimising our best soil.
and crop management practices such as crop rotations, use of composts, crop residue recycling, and biological control of pests. If used properly EM enhances soil fertility and promotes growth, flowering, fruit development and ripening in crops. It can increase crop yields and improve crop quality as well as accelerating the breakdown of organic matter from crop residues. The population of beneficial micro- organisms in the soil is also increased helping to control soil diseases through competitive exclusion. In New Zealand EM has Bio-Gro certification as an “Approved organic product”.

EM is not a pesticide and contains no inorganic chemicals. EM is a microbial inoculant that works as a bio-control measure in suppressing and/or controlling pests through the introduction of beneficial microorganisms to soils and plants. Pests and pathogens are suppressed or controlled through natural processes by enhancing the competitive and antagonistic activities of the microorganisms in the EM inoculants.
2. EM-based quick compostingEffective micro-organisms (EM) consist of common and food-grade aerobic and anaerobic micro-organisms: photosynthetic bacteria, lactobacillus, streptomyces, actinomycetes, yeast, etc. The strains of the micro-organisms are commonly available from microbe banks or from the environment. There are no genetically engineered strains that are in use. Since 1999, seven small-scale organic fertilizer units have been using the EM-based quick production process in Myanmar. They are owned and operated by women's income generation groups. A unit consists of nine pits measuring about 180 cm (length) × 120 cm (width) × 90 cm (depth), enclosed by low walls and covered with a roof .

The raw materials for organic fertilizer production are:
Cow dung:2 portions1 portion1 portionRice bran, milled1 portion33 litres of EM solution or Trichoderma solution per pit3. Preparation of EM solutionOne litre of 'instant solution' is made by mixing 10 ml of EM, 40 ml of molasses and 950 ml of water and leaving it for five to seven days, depending on temperature. The solution is then added to 1 litre of molasses and 98 litres of water to obtain 100 litres of ready-to-use EM solution. This amount is enough for three pits. The EM solution functioning as accelerator reduces the composting period from three months to one month.

All the ingredients are mixed together, except accelerator. A 15 cm layer of mixture is spread in the pit and accelerator is sprinkled on it. This procedure is repeated until the pit is full. The pit is covered with a plastic sheet. Two or three weeks later, the whole pit is mixed in order to boost aerobic decomposition. The compost is ready to use a couple of weeks later. A pit produces 900 kg of final product per batch. The product is usually packed in 30-kg plastic bags. Assuming that it takes 30 days on average to produce a batch and that only eight pits may be used for technical reasons, the annual potential production capacity is 86.4 tonnes (0.9 tonnes × 8 pits × 12 months). Within the framework of the FAO Technical Cooperation Programme project on promotion of organic fertilizers in Lao PDR (TCP/LAO/2901), a simple EM-based quick composting method, as detailed below, is promoted.

The raw materials for compost production are:Rice strawFarmyard manureUrea fertilizerEM solution
Straw is stacked in layers of 20 cm height, 1 m width, and 5 m length to form a pile. A unit pile is about 5 m (length) × 1 m (width) × 1 m (height) in size. The pile is sprinkled with water for adequate moisture content, followed by addition of a manure layer 5 cm high, and the sprinkling of a few handfuls of urea (100-200 g). EM solution, prepared in the same way as described in the Myanmar example, is sprinkled to accelerate aerobic decomposition.
This procedure is repeated until the pile is about 1 m high and then it is covered with a plastic sheet. The pile is turned after two weeks and then again after another week. Normally, the compost is ready two weeks later when the heap has cooled down and the height of the pile has fallen to about 70 cm.__________________

The attached pdf file is a very interesting read on AEM and some usages and recipes


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RE: The Wonders of EM and AEM

in Organics Tue Nov 26, 2013 1:41 pm
by umbra | 780 Posts | 4085 Points

I like the recipe and info. Link is not real good. Takes you to error, but there is a link to the site on the page. It takes quite a bit to find any info about AEM and pest control. Very good info though

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RE: The Wonders of EM and AEM

in Organics Tue Nov 26, 2013 2:23 pm
by pcduck (deleted)

Sorry about the bad link, I did not realize it went South.

The pdf. is still good and filled with a lot of useful info

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RE: The Wonders of EM and AEM

in Organics Wed Nov 27, 2013 8:10 pm
by pcduck (deleted)

This is a thread by umbra from another web site. This is a discussion between MassProducer and umbra.

Zitat von umbra
Where to start? A brief intro...perhaps. I was introduced to EM by another member here, docfishwrinkle. After my initial exposure and subsequent use of EM in my organic grows, I researched more about it. I started by asking growers using organic methods, about their experiences using it. I sought out breeders specifically, thinking that they would be at the forefront of cutting technology, particularly in regard to organics, flower production, seed viability, seed production rates, as well as whether there were increases in terpenoid profile, taste, and thc production. Only one breeder I asked even heard of Dr. Higa or any of his research in organic food production. I was astounded to say the least. It has fueled my desire to expound of the subject.

EM is a generic shorthand name for a powerful and beneficial and antioxidative microbial culture consisting of from 5 to 100 organisms. EM refers to unique microbial inoculant culture which has become known worldwide for its applications in sustainable farming, waste management, toxic waste remediation, and animal and human food consumption.

EM was accidentally discovered by Dr. Teruo Higa, a horticultural professor at the Ryukyu University in Japan. While Dr Higa and a colleage, Dr Kobayashi were researching waste management and toxic waste treatment, they discovered a particular set of microbes that worked extremely well. They were purple non-sulfur bacteria(PNSB). In their research, they found that a combination of different type of microbes had a synergistic effect in regards to working together. They were Lactic Acid Bacteria (LAB), phototrophic bacteria ( of which PNSB is one ), and yeast. This combination of microbes are referred to as a consortium (synergistic cooperative community ). One note that I found to be quite interesting is that the exact species of microbes vary from batch to batch, region of the world, as well as cultural practices. Reminds me of the Hiesenberg uncertainty principal, ha ha, lol.

While EM is traded under many names, for many different applications, they all contain the same basic consortium of microbes. The essential basic technology of EM is a consortium of 5 or more species of microorganisms from across at least 3 different organisms, in a synergistic culture which produce LAB under anaerobic fermentation and which also produces an environment which is highly antioxidative and regenerative, or syntropic in which contains many antioxidants, most notably PNSB.

Indeed PNSB are the heart of EM and its ability to breakdown and convert organic nutes into usable forms that plants can absorb readily. EM inoculant brewed will result in Activated EM. AEM is the result of adding EM to water and molasses. The single most important aspect of brewing AEM is water quality. Chlorine and fluoride in water can have adverse effects on brewing AEM, since it can kill most of the microbes in the EM. EM and molasses are added in equal parts to 20x of water. 1:1:20. Once the ph drops to 3.7 or lower the AEM is complete. It will typically have shelf life 30 to 90 days, although lifetimes of 1 or 2 years are not uncommon.

With a ph of 3.7 or lower, we are talking about fermentation thru acidification. So I will mix my AEM at a rate of 1:10. I will add it separately to a weak nute solution and then feed my plants. I have gotten incredible results using organic soil, EM and other microorganisms, and the air pots. They all work together, they all individually can improve growing results, but when used together their benefits are exponential. More to come

[quote=MassProducer]EM is great stuff but I use it in a different way. I use it to ferment most of the ingrediants that I brew in my Aerated Teas.

The problem I see with EM being used as a soil conditioner in an indoor grow is the fact that EM is 100% anaerobic, while my medium and especially my root zone is very, very aerobic. Anaerobes and roots like the total opposite of conditions, the vast majority of anaerobes can not even survive in the presence of small amounts of O2 because they can not neuturalize the free radicles present during the aerobic respiration process. The ones that can survive will mainly go dormant.
I could see value outdoors as the soil will naturally be less aerobic especially the deeper you go.

But for fermentation it is the best thing I have found. It use to take me about 3-4 weeks or so to basically liquify my alfalfa and a bit longer for my seaweed powder but now using EM it takes about 1 week. But as I said I prefer to use the fermented organics in Aerated teas to actually condition my medium.

Zitat von umbra

Hey MP thanks for responding. I wasn't sure anyone would, lol. While you are correct that EM is anaerobic, the brewing process and subsequent application of EM for agricultural purposes are exposed to oxygen and wild strains of microorganisms. Small scale activation of EM, refered to as AEM is brewed in some sort of a container that can be sealed. There is space at the top of the container that is filled with oxygen ( actually atmospheric oxygen levels are 18% to 21%). The actual amount of air at the top does make a difference as to brewing strength and brewing time. The majority of EM business is in human food products, exposed to air as a design requirement.

All microbes in EM microbial culture inoculants are non-genetically modified and are all soil-based, or pond-based organisms which date back to the Paleolithic period. It seems that all the primary species present in EM are known as dominant organisms. Organisms, in EM like consortiums, seem to form a hardy, robust, and highly adaptable consortium, more so than the individual organisms by themselves. And while any individual organism within the consortium may not have the ability to handle an overload of free radicals in an O2 state, the synergistic affect of the other organisms within the group seem to amplify the antioxidant properties of EM. EM is actually marketed as a food grade antioxidant. So it does not die by exposure to oxygen. During the activation phase of the innoculant, there is rapid growth of yeast and LAB from the molasses and water. However phototropic bacteria and in particular PNSB, do not feed on molasses, but rather prefer waste products. Animal wastes, toxic wastes, and pollution is what they thrive on.

[quote=MassProducer]But the types of food it is used in are all anaerobic, like making yogurt and cheese. Because something is anaerobic does not make it harmful but its ability to thrive outside of its given state is greatly diminished. EM was created for waste management as it effectively breaks down organic matter without causing an aroma, but it is still purely anaerobic. I don't think i have ever read any claims that claim that it is aerobic or has any aerobic properties.

I actually don't really see it as being diverse, as it is a controlled culture of very specific strains of anaerobes. I would consider worm castings as much more diverse in its microbial composition and the microbes are more suited to life in aerobic conditions. IMO/E the most beneficial and under utilized microbes are protozae. Neither PNSB or LAB are naturally found in aerobic soils or even aerobic conditions. PNSB's are usually found in inhospitible locations and stagnant water. LAB can sometimes be found in rotting vegatative matter and more commonly is a byproduct of the fermentation of lactate, e.g sour milk and yogurt.

Also because these decomposers do not enjoy the same conditions as our roots they do not form symbiotic relationships with the roots as trichoderma and other benefical fungi does.

I have also done extensive research on this topic as I said I do use it to break down the raw materials for my ACT's, and these are just my impressions and experiences.

Good work and info, even if we disagree slightly on some of the issues. lol

Zitat von umbra
Its not a problem. You are right that it is not aerobic. However during the early stages of brewing AEM oxygen is quite beneficial. As I said before that every batch, in every condition, produce different microbes. It is not my recommendation to exclude aerobic microbes, only that anaerobic microbes do amazing things in which plants respond very favorablly. My understanding, (and please correct me if I'm wrong) that organic gardening and indeed any type of composted tea is all about the microbes, not so much about what you use to collect and gather them. We are creating a micro eco system in which organics is the fuel for self sustainability. Without a doubt both types of microbes can, and do flourish given the right environment and the proper food. PNSB can flourish with food, sunlight or both. In the brewing process of AEM with molasses and water, PNSB have very little too eat. Since they are the microbes that feed on waste products, and it simply feeds on decaying yeast that have begun to die.
Well they kind of do the same thing in the soil. I use air pot for my grows, so I have more aeration than most soil organic growers and all I can say is that their growth and flowering can be ...overwhelming. Now of course, I have not analyzed which specific microbes are doing what, where. But I can only assume that both types of microbes, can and do exist at the same time in the same generalized space.
It may be that there are other things that are occurring, that are not so easy to see or understand, but...just as EM helps decompose your ACT, and aerobic microbes thrive in the composted tea...this is an interaction of anaerobic and aerobic microbes working in conjunction together. Now I'm not talking symbiosis, because either group of microbes are capable of sustaining themselves separately, but there is some level of mutual benefit to both in such an environment

[quote=MassProducer]I see what your saying, but with me I'm using it strictly as a decomposer because I agree that as decomposers, anaerobes are the best, but also lower the PH by releasing acid and alcohols to do that decomposing. Aerobic microbes release enzymes and milder acids.

I can't see how oxygenating anaerobes will not kill them or atleast make them go dorment and be the opposite of their name, ineffective microbes. They will decompse anything in there path and fast but only while they are anaerobic. I honestly see any that survive after being in the aerobic soil as food for the symbiants in the medium like the protozae and beneficial fungi, who actively seek anaerobes and facultative anaerobes as a food sources.

Your correct that basically my teas serve as a major breeding groud for aerobic microbes but they also serve as important feeding opportunities for both the plants and medium, as the ingrediants contain vital hormones and vitamans that I cant get from nutes, even 100% organic nutes.

But no anaerobes and aerobes can not survive in the same general location but roots also can not survive in anaerobic conditions (anaerobic means devoid of oxygen) roots NEED O2 to LIVE, not only to thrive, while most anaerobic microbes do not posess the enzyme needed to break down dangerous oxygen levels which is required for all organism that live in aerobic conditions. Including humans.

I bet that it is more symbiotic aerobes that are doing the heavy lifting in your medium. What do you amend your soil with? Do you use castings or guano?

Zitat von umbra
Yes I do. My soil mix constantly changes with tweaks here and there. But it is about 40% soil, 20% worm castings, 20% coco pith, and the rest is bone meal, blood meal, seaweed extract, kelp, greensand, sulfate of potash, dolomite lime, epsom salt, and some bokashi. I still do a compost tea from my compost pile, which I use EM to help breakdown quickly. I use AEM with rice bran for my bokashi. I in turn use my worm farm to further beak down my compost that I mix with some bokashi. The worms really like it.

Since we are on the subject, well sort of. Have you ever used milk/water combo to deal with white powder mildew? Those are LAB in an aerobic environment and topically treating a systemic fungus. I'm not saying its a cure for it, but clearly it is keeping the fungus spores under control. Just thinking out loud...

Zitat von umbra
I don't know if I can do this... aha sucess

Thank you umbra and MassProducer

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RE: The Wonders of EM and AEM

in Organics Wed Nov 27, 2013 8:26 pm
by ozzydiodude • The Weird One | 2.465 Posts | 11504 Points

Thanks duck

Let's help each other, by spreading our knowledge of the plants we love
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RE: The Wonders of EM and AEM

in Organics Wed Nov 27, 2013 10:25 pm
by umbra | 780 Posts | 4085 Points

wow, that was a great discussion...lol

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RE: The Wonders of EM and AEM

in Organics Thu Mar 13, 2014 4:22 pm
by umbra | 780 Posts | 4085 Points

I think that once I move I will do a more tutorial post on breeding EM1.

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RE: The Wonders of EM and AEM

in Organics Thu Mar 13, 2014 10:42 pm
by Deleted User

how often are you applying EM to plants?
do you do it a lot? does it make for even larger root mas? or is 1 application enuff?

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RE: The Wonders of EM and AEM

in Organics Fri Mar 14, 2014 6:23 am
by umbra | 780 Posts | 4085 Points

I apply every other watering. Yes in veg root mass is increased. To me veg is all about root development.

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RE: The Wonders of EM and AEM

in Organics Fri Mar 14, 2014 12:04 pm
by Deleted User

how about while going to w 5 flower?

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RE: The Wonders of EM and AEM

in Organics Fri Mar 14, 2014 3:18 pm
by umbra | 780 Posts | 4085 Points

I still apply every other watering, but I add fulvic acid to the AEM and water.

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RE: The Wonders of EM and AEM

in Organics Fri Mar 14, 2014 3:32 pm
by Deleted User

cool. thanks. any special brand/ type?
just some info for those that don't know much about fulvic acid


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RE: The Wonders of EM and AEM

in Organics Fri Mar 14, 2014 6:45 pm
by Deleted User

anyone ever worked with this, Trichoderma harzianum?
its suppose to be great preventative on a few things,


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RE: The Wonders of EM and AEM

in Organics Sat Mar 15, 2014 9:00 am
by umbra | 780 Posts | 4085 Points

I have not used that particular brand of trichoderma, but I use tricho on a regular basis with mycorrhizal fungi

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