Effective microorganisms (EM)


Effective microorganisms (EM) consist of mixed cultures of beneficial and naturally occurring microorganism which includes both aerobic and anaerobic species co-existing symbiotically in a most beneficially productive manner. These organisms are collected from the natural environment and not imported, exotic or genetically engineered. The concept of effective microorganisms (EM) was developed by Professor Teruo Higa, University of the Ryukyus, Okinawa, Japan.


The categories of Effective microorganisms (EM) are as declined below


1. Lactic acid bacteria (Lactobacillus spp): these bacteria are differentiated by their powerful sterilizing properties. They suppress harmful micro-organisms and encourage quick breakdown of organic substances. In addition, they can suppress the reproduction of Fusarium, a harmful fungus.


2. Yeasts (Saccharomyces spp): these manufacture anti-microbial and useful substances for plant growth. Their metabolites are food for other bacteria such as the lactic acid and actinomycete groups.


3. Actinomycetes: these suppress harmful fungi and bacteria and can live together with photosynthetic bacteria.


4. Photosynthetic bacteria (Rhodopseudomeonas spp): these bacteria play the leading role in the activity of EM. They synthesize useful substances from secretions of roots, organic matter and/or harmful gases (e.g. hydrogen sulphide) by using sunlight and the heat of soil as sources of energy. They contribute to a better use of sunlight or, in other words, better photosynthesis. The metabolites developed by these micro-organisms are directly absorbed into plants. In addition, these bacteria increase the number of other bacteria and act as nitrogen binders.


5. Fungi that bring about fermentation these break down the organic substances quickly. This suppresses smell and prevents damage that could be caused by harmful insects

The possibilities and benefits in using EM are numerable and include the following

  • For use in the home in daily life for everyone

  • The recycling of kitchen waste and turning it into valuable organic material;

  • In the garden to improve soil structure, increase productivity and to suppress both disease and weeds

  • For solving all kinds of environmental problems such as water, air, and soil pollution;

  • In agriculture and horticulture, fruit and flower cultivation;

  • In animal husbandry and for all kinds of pets;

  • In fisheries, aquariums and swimming pools;

  • In personal bodily hygiene and for the prevention and treatment of health problems.


EM Technology

EM has a broad application. EM has no adverse effects on and is beneficial to plants, animals, and humans. Very simply put, EM lives off our waste while we live off "their waste". Their waste simply translates to a healthy environment for us in which EM becomes inactivated, therefore, a mutual existence can be had. EM technology meaning Effective Microorganisms consisting of beneficial and highly efficient microbes that are non-harmful, non-pathogenic, not-genetically-engineered or modified (non- GMO), and not-chemically-synthesized. This is proven safe, low cost, effective and easily utilized in environmental protection.


The use of Effective Microorganisms Technology has broadened in the last two decades from agriculture to water treatment, odour control, animal husbandry, human health, and numerous other industrial treatments. In general there are three types of microorganisms:


1. Decomposing/degenerative microorganisms

2. Opportunistic/neutral microorganisms

3. Constructive/regenerative microorganisms


EM belongs to the regenerative category. They can prevent decomposition in any type of substance and thus maintain the health of both living organisms and the environment.
Degenerative microorganisms behave in a manner that is diametrically opposite to that of the regenerative group. The opportunistic/neutral microorganisms constitute the largest category. They follow the group which dominates in a system. Therefore, when a milieu is created in which regenerative microorganisms prevail, the opportunistic microorganisms follow the constructive processes. Accordingly, the use of EM opens up completely new dimensions in many areas of our day-to-day existence. EM influences the microbial world in a way that ensures that regenerative microorganisms predominate.


An environment is created in which by means of fermentation, microorganisms play a positive role with regard to plant growth and quality and soil fertility. Fermentation is stimulated with the result that decomposition disappears, i.e. soil is created in which regenerative microorganisms prevail, leading to optimum results, the prevention of disease and the production of high-quality products. The employment of EM has met with an extremely positive echo among both conventional and organic farmers. EM cuts fertilizer costs and in the course of time also reduces the volume of weeds. As EM effective microorganisms work largely in the anaerobic sector and they are especially effective in areas where problems such as putrefaction, mal odours and sludging occur. Effective Microorganisms are utilized in arable farming, vegetable production, fruit farming and viniculture. EM in ponds, biotopes and fish breeding waters bring both an improvement in water quality and sludge degrading. The microorganisms in EM are able to convert the decomposing material derived from the settling of organic matter such as leaves, algae, pollen, seeds, fish food, etc. This optimizes the water quality and furnishes an excellent environment for fish breeding.


Effective micro-organisms (EM) Technology in Agriculture

Research has shown that the inoculation of EM cultures to the soil/plant ecosystem can improve soil quality, soil health, and the growth, yield, and quality of crops. EM contains selected species of microorganisms including predominant populations of lactic acid bacteria and yeasts and smaller numbers of photosynthetic bacteria, actinomycetes and other types of organisms. All of these are mutually compatible with one another and can coexist in liquid culture.
The agricultural applications of the technology quickly spread around the globe and today it is used in 120 countries. Crop yields have increased dramatically in areas where EM has been used virtually eliminating the need for pesticides or herbicides in the process


Agriculture practiced with EM technology follows five principles

Various EM agricultural application trials were run, mostly in partnership with farmers. The diverse applications included the following: improving soil conditions for better plant growth, treating waste water, controlling pests and diseases, improving animal growth, enhancing compost production and extending the shelf life of harvested crops. Generally EM appears to give the best results in situations where the natural balance of microorganisms has been severely disrupted or where agricultural inputs are in short supply. In situations where natural microorganism populations are reasonably intact, or where a balanced supply of inputs is available.


a) EM microbial Inoculants for Agricultural and Horticultural production


Independent field trials have proven EM microbial inoculants to be beneficial in the control of bacterial, fungal, mildew and algal problems in the following applications:
Numerous EM application experiments have also been conducted on various soils, grain, oil crops, fruit trees and vegetables. Hydroponics systems, and conventional greenhouse production benefits through elimination of most bacterial, mildew and fungal problems. Powdery mildew and anthracnose in melons, squash, apples, grapes, tomatoes, avocado, mango, and zucchini. Sooty mould in citrus, Bacterial sp, black-spot, blossom blight, leaf curl and brownspot in tomatoes, stone fruit and grapes, Target spot in potatoes. Rust in legumes. Effective in control of most bacterial and fungal problems in bananas.


b) Weed control


During the preparation of the land provoke germination of all weed seeds in the soil with a thorough application of extended EM. After a week (if moisture is maintained as in a paddy field), when most weed seeds have germinated, plough the seedlings under and follow with the sowing of the crop. After three to four cycles of this practice, the amount of weed seeds reduces and becomes negligible.


c) EM in Plant


Effective microorganism technology has been used in the fields of agriculture and forestry.  This technology is totally natural and environmentally friendly. BAIKAL EM1, a product of this technology, includes the photosynthetic lactic acid bacteria, ferments and products that are formed by the metabolism activities of these ferments and bacteria (enzymes, vitamins etc.) This microbiological fertilizer has a positive effect in growing plants; to their development and metabolism.


d) Improve Soil Health and Performance


EM work by getting the natural processes to function, by stimulating biological activity in the soil. This will improve soil health and performance by enhancing the natural fertilising processes within the soil. EM will not only add to the microbial population, but will also stimulate resident microbes. This stimulation can lead to increasing the resident nitrogen fixation capacity directly through the increase of N fixing bacteria, and indirectly by increasing clover growth, increasing mycorrhizal activity and other fungal and earthworm activity.


e) Improved Soil Structure


EM is an advanced microbial inoculant with beneficial bacteria and fungi that jumpstarts and/or restores the beneficial biology leading to great soil structure. EM helps to build “Well-aggregated” soils through the introduction and stimulation of soil microbes. Microorganisms are the hidden magic that allow a healthy soil to flourish. Soil microorganisms produce many different kinds of organic compounds, some of which help to bind the aggregates together and improve the soil structure. In addition EM will breakdown organic matter to create humus and stimulate root growth further improving soil structure.


f) Pasture Renovation


EM can enhance pasture renovation through breaking down old pasture residues creating food for the soil and enhancing soil biological activity. It will also enhance germination of the new pasture and pasture persistence.


g) Enhancing Fertiliser Inputs


The microbes in EM will solubilise compounds both organic and inorganic that are largely unavailable to plants and make them available for uptake by the plants root system allowing the plant to put more energy into growth. In performing this important function the Microbes create a more efficient use of added nutrients, generating a better growth response from fertiliser inputs.


h) Improved Root Structure


EM produce hormones and enzymes that promote plant cell and root division. They use the amino acids and sugars secreted by the photosynthetic bacteria and plant roots and in turn give off substances which are good growing compounds for the Lactic acid bacteria. The microbes in EM also have a symbiotic or mutually beneficial relationship with the roots of plants. So plants grow exceptionally well in soils dominated by these microorganisms with the promotion of root development.


i) Improved Germination


EMNZ products have a positive effect on soil fertility, creating an environment where a seed is more likely to germinate and thrive. This significantly increases the number of germinated seeds. It will also influence root growth positively which has an important role in nutrient uptake and the growth of the plant. In legumes, we see an increase in nodulation with applications of EM at sowing.


j) Reduction of Soil Compaction


In order to reduce compaction EM will support the growth of other beneficial organisms like mychorrizae, worms, and insects already in your soil, bringing nature back into balance. It will also produce lots of polysaccharides - glues that hold the soil together and hold in moisture, improving drought resistance. A healthy soil and stimulated biological activity help build stable aggregate and soil structure. Increasing aggregate stability, prevents the pore spaces between the aggregates from collapsing during heavy saturating rains, and reduces compaction. Improved soil aggregate stability reduces soil erosion and run-off. Soils are better able to absorb and retain moisture as well as drain moisture when needed.


k) Improved Organic Matter Breakdown

l) Improved Yield


Yield is expected to increase by 20% to 30% with the general use of EM and even by 50% to 100% when a high level of EM is maintained in the soil. Produce taste better, with higher content of vitamins C and E for some, show longer storage life, and show characteristics of general health products when consumed. Secondary products processed from these crops such as wine, juice, catchup, etc., also show better quality.


m)  Enhanced Nitrogen Fixation


When EM is applied to soil or plant leaf surfaces, the populations of photosynthetic bacteria and nitrogen fixing bacteria increase dramatically. The phenomenon is associated with the growth of more vigorous plants, higher plant yields and improved crop quality compared with no EM treatment. It was thought that the high number of photosynthetic bacteria and nitrogen fixing bacteria in soil and at leaf surfaces might enhance the plants photosynthetic rate and efficiency, and its nitrogen fixing capacity.


n) Producing Plant Growth Regulators

o) As countermeasures to diseases and pests.


As EM increases its population in the soil, soil-borne diseases are rapidly reduced. In some cases two or three cropping with EM will make it possible to grow crops without pesticides and chemical fertilizers. For this purpose, EM and other EM fermented liquid materials are used in place of the pesticides. The users themselves can develop EM extended organic liquid and solid from EM stock.


p) To Forestry


We can grow healthy seedlings in a shorter period of time with EM than without. EM used at the time of transplanting will improve the survival rate of the seedlings and their growth. A similar method applied to fruits is growing with success.


q)  Integrated Farming (Systemic-Comprehensive Farming)


With EM it is possible to build an integrated farm with various practices for a farmer or for a community of farmers which themselves may be separate practices. That is, almost all industries not only the combination of cropping and livestock but also including aqua-culture, waste water and solid waste from food processing, of primary products, and sewage can be integrated into a system, which in turn provides opportunities for a wider range of industries to be integrated and recycled. If such a system is adopted widely and firmly in the society, most environmental problems which are attributed to a large amount of kitchen garbage and organic wastes, sewage, and excreta from livestock, an be resolved, and finally we can establish a farming characterized with “low input”, “high productivity”, “high quality”, and “sustainable”.



Source: http://cdn-asset-lax-1.airsquare.com/emnz/library/em-overview.pdf?201508180427





 EM can prevent bad odor from kitchen garbage in the urban area and turn them to organic fertilizer. And this practice is widely spread in Japan and Korea and is recognized as the most effective method for treating organic wastes at low cost.

EM can prevent bad odor of animal excreta and turn them to something useful. In fact it can solve practically any problems associated with animal husbandry.


When EM is applied and propagated at the source of pollution, such as toilets and a sewage treatment system, water will be cleaned enough for recycling for agriculture, aqua-culture, and even household uses.


The combination of EM and its ceramic will prevent dioxin from being produced in the incineration factory, even when it is incinerated at lower temperatures (around 700 degrees centigrade). Because of the lower temperature the factory enjoys a longer life as well as drastically reduce toxins in the incineration gas.


EM and EM ceramics not only improve the efficiency of combustion engines including automobiles, boats, and farm machines, resulting in better fuel mileage and cleaner emission, but also protect them from aging, such as rusting, resulting a longer life. This helps us to reduce the consumption of energy, the pollution from exhaust gases, and reduce the waste of raw materials.

Our civilization is filled with ever increasing industrial products, which comprise a large portion of solid waste which we must deal with. Currently numerous researches are undergoing for finding ways to recycle and reproduce them with EM.



EM Technology in Animal Husbandry


Application of EM through fermented feed (silaged), adding to drinking water, and spraying inside the animal barn will reduce bad odor as well as pests such as flies, maggots, etc., drastically.


The improvements in meat quality, egg-laying rate, and dairy production. Specially noted is the high quality of eggs and milk.

EM-X can be used together with EM, eliminating the use of antibiotics and other medicines altogether.


Excreta from animals treated with EM will have less odor and become a high quality organic fertilizer, which farmers are eager to receive nowadays. The urine also becomes a high quality liquid fertilizer. The overflow, which comprises of the clear parts of the effluent, will start cleaning the waters when led to the river, as well as make it healthier for water creatures to grow better.


Effective Microorganisms (EM) Technology in Industry


Due to industrialization process there is problem of environmental degradation by excess use of natural resources and generation of waste. Many scientific techniques have been discovered for the treatment of waste and then dispose into the natural resources. The new technique, effective microorganisms technology (EMT), in which natural source has been utilized to convert the waste into by product.

Dairy Industries produce nearly thousands of litres of effluent waste per day. This waste with high intense foul odour pollutes ecosystem and ground water, harbour pathogens causing health hazards. Various pre-treatments methods are available to neutralise the effects. But, bioremediation with EM technology is ecofriendly and helps to clean up contaminated environments through the use of microorganisms.

Sugarcane is one of the important cash crops in India and plays pivotal role in both agricultural and industrial economy of the country. Effective Microbes are variety of microorganisms grown as consortium which plays a great role in converting wastes into compost in short span of time. Sugarcane trash compost can be achieved by using microorganisms like Aspergillus flavipes, Penicillium, Chrysogenum, Cochliolous speifer, Rhizopus oryzae and Trichoderma viri