EM® is the abbreviation for Effective Microorganisms®. EM® is a specific group of naturally-occurring beneficial microorganisms that was formulated over 35 years ago by Dr. Teruo Higa at the University of the Ryukyu in Okinawa, Japan. EM® is made up of 3 main genera: phototrophic bacteria, lactic acid bacteria, and yeast.
A tan-colored liquid with a low pH, EM® is produced through a natural fermentation process under oxygen-free conditions. EM® is not genetically modified. When applied as an inoculant, these microorganisms function cooperatively to exert bioactive substances such as vitamins, hormones, enzymes and antibiotics which can directly, or indirectly, enhance plant growth and protection while enhancing the beneficial effects on soil quality.
Recent developments in EM Technology® indicate that the beneficial effects of EM® can be extended beyond agriculture largely because of the antioxidant and anti-putrefactive properties. Based on research and development in many countries, EM® is increasingly viewed as a means of providing solutions to problems of food production, depletion of natural resources, environmental pollution, food safety, nutrition, and health.
In order to meet the worldwide demand, EM Research Organization (EMRO) was established. Headquartered in Kitanakagusuku, Okinawa-Japan, EMRO coordinates the production and consulting of the technology developed by Dr. Teruo Higa. EM® is being currently produced in 50 countries under license agreements and used in more than 120 countries. EMRO also opened the world's first EM-based hotel and spa the EM® Wellness Center- EM® Hotel Costa Vista Okinawa and EM® Spa Corazon Okinawa.
EM is made up of 3 main genera:
Lactic Acid Bacteria
“Ferment organic matter and produce organic acids that inhibit pathogens. Used to make yogurt and pickles.”
Lactic Acid bacteria produce lactic acid from sugars and other carbohydrates produced by Phototrophic bacteria and yeast. Some foods and drinks, such as yogurt and pickles, have been made by using Lactic acid bacteria since ancient times. This reflected the fact that Lactic Acid bacteria is a strong sterilizer. It suppresses harmful microorganisms and promotes a rapid decomposition of organic matter. Moreover, Lactic Acid bacteria decompose organic substances such as lignin and cellulose, which are hard to decompose, and ferment them, thereby removing undesirable effects of un-decomposed organic matter.
Lactic Acid bacteria also can suppress the multiplication of Fusarium, a harmful microbe that causes disease in continuous cropping. Generally, an increased population of Fusarium weakens plants, resulting in a sudden increase in harmful nematodes. As Lactic Acid bacteria reduce the population and activity of Fusarium, harmful nematodes also gradually disappear.
“Ferment organic matter and produce hormones and enzymes. Used to make bread, beer, and wine”
Through their fermenting activities, Yeasts produce useful substances for plants from the secretion of plant roots, amino acids, and sugars produced by Phototrophic Bacteria, and other organic substances in soil. Especially, bioactive substances produced by Yeasts, such as hormones and enzymes, promote active cell and root division. They also produce useful substrates for other beneficial microorganisms, such as Lactic Acid bacteria and actinomycetes, to multiply.
Phototrophic Bacteria (Rodopsedumonas spp)
“Help maintain the balance with other beneficial microorganisms allowing them to co-exist and work together ”
Phototrophic bacteria are a group of independent self-supporting microorganisms. They synthesize useful substances from the secretion of roots, organic matter, and/or harmful gases, for example, hydrogen sulfide, by using sunlight and the heat of soil as sources of energy. The useful substances produced by the Phototrophic bacteria include amid acids, nucleic acids, bioactive substances, and sugar, all of which promote plant growth and development.
These metabolites are directly absorbed into plants, and also act as substrates for other beneficial microorganisms to multiply. For example, VA (vesicular-arbuscular) mycorrhizae in the rhizosphere increase feeding on nitrogen compounds (amino acids) secreted by Phototrophic bacteria. The VA mycorrhizae increase the solubility of phosphorus, which cannot be absorbed bt the plant roots. VA mycorrhizae can also coexist with Azotobacter, and enhance their capacity to fix nitrogen.