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What makes the EM (Effective Microorganisms) so unique?


Terry Sato


Microbes needing oxygen, and microbes hating oxygen, can coexist in EM  

Quotes from p19,

EM (Effective Microorganisms) is a liquid product cultured in a tank with more than 80 species of microorganisms of 10 genera of 5 families. It contains both aerobic and anaerobic microorganisms. In other words, microorganisms that cannot live without oxygen and microorganisms that hate oxygen coexist. That is one of the most distinctive features of EM.

Until now, there was a stereotyped concept among microbiology researchers, or those who deal with microorganisms, that they can treat microbes only with specific types. Attempts to "combine different types of microbes with others" were never put in consideration. They thought that "if you do that, the different microbes are bound to fight each other."

Thus, in conventional microbiology, such high-level co-cultivation has been considered impossible. So skeptical people about the efficacy of EM always point out this problem. In reality, however, coexistence of aerobic and anaerobic microorganisms is possible and realizable.

For instance, Photosynthetic bacteria and Azotobacter in soil are types of microorganisms that play important roles under the same purpose in nitrogen fixation; however, the conditions for these two to exist are completely opposite. Photosynthetic bacteria are anaerobic and do not like oxygen, and Azotobacter is aerobic and likes oxygen. It's just like water and oil. So until now, coexistence of these two was thought to be impossible. In EM, however, they coexist beautifully. This was an absolutely astonishing discovery.

Mechanism of Coexistance

Feeding each other

"Why can they coexist?"

One reason is that they can exchange food with each other. Azotobacter feeds on organic matter, reproduces, and excretes. Photosynthetic bacteria prefer to eat the excrement. The organic matter produced by the photosynthetic bacteria also becomes food for Azotobacter. This circulation creates a single condition for the two to coexist.

Creating conditions for each other

I also discovered another condition for them to survive together. Azotobacter uses oxygen to reproduce. If it multiplies too much, a shortage of oxygen will occur; however, this anaerobic condition is used by photosynthetic bacteria. I actually captured this phenomenon with a microscope and confirmed it by shooting a video of it.

In this way, photosynthetic bacteria and azotobacter can coexist and co-prosper. All they do is to exchange food with each other, and create conditions for each other to exist together under the mutually supporting environment. This suggests the possibility of coexistence of anaerobic and aerobic microorganisms. It would be natural to think that what was observed here can happen to other microorganisms. There are billions of microorganisms in 1 gram of soil, and it also contains both anaerobic and aerobic microorganisms. And it is easily assumed that there are many microorganisms that maintain a relationship like photosynthetic bacteria and azotobacter.

Regenerative VS Degenerative

With trial and errors, I did further research to find out more about what different microorganisms can be combined to grow healthy crops.

I came to a realization, after many observations, that it can be roughly classified into two major categories: one group of microbes to go toward the regenerative, and the other to the degenerative, the opposite. My discovery was that microorganisms tend to coexist if they go toward the same direction to help each other, like the relationship between photosynthetic bacteria and azotobacter.

I spoke about this theory with many other experts in the field. But I didn't get favorable reactions. They said, "Even if it is successful in the in-vitro experiments, it will never work in reality.  That is because, in the actual soil, you have to test the combination with the astronomical number of microorganisms in the soil."  This idea is still a firm basic concept in the study against my theory.

Discovery of Opportunistic Microbes & Their Nature

Boss-like microbes lead the others

I found, however, another important fact as well.

It is certain that there are still so many microorganisms in the soil that cannot be fully explained and understood; however, most of them, I observed, are opportunistic, and they tend to follow microorganisms that are more constantly active. In other words, a handful of "boss-like microbes" are in charge of whether they become the regenerative or the degenerative. They engage in power struggles. And when one wins, the trillions of other microbes do what the winner does, so to speak.

Bifidobacterium in human intestine is an example

Similar things happen in the human intestine.  About 100 different types of microorganisms live in the human intestine.  Among them, there are the good bacteria including Bifidobacterium, and some bad bacteria, and the rest are all opportunistic, I observed.  Bifidobacteria and bad bacteria are constantly fighting for power.  If we, human, constantly intake bifidobacteria with meals, the good can predominate over the others. Then, we are generally able to keep our stomachs in good condition.  In this sense, there is no need for you to worry about each and every one of the 100 types of bacteria to maintain health.

Regenerative boss-like Microbes are in EM

For the same reason, if a typical regenerative microorganism is given good environmental conditions and allowed to multiply to be predominant, other opportunistic bacteria tend to follow its direction. The microbes collected and cultured in EM are designed to be predominative over the degenerative microbes, and contain major regenerative types of microbes only: mainly, photosynthetic bacteria (Rhodopseudomonas palustris), lactic acid bacteria (Lactobacillus Species), yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae), koji mold, and useful actinomycetes.  EM is made up of microorganisms that provide productive and useful benefits for humans and plants.  In addition, it contains a mixture of anaerobic and aerobic microorganisms. It is a collection of all regenerative boss-like microorganisms.

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