EM Technology was developed by a Japanese professor Dr. Terou Higa.
EM is the unique composition of a diverse group of bacteria, yeasts and fungi (3 main families, multiple species) which has been thoroughly tested and proven safe for human and animals. One of the strengths of EM is that it is a diverse combination of microbes, and this gives it versatility in terms of a wide scope of applications that it can be used on.
The major group of microbes present in Maple EM.1 are –
- Lactic acid bacteria
- Phototrophic bacteria
Where did EM come from?
EM∗ is a people-friendly and environmentally safe product of EMRO (EM Research Organization) that achieves synergistic effects by combining beneficial microorganisms which exist in nature, such as lactic acid bacteria, yeast and phototrophic bacteria. It was developed by Professor Teruo Higa in 1982. EM∗ activates local and native microorganisms that live in soil and water and maximizes their natural power. EM∗ brand represents a line of microbial products that are used in numerous fields including agriculture, animal husbandry, environmental purification and health care in more than 100 countries around the world.
EM∗ is a trademark and a brand name owned by EMRO, and is used on a variety of products.
How does EM work?
Large numbers of bacteria exist in the soil. One gram of soil contains anywhere from a few hundred million to several billion microorganisms. Microorganisms are a fundamental component of the ecosystem and facilitate its functioning by breaking down organic substances and circulating nutrients. However, when the quantity of healthy microorganisms in the soil decreases or the balance is disrupted, other living things such as earthworms will be negatively affected and the soil will become impoverished. The diversity of microorganisms contained in EM and the metabolites they produce will increase the number and diversity of microorganisms in the soil. When microorganisms are activated, protozoans and larger organisms such as worms will increase in number and a healthier ecosystem will result. Soil with diversified microflora will inhibit the growth of specific disease-causing bacteria, which help prevent cultivation failure.
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.
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.
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.
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.
EM has 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. These microbes can be applied directly when sowing to inoculate the soil immediately.
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.
Improved Organic Matter Breakdown
EM will help the decomposition process of organic materials, and during fermentation will produce normally unavailable organic acids, such as lactic acid, acetic acid, amino acid, malic acid and bioactive substances and vitamins.
A key ingredient in this process is organic matter which is supplied by pasture residuals, (dead matter) recycling crop residues, green manures and animal manure. In addition, this process leads to increased humus in the soil.
EM improves yield firstly through effective organic matter recycling which builds humus, the food for your soil and plants. It will also enhance fertiliser and nutrient breakdown in the soil and uptake by plants, will give improvements in nitrogen fixation, and stimulate micorrhyzal activity. This creates better-growing conditions and this leads to a stronger healthier plant. Secondly, EM provides competitive exclusion, which means that it out-competes pathogens for space, by inoculating the leaf surfaces with beneficial microbes allowing crops to thrive and reach their growing potential. Using EM improves soil health by stimulating and feeding native microbial life in the soil which creates a higher-yielding crop.
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.
Producing Plant Growth Regulators
One of the many activities that EM does in the soil and plant is the production of what are called, plant growth regulators- PGRs. PGR compounds are hormones, and have an important role in plant growth, often called phytohormones, they regulate growth, development, and the plants responses to stimuli.
Application in other fields
EM products that promotes biodiversity have also been applied in the fields of animal husbandry, aquaculture and water purification. In animal husbandry, EM will improve the microbial environment of barns as well as the intestinal flora of livestock and will ameliorate noxious odors. In aquaculture andwater purification, EM will make the ecosystems in water richer. This will improve the self-purification capacity of water bodies and improve water quality.