What are the Effective Microorganisms (EM)? [EN]

Effective microorganisms (EM)
were developed in the early1980s at the University of the
Ryukyus in Okinawa, Japan by Professor Teruo Higa. He reported that a combination of approximately eighty different species of microorganisms are capable of positively influencing the decomposition of organic matter to the point at which it reverts to a ’life promoting’ process. These Effective Microorganisms consist of beneficial and non-pathogenic microorganisms such as Lactic Acid Bacteria, Yeast, and Phototrophic Bacteria, which are found in the natural environment.

Higa invoked the dominance principle to explain the effects
of his Effective Microorganisms. He claimed that three groups of microorganisms exist: positive microorganisms (regeneration), negative microorganisms (decomposition, degeneration), and neutral microorganisms. The ecological condition of any medium (that is soil, water, air, skin and intestinal) is hugely dependent on what type of microorganisms are dominant. The ratio of positive and negative microorganisms is critical, since the neutral, opportunist microorganisms follow the trend of regeneration or degeneration. Nowadays negative microorganisms (e.g. those responsible for the rotting of organic matter to maladies in organisms) dominate much of the sphere of the microorganisms in the environment. Treating the variety and massive volume of waste produced by societies and human activities has become an increasingly critical issue for humankind and the global environment.

Higa claimed that it is possible to favorably influence the given media by supplementing it with positive microorganisms. In short, it is possible to change the diversity of microorganisms so as to make effective microorganisms dominant.

EM were first introduced as a safe alternative to synthetic chemicals in the field of agriculture. Through extensive research and experimentation over time, the various applications of EM have become more visible, yet many outcomes are still to be established. Wherever EM are introduced into the natural environment, their individual beneficial effects support a healthy microbial milieu. Organics are transformed through the process of fermentation. While Effective Microorganisms are dominant, reanimated surroundings are being created.

Effective Microorganisms enhance the biodiversity of the ecosystem in rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water, and can also be used to clean polluted water (e.g. sewage or purification plants). As ammonia is an oxidative substance, it is putrefactive and supports the growth of pathogenic microbes. EM has a strong antioxidant effect on manure. This antioxidant effect will resist putrefaction, and reduces foul odors. Thus EM are successfully used in livestock operations. EM improves soil condition, increasing the plants ability to take up nutrients and thus
improving disease resistance.

EM are also used in the fermentation of compost (being called Bokashi). EM reduces the amount of time needed for compost production while also bolstering fertilizers with additional nutrients. This allows us to create new soil by closing the metabolic circle.

Effective Microorganisms have a positive effect on health: reducing the cost of using deodorizers, disinfectants, artificial fertilizer, and pesticides. EM are produced through a natural process and are not genetically engineered. They are mainly diluted in water anywhere from 1:100 to 1:10,000, depending on use and how regular they are applied. It is possible for anybody to easily cultivate effective microorganisms themselves. The sources of this text and more detailed information on Effective Microorganisms can be found at:

Effective Microorganisms:


Manuals for usage in agriculture:


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