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Questions on Effective Microbes (From Growing to Storing)

Questions on Effective Microbes (From Growing to Storing)
August 08, 2018 06:13AM
Hi There,

I have started out the EM batch using;
7lt of NTS BAM (mother culture)
4lt of molasses
250ml fish hydrolasate
80lt water

Brew equipment is;
100 litre barrel
300w aquarium heater (good for 93F)
wine bubbler

Stirred daily for the first week maintaining a tempurature of 90F the brew had reached PH 2.9

My questions..
1) Now that i have reached my desire PH is it safe to Pack up the brew and top up the air space with water (remaining 10lt), stir and seal? do i need to adjust the PH of the water im adding (to 2.9)? or do i need to top up using EM?

** Keep in mind i do plan on storing the EM (1-8 months), My plan is to stock pile as much as i can.

2) Since i did not know the Answer to the first question, when the brew was done i decided to take a 1000lt tote (adding another 300w aquarium heater) and used my first finished brew in the 100lt tank as my "NEW" Mother culture. just added 40lt molasses, 2.5 lt fish hydrolysate, 800lt water... stirring daily with a temp of 90F, 6 days later my PH is 2.9.
a) Am i able to keep using the em batches as my new mother culture or do i need to purchase new every time i want to create a batch?
b) How do i make this batch shelf stable? What is the end of brew criteria for sealing and sitting before use?

Thanks in Advance for your comments and knowledge

Re: Questions on Effective Microbes (From Growing to Storing)
August 08, 2018 12:38PM
Harrison, would you please define what NTS BAM is. Thank you.

Karn Piana
Zone 7 Semi-Arid Steppe
Northern New Mexico
Re: Questions on Effective Microbes (From Growing to Storing)
August 08, 2018 03:27PM
Beneficial Anaerobic Microbes


Mike Biltonen, Know Your Roots
Zone 5b in New York
Re: Questions on Effective Microbes (From Growing to Storing)
August 09, 2018 12:23PM
Thanks Mike.

I may be wrong, but the only reason I can think of that people would buy EM1 rather than culture it themselves is due to the presence of the purple bacteria. It seems to me that purple bacteria are mainly aquatic, and they seem to naturally inhabit deeper strata of lakes and pond floors. They are difficult to culture for your average person and methods of doing so remain enigmatic. To me, figuring out a simple way of doing this is one of the grails in holistic agriculture. Therefore, why not buy a gallon of purple bacteria from a reputable lab and add this to a lactobacillus / yeast culture and save a ton of money. A gallon of the purple bacteria should easily make 128 gallons of DIY-EM and the cost would be equivalent to a single gallon of EM-1.

Follow the process for LAB in Korean Natural Farming, and add the purple bacteria after the curds separate and you filter your solution. In KNF, an equal weight of brown sugar is added to the LAB to produce osmotic pressure and put the microbes to "sleep" until another food source or moisture activates them. Interestingly, Dr. Higa of EM-1 and Master Cho of KNF are kind of like Edison and Tesla. They are contemporaries with differing microbial regimens DC / AC = EM1 / IMO. We can employ them both.

The purple bacteria from Quantum has a guaranteed 2 year unopened shelf life and a 1 year opened shelf life.

Feel free to share any criticisms of such a formulation. Also, thank you Harrison for starting this conversation. I am not familiar with your formula so I have no comment other than to offer a friendly good luck to you.

Karn Piana
Zone 7 Semi-Arid Steppe
Northern New Mexico

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/10/2018 02:28PM by Karn Piana.
Re: Questions on Effective Microbes (From Growing to Storing)
August 10, 2018 08:03AM
You'll find some of the answers you seek in a previous thread on activating EM in large batches, Harrison. Long term storage (beyond 60 days) where microbe populations remain relatively stable is enhanced by addition of humic acid, one percent by volume. Not sure you have to top off drums with more liquid, but if you do, I think stable microbe brew the better choice.

I'm familiar with Nutri Tech products from Australia, and it's wider availability in Canada than what we might use in the States. Their concept of BAM is in sync with the facultative (both ways) nature of the organisms in the original formulation put together by Dr. Higa. I am curious what you are paying for their product. Five gallons of TeraGanix EM cost $290 US this year, with shipping included anywhere throughout the continental states.

Your recipe has significant differences, however. EM-1 requires equal proportions of mother culture and blackstrap molasses (3/4 cup each) per gallon of water, with activation yielding 22 times more culture. You appear to be achieving just over half of that volume increase. Insights on use of fish here would be interesting.

These companies generally don't recommend turning over activated EM to do it again. Water introduces other microbes and I expect the foodstuffs do as well. Populations start to shift just because. The point being that manufacturers want growers to continue to purchase mother culture. Truth is none of us really know whether results are relatively consistent or not.

Which is why each of us needs a light microscope and training in who's who. I've been playing around with yogurt cultures, apple yeasts (from leaves), and was thinking pond scum for the photosynthetic bacteria . . . but Karn has certainly pointed out yet another option. Eliza is working with a probiotic formulation for pigs and wine yeast. I expect this nut is going to take a few years to crack.

Lost Nation Orchard
Zone 4b in New Hampshire
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