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DIY EM : Unlimited Probiotic Effective Microorganisms

Posted by Karn Piana 
DIY EM : Unlimited Probiotic Effective Microorganisms
August 14, 2018 01:15AM
I think it is important to have a topic dedicated explicitly to formulating a complete EM analog so that people searching within and outside of this forum can easily locate and participate in a conversation seeking to produce large quantities of a DIY-EM which combines Lactobacillus bacteria, native yeasts, and photosynthesizing purple non sulfur bacteria. There are numerous commercial formulations available for purchase in small quantities for considerable enough amounts of money that their scalability of use is dramatically curtailed.

As probiotic agriculture matures, I think that it may prove to be a disruptive technology to current economic models which seek to sell a packaged proprietary botanical input. In my mind, indigenous probiotics have analogous similarities to the effect of the mp3 on the music industry, the desk top printer and the photo development business, or the internets extinction of the travel agent. The ability to produce our own inputs and reduce expenditures as much as possible seems an important facet of holistic agriculture.

As I wrote earlier, the only reason that I can think of that any one purchases EM products rather than culture their own is due to the nature of purple non sulphur bacteria (PNSb). These organisms thrive in anoxic waters (hypoxic, dissolved oxygen depleted), convert light into energy, and intake carbon through other means than CO2 (photoheterotrophic). There has been discussion on this forum and others regarding methods by which these bacteria may be attained. According to the article on these bacteria to which I linked, they are relatively easy to propagate in a laboratory, but outside of that laboratory, the question must be asked, Why expend time and resources to culture these organisms oneself when the option exists to easily obtain them from a reputable lab for a relatively small amount of money.

Ecological Laboratories, the parent company of Quantum Growth produces (spec sheet here) a gallon of Rhodopseudomonas palustris culture that is sold for about $66.00 (Aug 2018). Roughly, at an once per gallon dilution, this should allow for the production of 128 gallons of non activated EM with the cost contingent on the bulk rice input (a source of starch) and the source of milk used the in LAB recipe linked below). This equates to 2816 gallons of activated EM at an activation rate of 22 times the original amount.

With this approach, scalability is no longer as constrained by economics and the real possibility of unlimited and profligate probiotic usage emerges as an entirely new tier of potential.

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.

Please feel free to share any thoughts, criticisms, or improvements regarding this approach to DIY EM. All other ideas and approaches to EM that you find promising are welcome and solicited. Anyone (especially those with a microscope) who cultures this EM, please share your observations and experiences. Thank you.

Karn Piana
Zone 7 Semi-Arid Steppe
Northern New Mexico



Edited 10 time(s). Last edit at 09/01/2018 12:47AM by Karn Piana.
Re: DIY EM : Unlimited Probiotic Effective Microorganisms
August 14, 2018 08:31AM
> they are relatively easy to propagate in a laboratory

Rub number one. Farms, be they hobby or production scale are not laboratories. Time is money. I can undertake to educate myself in the ways of the lighted microscope, or I can be out amongst my acres tending my crop. Am I to be thought less of because I choose to eschew such an easy undertaking? Your equation is much more complex than you are allowing yourself to understand.

>indigenous probiotics have analogous similarities to the effect of the mp3 on the music industry

Hmmmmm. While idioms are sometimes useful, they often just convolute. I put myself through community college playing biker bars. I continue to play and sing here on the hill. To me, the mp3 format has been part and parcel of our passing the idiocracy event horizon. It is an absolute dumbing down of musical information. Dither all the way to 512kb, and I can still hear the artifacts produced by sibilance and high frequency transients from cymbals, wood winds and brass. So, no, I do not subscribe to the Armory Lovins future is great because my DVDs grow on trees.

I put my mind through torture trying to eliminate the 1500 mile salad complex in my fruit production. That being said, I think the least of my weevils is the purchase of 5 gallons of EM each season instead of "easily" doing it myself.

Lakes Region NH @ 1200' or so
5a?

393 planted towards a 440 goal mixed apple, pear, plum and apricot...
Re: DIY EM : Unlimited Probiotic Effective Microorganisms
August 14, 2018 10:46AM
Chris, I am saying that the purple bacteria should be bought from a lab, not that you need one. The method of making an indigenous fermented LAB (Lactic Acid Bacteria) culture is very easy and fun. You don't need any specialized equipment to do this, especially only 5 gallons worth. After about a week and a half, one will have a lactobacillus and yeast culture and all that is missing is the purple bacteria which I am advocating be bought in a gallon jug. For five gallons, take five ounces of the purple stuff and combine it with the 5 gallons of LAB. Done. If you want to introduce osmotic pressure, add an equal weight of sugar. Michael Phillips mentioned 1% humic acid as a means of stabilization. This uses a dollar or so of Rhodopseudomonas palustris, 5 gallons of milk, and a little rice. It's very inexpensive.

Thanks for your feedback, I appreciate the dialog and welcome any and all thoughts regarding this topic.

Karn Piana
Zone 7 Semi-Arid Steppe
Northern New Mexico



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 08/14/2018 10:56AM by Karn Piana.
Re: DIY EM : Unlimited Probiotic Effective Microorganisms
August 14, 2018 02:22PM
>The ability to produce our own inputs and reduce expenditures as much as possible seems an important facet of holistic agriculture.

If I am not mistaken, a major part of your hypothesis is to reduce inputs. I agree. At some point I would like to be comfortable with claiming that I grow fruit holistically and exchange it to keep current with taxes and toilet paper, then perhaps have some to reinvestment. I am still trying to coax a marketable level of fruit from my as standard as was available rootstocks on a 20 x 20 foot spacing. I started this madness in awe of the orchards that thrive with no spraying. So, I planted for two years and sprayed not. Lost too many trees. My current level of spraying is by no means as complete as Michael's, but I am convinced that my heavier hand than his with EM and SeaCrop has resulted in the lowest incidence of Fireblight removal during this season's pruning. I am primed to lower my inputs and have my EM.

If I were to brew a greater portion of the soup, I would still need to task a company to ship that gallon, which would arrive on my doorstep by delivery truck. 5 gallons of EM, or 1 gallon of a component both extract the same net impact. Currently my brewing spans 5 months of the year. The method proffered would have me doing it 12. That at least doubles my electron consumption in this part of my spray practice. Not insignificant.

Over the winter, even with a booster, which is an input I must have shipped or procure as locally as possible, it seems unavoidable that I dump a portion of the 5 gallons paying it forward and rejuvenate with a fresh growing medium. That requires sterilization and molasses above and beyond what I normally consume, thus increasing inputs and creating a pressure to chop down more habitat for rows of sugar cane.

Locally I must source the indigenous beneficials. It also means that when I get 14” of heavy wet snow and the electricity goes out, I had better have a means of keeping that soup warm. For days on end. If they are not coddled, I am not going to be able to dig more in January. I suppose the ground will be digable by the time I could brew up enough before the first spray, but now we are getting into the psychological costs. Right now I have to worry from the time I place the order, to the time it shows up and I test the contents, then brew a test batch to make sure it is replicating. In this scenario, I am going to be mentally tasked the entire year with, “It's 11 PM, where is my EM?”

I also have to source the rice. Another input which either requires me using a personal conveyance powered by fossil fuel to source. Then there is the milk. This is the achilles heel of the completely distributed method of production. Which is not to say I think that only having two sources for EM is even adequate. I also think there is a happy medium. Which would depend on locally sourced holistically grown food to be more than the fraction of a fraction of a percent of all the raw product sold in the US.

Your model would work best, in my opinion, at the microbrew level. Right now we have the rice beer in a can, or the beer market in 1979; first grain listed on a bud can then would have been rice not barley. Would that an economy support brewers of EM, Spinosad, Comfry, et. al. akin to the burgeoning nanobreweries here in cowhampshire. Until then, I think the resources used in this process, if practiced wide enough, would exceed that of central production. That would make it hard for me, with a straight face, to go to a farmers market and ask a premium for my product because it is the better choice for the environment and more sustainable than the other manners of production.
Re: DIY EM : Unlimited Probiotic Effective Microorganisms
August 14, 2018 10:23PM
I wrote produce inputs, not reduce inputs. "The ability to produce our own inputs and reduce expenditures as much as possible seems an important facet of holistic agriculture."
In this topic I am seeking discussion of Unlimited Probiotic Effective Microorganisms. By that, I meant having the option or ability to use more EM due to a method that would allow people to culture their own complete EM for a fraction of the cost of commercial inputs.

The microbes in LAB, the DIY EM, and any collection of IMO (indigenous microorganism) are made dormant and shelf stable for years through osmotic pressure effected by sugar. The sugar molecule is capable of bonding with the water molecule and traps all the available water in a chemical bond. The water within the bodies of the microorganisms are also pulled in this way and they go dormant by sporulating. They remain dormant until food and moisture is reintroduced.

With regard to IMO capture, ideally one would eventually have several collections of IMO 2 (shelf stable) from different areas of your farm which would be used in combination to inoculate and produce IMO 3 and 4. One of the main principles of Korean Natural Farming is the idea of microorganism persistence due to their being indigenous to your local environment and climate. The concern of running out of IMO or EM makes sense, but the reality is that you should actually be accumulating a diverse bank of shelf stable IMO cultures from around your land.

In terms of DIY EM, we are basically discussing an almost identical process of capturing the ubiquitous lactic acid bacteria and yeasts within our environment to those which produce kimchi, sauerkraut, and sourdough culture. We are then following this simple process with the addition of a lab grown non sulfur purple bacteria culture.

The EM you buy is derived from Japanese and Korean fermentation traditions and agricultural ideas. It was developed into a product by Dr. Terou Higa, "The technology of EM®, which was developed by me, was initiated in the 1970's. The objective was to help the ailing agricultural sector to overcome problems of pollution and to help the organic farmers who were producing food and were beset with problems of low yields and quality. Therefore, I developed a mixture of microbes, using the very common species found in all environments as extensively used in the food industry–namely Lactic Acid Bacteria, Photosynthetic Bacteria an[d] Yeasts", quoted from the Teraganix website.

You can culture the lactobacillus and yeast anywhere in your house, winter temperatures shouldn't factor into your ability to culture should you need to do so. The ratio of culture to milk is 1 / 10, so you really only need a proportionally small amount (1/2 gallon of rice water culture needed for 5 gallons of milk). Once your culture is finished and you have added the purple bacteria, you can induce dormancy and shelf stability through osmotic pressure. Again, Michael Phillips also refers to a 1% ratio of humic acid to volume as a means of stabilizing activated (?) EM, but I haven't read about this yet and someone else will have to elaborate if they care to. You shouldn't have big vats of microbes sitting around, you will have the same things that are in your bottles of EM with the difference being that the stuff in the DIY EM bottle was made by you and you can continue to easily do so for a fraction of the cost. If you haven't had any problems with your New England winters thus far with your EM inputs, there is no reason you will now.

DIY EM is scalable and can be employed on a large scale, the same as commercial EM. Buy your rice from a grocery store, a 50 lb bag costs $20.00. Buy your milk from a grocery store, a dairy farmer, or obtain it from your own livestock if you have them. None of these things are insurmountable obstacles and I think they should barely be worth mention as issues. I am not personally concerned with auditing carbon or fossil fuel usage with regard to my being able to produce my own probiotic inputs for the trees we've planted.

My objective here is to explore the methods which would allow anyone interacting with plants to be able to culture and produce their own supplies of EM for less money, with some local microbes, and in larger quantities should they be needed or desired. Thank you again for your feedback and the points you brought up.

Karn Piana
Zone 7 Semi-Arid Steppe
Northern New Mexico



Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 08/14/2018 11:26PM by Karn Piana.
1 % Humic acid link
August 14, 2018 11:23PM
Here is a link to Michael Phillips discussing the use of 1% humic acid to stabilize activated EM

Karn Piana
Zone 7 Semi-Arid Steppe
Northern New Mexico



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/06/2019 01:05AM by Karn Piana.
Personal Anecdotes / Bee calibrated EM link
August 16, 2018 12:54AM
I've been using an incomplete (no purple bacteria) "EM" of Lactobacillus and yeast for about a year in what was a weekly spray regimen through the spring and early summer on our young trees and medicinal plants. This year in New Mexico has been one of extreme drought. We had no measurable snowfall to speak of, and between late September of 2017 and Early August of 2018 we had just under 3" of rain. Conditions were frequently at low single digit humidity, with the UV index in upper limits, temperatures in the high 80s or 90s, with winds of 30 - 40 mph or higher.

I started out spraying usually in the late afternoon, after the extremes of the day had subsided, as a means of reducing stress and adding vitality. I did this throughout the bloom; but as the calendar moved into the late spring and early summer without any rain, I didn't want to interrupt the plant's ability to seal it's stoma and go deep into a kind of survival state. This idea wasn't based as much in research as it was a reaction to the intense effects of the drought experience. Everything seemed to be in a straining dormancy and one fights against mind activity drifting into discouragement. 95% of our trees survived due to mulch, water banking earthworks on contour, and lots of hand irrigating.

Now that the rains have returned and the landscape is growing greener, we find coprinopsis and what look like some young agaricus genus emergent in the wood chips amongst long ago planted cover crop seedlings. There are red wiggler worms we introduced last year appearing in ever greater abundance, we have compost tea brewing, IMO in the works, and now, in the midst of this sporulation, my mind returns again to competitive colonization. There has been some hail damage, and there are intermittent flushes of leaf yellowing which I speculate has something to do with the shift into consistent moisture (the art of leaf reading is something I would like to learn better. If anyone has a suggestion of a good book or any related videos I would appreciate your recommendation).

I am going to finish the year with the LAB I've been using, and I plan on attempting to culture an apis calibrated lactobacillus from local bee bread this winter and incorporating into this the Rhodopseudomonas palustris (purple). Next year will be year 3 and we should have a little better developed rhizome, hopefully a lot more precipitation, a whole stockpile of IMOs, and this new "DIYEM" to try out. This is the sprayer I will use.

After using the LAB by itself, and reading the unanimously positive reviews on Amazon for the PNSb, I am almost equally excited to have a enough left over to use on it's own. People report powerful growth, prolonged flowering, and vivid leaf health.

So next spring, hopefully, I'll have an update, and be using a microscope.

Karn Piana
Zone 7 Semi-Arid Steppe
Northern New Mexico



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 04/06/2019 01:08AM by Karn Piana.
Re: DIY EM : Unlimited Probiotic Effective Microorganisms
August 16, 2018 07:59AM
Appreciate all the insightful thinking behind homegrown EM, Karn. Some growers will experiment here and some will not. Both are fine choices based on the busyness of our lives. That bit about humic acid is for long-term storage (8 to 9 months hence) to duplicate the shelf-life of commercial mother culture. I'm not doing that step as I currently brew (activate) anew every spring with fresh mother culture from TeraGanix. Those doing homegrown sourcing may need to consider this storage tip for prebloom applications, at least in colder zones. Though your bee bread idea may well be the end around the forest floor method.

I for one am very excited about understanding how we can do more with less purchased inputs!

Lost Nation Orchard
Zone 4b in New Hampshire
The Components of EM & Profile of R. Palustris
September 09, 2018 07:33PM
Teraganix sells an EM formulation called PRO-EM1 which is marketed as a gut probiotic. A list of bacterias and yeast used in this EM variation is included on their website:

(all quotes are going to be from wikipedia)

Lactobacillus plantarum: "[..] is commonly found in many fermented food products as well as anaerobic plant matter. It is also present in saliva."

Lactobacillus casei : "[...] is found in the human urinary tract and mouth. This particular species of Lactobacillus is documented to have a wide pH and temperature range, and complements the growth of L. acidophilus, a producer of the enzyme amylase (a carbohydrate-digesting enzyme)."

Lactobacillus fermentum: "[...] is associated with active dental caries lesions. It is also commonly found in fermenting animal and plant material. It has been found in sourdough."

Lactobacillus bulgaricus: "Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus is the main bacteria used for the production of yogurt. It is also found in other naturally fermented products."

Saccharomyces ceravisiae: "Saccharomyces cerevisiae is a species of yeast. It has been instrumental to winemaking, baking, and brewing since ancient times. It is believed to have been originally isolated from the skin of grapes."

Rhodopseudomonas palustris: "Rhodopseudomonas palustris is a rod-shaped gram-negative purple non-sulfur bacterium, notable for its ability to switch between four different modes of metabolism."

Although PRO-EM1 is marketed as having a different formulation specifically for use as a human probiotic, it seems reasonable to speculate that L. casei might be the outlier component in this regard. Regardless of this being the case, the main take away is that Rhodopseudomonas palustris may likely be the species of purple bacteria used in EM - 1, and the other bacterias and yeasts are common to fermentation and easily obtained within local environments.




Rhodopseudomonas palustris is a very cool organism with surprising and strange abilities:

•"R. palustris is found extensively in nature and has been isolated from swine waste lagoons, earthworm droppings, marine coastal sediments and pond water."

•"R. palustris can grow with or without oxygen, or it can use light, inorganic or organic compounds for energy. It can also acquire carbon from either carbon dioxide fixation or green plant-derived compounds. Finally, R. palustris is also capable of fixing nitrogen for growth."

•"It was found that R. palustris can deftly acquire and process various components from its environment, as necessitated by fluctuations in the levels of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and light."

•"R. palustris has genes that encode for proteins that make up light-harvesting complexes and photosynthetic reaction centres. LH complexes and photosynthetic reaction centers are typically found in photosynthetic organisms like green plants. Moreover, R. palustris can modulate photosynthesis according to the amount of light available, like other purple bacteria."

•Steiner aficionados out there might find this interesting: "TIE-1 [a specific strain of R. palustris] curiously takes in electrons from materials rich in iron, sulfur and other minerals found in the sediment beneath the surface. In an extraordinary strategy, as the microbes pull electrons away from iron, iron oxide crystallizes in the soil, eventually becomes conductive, and facilitates TIE-1 in oxidizing other minerals."
R. Palustris is able to produce and eat electricity by making soil conductive.

Karn Piana
Zone 7 Semi-Arid Steppe
Northern New Mexico



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 04/06/2019 01:03AM by Karn Piana.
Spring 2019 Update
March 23, 2019 01:28AM
Spring 2019 UPDATE:

This conversation is an ongoing personal line of inquiry into a DIY EM and is not endorsed by any established holistic protocol. This is a speculative exploration that is pursuant to my own interests. I have not personally seen the data in the DNA sequencing test I refer to, nor am I a qualified or trained microbiologist who could comment on or assess the veracity of it's results with any credibility or learned insight. The following are legitimate lines of inquiry and no inference of efficacy or constituents is implied or stated:

I decided to purchase a product called Quantum-Total rather than the Quantum-Light. Quantum-Light contains only the R. palustris, where as Quantum Total contains the R. Palustris as well as Bacillus amyloliquefaciens and Bacillus megaterium.

B. amyloliquefaciens is a formidable rhizobacteria that is used to combat fungal and bacterial root pathogens through competitive exclusion. It also aids in mitigating salt stress both by increasing root tolerance and reducing salt concentrations in plant tissue..

The vendor who sold me the input was kind enough to answer several questions concerning LABs, and the feasibility of adding R. Palustris to a KNF LAB, and references to DNA sequencing testing. I found this conversation very interesting and helpful.

R. Palustris requires specific PH and this is one issue with combining it with a LAB culture. My LAB culture from last year is a PH of 4 or lower in the concentrate and is about 6.5 or slightly higher when it's diluted. These numbers are from an impromptu test I did in between calls. The PH levels may or may not be fine in dillution (I don't know), but I'm assuming it's not compatible. That said, I don't think it is necessary to combine the two. I would really like to have been able to ask more about the DNA sequencing test, but I already took up enough of his time and we both had work to do. He said one might call and ask if R. Palustris is a component in the product from the company making the formula, and to look and see if it is actually listed as an active ingredient in the specific product that you are interested in on their website.

The R. Palustris input I bought is in a perfect Laboratory state with specific application recommendations. After our discussion, I have decided to treat the R. Palustris as an entirely separate application process from the LAB and yeasts. In a couple of Michael Phillips' talks there is an electron microscope photo of a stoma shrouded in an impervious lattice of beneficial bacteria. My personal, untested, ongoing, and partially informed beginner's approach will be to use my own LAB cultures as the basis of our holistic spray regimen to buttress and sustain this lattice, and to use the R. Palustris and B. amyloliquefaciens more in the rhizome. The Quantum-Total is apparently safe to use as a foliar spray, and we will use it intermittently in this way as well, but these bacteria seem most intriguing in their potential to add interesting mining, defensive, and energetic pathways to the rhizosphere. At least this is how I am thinking as of this juncture. I'm not recommending others do this. If it is relevant and interesting, one should do their own research and assess their own circumstances.

Karn Piana
Zone 7 Semi-Arid Steppe
Northern New Mexico



Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 04/06/2019 01:16PM by Karn Piana.
Summary: Is EM1 LAB?
April 04, 2019 11:44AM
SUMMARY :

I called Teraganix and asked if EM 1 contains R. Palustris or any other purple bacteria, and the answer was, "no."

Karn Piana
Zone 7 Semi-Arid Steppe
Northern New Mexico



Edited 7 time(s). Last edit at 04/06/2019 01:09PM by Karn Piana.
Re: DIY EM : Unlimited Probiotic Effective Microorganisms
April 06, 2019 07:49AM
Glad to hear of progress of the home microbe front, Karn. But I absolutely need to address this statement about the integrity of TeraGanix. There's a backstory here . . . and it feels appropriate to explore this within your DIY thread.

Any and all information on a biological label is subject to an array of regulations. Not just federal but state by state. Any company selling product nationwide has to walk a fine line to meet the twists and turns encountered in this process. The heart of this matter centers on California and Oregon registration requirements.

California has a list of microbes they allow to be claimed on a label. If you want to claim any other microbes, you must conduct research with those microbes in the 9 different soil zones in California, on a specific crop, and have this research done through the state university system.

Oregon will not allow you to claim anything that is not on the label. Because TeraGanix once claimed metabolites in a greenhouse guide, Oregon put the company on probation. Now the kicker. If Oregon regulators catch a company telling anyone anything that is not on the label, they will remove that company's registration in the state AS WELL AS report that company to other states. Comprendes?

These two states are the reason TeraGanix has removed all mention of any other microbes in the EM-1 Effective Microorganisms. It is not that the original formula from Dr. Higa has changed. They are working with a labeling consultant to help change the registrations and add some species to the label. These will include: Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus plantarum, Saccharomyces cerevisea, and Rhodospeudomonas palustris. There are many more live active cultures in EM-1 too, some of which are proprietary and unknown even to me.

SUMMARY: Photosynthetic bacteria are in the EM-1 mother culture sold by TeraGanix.

Lost Nation Orchard
Zone 4b in New Hampshire
EARLY SUMMER 2019 UPDATE
June 20, 2019 03:09AM
Briefly, R. palustris is a vegetative type of bacteria, which means that it cannot seal some part of itself in a shell and sporulate when water and food are no longer present. This has previously been an issue with employing vegetative bacteria in industry. Lactobacillus sp. are spore forming bacteria and are easily made to sporulate and become "shelf stable". Also, R. Palustris is a neutral to basic organism. It is found in environments such as earthworm guts (~ ph 6.9) and alkaline waters. Although, it has an ability to modulate ph in an environment to a degree, the whole business of activating EM 1 by holding a very acidic ph of 3.5 or lower for many days is the source of the controversy with regard to EM -1. How would R. palustris survive this process? Yes, the purple bacteria may be an ingredient put into the bottle, but are they still there coming out of the sprayer once the bottles been opened and the contents pickled? After my own investigations and conversations, it is my personal viewpoint that living R. Palustris is not a component of the activated EM that people are spraying on their trees. Also, I think that R. palustris should be viewed as a separate potential tool from LAB with it's own methods and effects. It is not necessary for there to be be purple bacteria in competitive colonization.

Why L. Casei and L. Plantarum? These are found in the human mouth (saliva ,cavities) and L. Casei is used to make cheese. L. Plantarum is interesting and is used to ferment silage. It has many industrial uses. The Saccaromycetes is brewers yeast. Again, if you take out the purple bacteria, anyone who has made sourdough, kimchee, or sauerkraut has cultured the essential drivers in EM-1. I am probably incorrect, but perhaps these strains of LAB are used because they are widely used in industry and there is some kind of demonstrable or regulatory incentive at work.

There has been a substantial amount of effort and energy put into researching the microbiology of the bee hive and of the phyllosphere of trees and plants. A USDA ARS station studying bees exists in or near Tucson which has been a source of interesting study. I've had several of these papers open on my browser, but time has passed since I read them and I don't recall more than a fog of disconnected points. For reference and because it may be exceptionally useful to anyone with a similar curiosity, here is a link to a website called beebacteria.com which breaks down a census of various microbes that one such experiment was able to isolate. There are still many questions. Of note however, was the discovery that bacterial populations in bee bread were more abundant early in the fermentation. They tapered off as time went on.

Of particular interest to me is L. kunkeei, "the ferocious lactobaccili". I want a ravenous chainmail of the meanest. baddest bacteria covering every entryway into our trees cellular biome. I've currently cultured two or three batches of LAB using rice starch water and local bee pollen. I mix the pollen into the starch and then pour the yellow solution through a filter. If I remember correctly, last years KNF LABs took about a week for the starch to reach a finish of a pleasant sweet smell and the curds and whey took a while as well. This bee pollen lab seems to happen virtually overnight, and in light of the higher bacterial populations in the early ferment of bee bread I try to favor early. I add 1 part starch inoculum to whole milk per the KNF method and in less than 24 hours the milk has separated. I siphon off the "EM", and then I make it sporulate with an equal weight of brown sugar through osmotic pressure. I don't know if I got the kunkeei, but it has thus far been very effective and has clearly played a central role in the recovery from some experimental deliberate neglect:

I have a Prunus Americana near a number of other stone fruit, there were indications of the development of shot hole (Wilsonomyces carpophilus) which was seeming to make its way onto an apricot and some plums in the vicinity. I started a daily profligate spray pattern of my DIYEM along with some rhizome attention (r. palustris and B. amyliquifaciens and liquid organic mix of chelated mineral elements, fish hydrolysate, and other things) and the trees have seemed to respond incredibly well. The new leaves are pristine and the more mature leaves show little sign of pathogen (I previously picked off the more effected bits).

I've had similar results with some peaches and nectarines that had leaves curling and becoming more and more deteriorated, almost like leaf curl (Taphrina deformans) but without reddish lesions. After the LAB and rhizome boost, the trees have put on a super vigorous new growth of healthy looking leaves. It's hard to draw any conclusions from these experiences that would be of any use to others, but I am personally encouraged by what I've seen thus far.

No matter the incredible attributes of electron transport, 95% photosynthetic efficiency across the full spectrum of light, amplification of sugars benefiting mycorrhizae, and other attibutes of R. Palustis of which I am still learning, I am still intrigued by LAB as the main barrier against disease.. The yeast and non-phyllospheric L. Bacillus in EM-1 has been super effective at mitigating pathogens. The only reason we've been thinking we need to combine Purple bacteria with LAB is most likely due to the marketing of the mythology of Dr. Higa. Is it even appropriate to combine purple bacterias and LABs? Who eats who? What happens on the leaf or in the bloom when they are both present? How does one employ these tools? Should one apply both and allow the plant or environmental conditions select? Also, I don't do any brewing with my LAB. I add it to rainwater and I'm ready to go. It's cheap and abundant.

A final concern is that one must be wary of "too much". Maybe blanketing every bud with L. Kunkeei could shift a balance. Perhaps there is the potential to have several cultures going in order to emphasize maximum diversity. One from pollen or bee bread, maybe cultures from different hives, maybe cultures from areas with lots of flowers and pollinator traffic, perhaps a well established ant mound might be an interesting locale to culture from. And so on...

Karn Piana
Zone 7 Semi-Arid Steppe
Northern New Mexico
Re: DIY EM : Unlimited Probiotic Effective Microorganisms
June 20, 2019 10:00AM
All good stuff, as usual, Karn. I'm doing trials this year with separately added photosynthetic bacteria using Quantum Total at manufacturer suggested rates and my own inclinations at less than half the expense. Rocky Mountain Bio-Ag has contributed product to make this possible. I really like what you are doing to generate your own lactobacilli but for now continue with SCD's mother culture (the formulation without the purple guys). I'm also in touch with another supplier in the East who has sent along various samples of prototype mother cultures with photosynthetic bacteria . . . and once a trained microbiologist from Quebec visits here shortly . . . I'll learn how to peer into these worlds and understand better who's at play. I'm convinced by visual assessment already this season that the purple guys are relevant in a vibrant arboreal food web. The role of R. palustris is not so much competitive colonization but supporting competitive colonization and plant photosynthesis.

Meanwhile far too many growers don't quite grasp how powerful all this microbe enhancement really can be. Your sharing about shot hole and leaf curl stand as good testament to the power of having beneficial organisms in all the right places.

Lost Nation Orchard
Zone 4b in New Hampshire
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