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Questions on Effective Microbes (From Growing to Storing)

Questions on Effective Microbes (From Growing to Storing)
August 08, 2018 01:13PM
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 07:38PM
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 10:27PM
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 07:23PM
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 09:28PM by Karn Piana.
Re: Questions on Effective Microbes (From Growing to Storing)
August 10, 2018 03:03PM
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
Re: Questions on Effective Microbes (From Growing to Storing)
April 29, 2019 02:54AM
Last year I activated EM-1 following directions given on the Teraganix website, and the fermentation seemed take a long time to get started and to last much, much longer than it should have, as in it seemed to linger on for months, me having to burp the container throughout that time. I did not check pH.

This year I read a little more carefully on the Teraganix website and noticed that they recommend using vinegar in the solution when using organic molasses, which is what I had on hand. So I added 1 part EM-1, 1 part Molasses, and 20 parts water. After seeing no evidence of fermentation for a few days- no evident gas production or change in smell- I added 1 part apple cider vinegar to the mix. A few days later and I still have no evidence of fermentation.- no swelling of my plastic bucket. Although at this point I do not have a working pH meter, shouldn't I be able to at least visually ascertain that an active fermentation is underway through visual cues? Or is this a more subtle process I might miss, and only be able to gauge with a pH meter?
Re: Questions on Effective Microbes (From Growing to Storing)
April 29, 2019 01:06PM
Looking into this more I see it is almost certainly a temperature issue! I'll work on maintaining a 90° environment somehow...
Re: Questions on Effective Microbes (From Growing to Storing)
June 07, 2019 06:09PM
We have been maintaining 55 gallon batches of EM-1 this spring, using it within a few weeks of starting it, and haven't had any issues whatsoever, but as outdoor temperatures have warmed up, and thus, the ambient temperature in the earthen cellar where the EM-1 barrel is, I have noticed some blue mold formation. The first time I noticed it was after I had used half of the barrel. Days later I peeped in and saw the sides were coated with blue mold, which isn't surprising as it is very damp in the cellar and the moisture on the sides would have molasses residue. I didn't think much of it and used the rest of the batch soon after.

However, my latest batch was activated, then sat for a couple of weeks undisturbed while I was out of town. I came home and found that the surface skin was actually covered with blue mold. I don't have the means to culture the mold, but it occurred to me that it's likely penicillin, and this could actually have a profound effect on the bacterial population.

I ended up stirring up the batch and using half of it, and it smelled and looked completely normal. I plan to sanitize the barrel well before starting the new batch (previously I just rinsed well with water and let dry in the sun), but just curious if anyone else has any insight as far as EM-1 populations being affected by molds.

Kordick Family Farm
Westfield, NC
Zone 7a
Re: Questions on Effective Microbes (From Growing to Storing)
June 11, 2019 01:08AM
Surface molds require air, thus surface space, while the bulk of facultative organisms in EM carry on in a dormant state down below. I see such "scum" as well in the later life of a brew but don't worry about it.

Lost Nation Orchard
Zone 4b in New Hampshire
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