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effective microbe survival

Posted by Todd Parlo 
effective microbe survival
April 06, 2013 07:00PM
I have had some em freeze, and asked about survivability to the forum. Terraganix has printed that it should actually be fine, though not ideal (website info). Anyone out there with conflicting info please speak up, as I am sure we are all going to end up doing this sooner or later. Is there a good test?

Walden Heights Nursery & Orchard
Zone 3 in Vermont

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/06/2013 07:01PM by Todd Parlo.
Re: effective microbe survival
April 09, 2013 04:34PM
EM from the previous spring would have gone beyond it's expiration by now ... mother culture (direct from the manufacturer) having a twelve month shelf life at most ... which indicates the time period when certain organisms go beyond their ability to maintain in a quasi-dormant state.

An activated batch mixed at the standard ratio of 1:1:20, being molasses:culture:water, is reported to have a dependable shelf life of 30 to 40 days as the organism proportions shift in response to awakening. This underscores why consecutive batches of activated EM are not recommended: The lactic acid organisms and the yeasts survive and thrive well (assuming that other stray organisms do not eventually contaminate the culture) but the phototrophic organisms don't necessarily reproduce sufficiently, and thus may suffer successive attrition to the detriment of the whole culture, if you attempt to continually serially "extend" the original culture.

The answer to Todd's question keys to those phototrophic organisms. And that's the kind of thing determined by looking at the culture with a light microscope. This would be worth knowing, if we could indeed dependably carry an EM supply from the previous season by freezing.

Lost Nation Orchard
Zone 4b in New Hampshire
Re: effective microbe survival
April 23, 2013 02:48AM
That is helpful, I will assume the culture has bit the dust. At the risk of sounding ignorant, in checking under microscope what am I looking for ? Is there reference images for comparison, and how might I tell a live bacterium from a dead one, aside from a fractured unit?
Re: effective microbe survival
April 25, 2013 02:49PM
Growers who have taken Elaine Ingham's "microscope class" as part of her soil food web course can answer this. I'm working on learning more here ... but don't even have the microscope yet! Being able to distinguish organisms in a brew becomes that much more important with compost tea where fungal/bacterial dominance is in process. Effective microbes start with known entities chosen for specific contributions. I would still use your frozen batch, Todd, particulary for organic matter decomposition and the pulsing of soil life. Those photosyntheic bacteria may still be represented after freezing, but even if not, this is not the foliar scene where all microbe allies need to be on hand.
Re: effective microbe survival
March 31, 2014 04:20AM
I just got 2 gals EM from SCD. The use by date is May 2016!! It's March 2014. Huh? Thought I'd relook at this thread as I just got my first EM. Maybe Terra Ganix mix doesn't last that long. Also, I accidently heated my mix to 160 gegrees!! Ask Dr. EM at Terraganix says you can go to 170 plus before degradation begins...whew.
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