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Efficient Microbes Range of Products EM for Agriculture

EM Pro-Agriculture



Modern agriculture encompasses a wide variety of specialties and techniques, In the past century there has been increasing concern to identify and quantify various forms of agriculture. In the developed world the range usually extends between sustainable agriculture (e.g. permaculture or organic agriculture) and intensive farming (e.g. industrial agriculture).


The key element in modern farming is soil health and sustainability. In the growth cycle of plants or crops, elements in the soil are taken up through the roots of plants in solution, becoming part of the compounds forming the plant. If plants are allowed to die and decompose, these compounds return to the soil as part of a natural cycle, such as the nitrogen cycle. However, when crops are harvested the cycle is interrupted; the nutrients are not returned to the soil and are used up. Fertilizers have become the modern solution to replacing these elements, increasing the yield of crops and enabling the soil to be farmed year after year.


Modern agronomy, plant breeding, pesticides and fertilizers, and technological improvements have sharply increased yields from cultivation, and at the same time have caused widespread ecological damage and negative human health effects.  It is estimated that, worldwide, the agricultural chemical industry is producing about 45,000 to 50,000 different pesticides. There are approximately 600 active ingredients in various combinations and concentrations in these pesticides. Many artificial fertilizers contain acids, such as sulphuric acid and hydrochloric acid, which tend to increase the acidity of the soil, reduce the soil's beneficial organism population and interfere with plant growth.


Generally, healthy soil contains enough nitrogen-fixing bacteria to fix sufficient atmospheric nitrogen to supply the needs of growing plants. However, continued use of chemical fertilizer may destroy these nitrogen-fixing bacteria. Furthermore, chemical fertilizers may affect plant health. For example, citrus trees tend to yield fruits that are lower in vitamin C when treated with high nitrogen fertilizer. Fungus and bacterial disease resulting from the lack of trace elements in soil regularly dosed with chemical fertilizers is not uncommon. This lack of vital micronutrients can generally be attributed to the use of chemical fertilizers.




Microbes are the oldest form of life on earth. These single cell organisms date back more than 3.5 billion years to a time when the Earth was covered with oceans. Without microbes, we cant eat or breathe. Microbes play many roles in the earth's environment from recycling dead plant and animal matter through the soil, removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by photosynthesis in the oceans and fixing nitrogen from the atmosphere to form nitrogenous fertilizer for plants. They play an important role in nutrient recycling, nutrient management, organic matter decomposition and fermentation and in food industry. 


Most of the chemical reactions that take place soils have active contribution of microbes. The nitrogen-fixing bacteria, blue green algae, and phosphate solublizing bacteria are already well known to enhance availability of major nutritional elements to plants whereas the decomposer bacteria are instrumental in recycling, thereby increasing the availability of carbon and several micronutrients from plant residues to soil. Some other microorganisms similarly contribute towards improved plant health and higher crop yield through the production of growth stimulators such as plant hormones and vitamins.


Until recently, microbial handling of soils, crops or even animal and human health have been looked upon as a nicety something which can be done to raise organic crops or help people feel more natural. The chief reasons for this have been efficacy and cost. The truth is, however, that correct utilization of microbes can and should result in better yields at less cost than one would get through only using fertilizers. Microbes are the organisms responsible for health, growth and survival in every living environment (or organism) on the planet and thus it stands to reason that they would be the logical solution better crops and livestock.


With EM technology that point has been reached.


EM technology is a low cost and effective microbial technology that is highly beneficial in agriculture. Because of the diverse combination of microbes in EM, the application in agriculture can be on multiple levels and cover many different applications. EM works by getting the natural processes to function and enhancing every aspect of the soil ecology to assist in growth and health.


EM has excellent results with:


  • Higher yields
  • Improved soil structure, leading to better aeration and water holding capacity
  • Improved nutrient availability, leading to lower fertilizer requirements and higher fertilizer utilization of applied inputs
  • Lower disease pressure by developing a disease suppressive soil
  • Lower requirements for pesticides
  • Improved quality of produce and greater storage ability
  • Improved animal performance by creating healthy living environments and improved digestion.
  • Restoring waterways and enhancing riparian areas


EM is a naturally fermented liquid probiotic solution utilising effective microorganisms, a technology developed in the early 1980s in Japan. The basic groups of microorganisms in EM are lactic acid bacteria (commonly found in yogurt, cheeses), yeast (bread, beer), and phototrophic bacteria. The microbes in EM are non-harmful, non-pathogenic, not-genetically-engineered or modified (non-GMO), and not-chemically-synthesized.


Placed in contact with organic matter, the organisms which make up EM secrete substances such as vitamins, organic acids, minerals and antioxidants that beneficially affect plants and other micro-organisms. This process increases the humus content of the soil and is capable of sustaining high-quality food production by creating a favourable environment for both soil organisms and plants to grow.  EM promotes crop growth and yield through improved release of plant nutrients, increased photosynthesis, and resistance to plant diseases, efficacy of organic matter as fertilizers and in suppression of soil-borne pathogens and pests.


EM Pro Agriculture is a mixed blend of beneficial bacteria which promotes the growth of naturally occurring beneficial microbes found in agricultural environments. 


EM Pro Agriculture has enhanced levels of phototrophic bacteria also known as photosynthetic or purple non-sulfur bacteria (PNSB).  These purple photosynthetic microbes have powerful detoxifying, anti-oxidative and anti-entropic properties.  These properties are active in re-establishing a wide range of beneficial microbes in polluted or unbalanced environments, such as poor soil conditions. 


As a natural and cost-effective alternative to chemical additives, EM Pro Agriculture offers a sustainable solution for organic farming and gardening.


EM Pro Agriculture is a microbial soil builder containing nitrogen-fixing bacteria, which pull atmospheric nitrogen for plant utilization.  The photosynthetic bacteria (PNSB) component works to break down toxins, including ammonia, hydrogen sulfide and mercaptens, which toxify soils and reduce nitrogen-fixing bacteria.  The PNSB also detoxify soils and provide more oxygen to strengthen plant roots by transforming harmful substances such as hydrogen sulfide into useful elements including oxygen.


All living systems, including soil, plants, and trees have a microbial ecology that can be managed and improved by the constant delivery of EM Pro Agriculture.  Regenerating good bacteria produces a microbial ecology where beneficial bacteria dominate harmful bacteria, creating a healthier, more vibrant environment.


The following are examples of the different ways in which EM can be implemented into farming. The particular program for each farm would be determined to best suit the land and crops being farmed.


Seed Treatment:

Soak seeds one day before planting in a 1:10 000 EM / water solution. If the seed cannot be soaked, moisten the seed before planting with the same 1:10 000 EM / water solution.



Water-in new transplants with a 1:750 EM /water solution. EM can be added with other products, such as organic fertilizers, mineral supplements and compost teas during this process.


Foliar Treatments:

Apply EM with a sprayer at a 1:500 EM / water dilution rate. Application frequency should be every 2-6 weeks depending on conditions and objectives. Approximately 10 Litres / hectare of EM should be applied during a foliar treatment. If total spray rate is less than 1 000 Litres / hectare and more EM is needed for desired results a lower dilution rate, 1:250, may be necessary. Treat a smaller test plot with the lower dilution rate and monitor the crop response for 24-48 hours before treating the entire crop.


Soil Treatment:

Add EM to irrigation water at a rate of 50 Litres of EM per hectare. This can be done 4-8 times a year depending on climate. Dry or cold climates require more frequent treatments. If you do not irrigate, EM can be drilled into soil at a 8-15cm depth and a rate of 50 litres per hectare.


Cover Cropping:

Apply EM as a foliar treatment at a 1:100 EM / water dilution rate just before or after the cover crop is incorporated back into the soil.



  • Nitrogen fixing bacteria to feed plants
  • Breaks down organic amendments
  • Increases crop yield by up to 30%
  • Encourages beneficial microorganisms to flourish
  • Cost effective with increased profits to farmers




The species used in producing EM Pro Agriculture:


Bacillus subtilis, Bifidobacterium animalis, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium longum, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus buchneri, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus delbrueckii, Lactobacillus fermentum, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactococcus diacetylactis, Lactococcus lactis, Rhodopseudomonas palustris, Rhodopseumonas sphaeroides, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and streptococcus thermophilus.




The reason for EMs efficacy and results is not, as many people believe, the number of microbes present in the product but, rather the number of microbial species. In the natural world various classes of bacteria are utterly reliant upon each other for growth and stability, as can be seen by the diversity of microbial life in soils and plants. EM technology is one of the only technologies on the planet that allows for a variety of different classes of bacteria to be grown and maintained stably in a probiotic consortium. This consortium dominates any system into which it is introduced, motivating all existing bacteria in that system in a regenerative direction. The microorganisms in EM are known to produce bioactive substances, vitamins, hormones, enzymes, amino acids, and antibiotics. EM consists of a wide variety of effective, beneficial, non-pathogenic aerobic and anaerobic micro organisms cultured in diluted molasses that are mutually compatible with one another.

Other factors to look at when considering EM Technology based probiotic cultures is that they are all naturally fermented. This means the finished products are raw, containing 40 trace minerals, amino acids (up to 18), various organic acid compounds, nearly 100 types of enzymes, B complex vitamins, Vitamin A as well as the live microbes which make up the solution itself. Lastly, consider that one microbe produces one type of enzyme, one type of vitamin, and/or one type of organic acid. When there is not a variety (diversity), the nutrients and digestive aids are not supplied. This is another reason why the benefits of EM products are so great and varied.


The principal classes of microorganisms in EM are:

A. Photosynthetic Bacteria the key to EM.

The photosynthetic or phototropic bacteria are a group of independent, self-supporting microbes, considered to be the most versatile bacteria in existence. In soils and plants, these bacteria synthesize useful substances from secretions of roots, organic matter and/or harmful gases (e.g. hydrogen sulphide), by using sunlight and the heat of soil as sources of energy. Useful substances developed by these microbes include amino acids, nucleic acids, bioactive substances and sugars, all of which promote growth and development. The metabolites developed by these microorganisms are absorbed directly into living organisms and act as substrates for increasing beneficial populations.


Phototropic bacteria are one of the key elements both in EMs structure and its workability and benefits. These micro-organisms have been on Earth since before there was oxygen. They are, in fact, anaerobic and consume carbon dioxide, ammonia, methane and hydrogen-sulphide. In short: they survive by consuming toxins and pollutants. Even more importantly, however, phototropic microbes excrete oxygen, amino acids, antioxidants and other substances that enhance life. The aerobic bacteria then consume the oxygen generated by the phototropic bacteria and they in turn excrete carbon dioxide. This is food for the phototropic bacteria - which they readily consume.


The entire key to EM and why it works lies in this following paragraph. If any datum within this document could be considered to be an axiom and of senior importance to anything else, this would be it:


It is the interdependency and mutually beneficial actions of these various microbes which make it possible for them to establish themselves within any environment and motivate the already-existing bacteria in a beneficial and regenerative direction. Any one of these classes of microbes attempting to influence any environment without the others is, therefore, attempting to operate in a synthetic environment because they do not operate alone in the natural world. To word it differently: although Lactic Acid Bacteria, beneficial yeasts and other microbes have properties which are hugely beneficial to plant, animal and human life, they will never be able to function as they should without the other bacteria (namely phototropic bacteria) that are essential to the establishment of viable survival conditions.


The action of EM in providing living systems with mutually-supportive bacteria which have the ability of influencing the entire bacterial population of that system has never before been uniformly achieved. Thus it can be said that we have reached a new era in the evolution microbial technology.


B. Lactic acid bacteria

Lactic acid bacteria produce lactic acid from sugars and other carbohydrates, developed by photosynthetic bacteria and yeast. Therefore, some foods and drinks such as yogurt and pickles have been made with lactic acid bacteria for decades. However, lactic acid is a strong sterilizing compound, and suppresses harmful microorganisms and enhances decomposition of organic matter. Moreover, lactic acid bacteria promote the decomposition of material such as lignin and cellulose and ferment these materials, thereby removing undesirable effects of non-decomposed organic matter.


Lactic acid bacteria have the ability to suppress disease-inducing microorganisms such as Fusarium, which occur in continuous cropping programs. Under normal circumstances, species such as Fusarium weaken crop plants, thereby exposing plants to diseases and increased pest populations such as nematodes. The use of lactic acid bacteria reduces nematode populations and controls propagation and spread of Fusarium, thereby inducing a better environment for crop growth.

C. Natural Beneficial Yeasts

Yeasts synthesize antimicrobial and other useful substances required for plant growth from amino acids and sugars secreted by photosynthetic bacteria, organic matter and plant roots. The bioactive substances such as hormones and enzymes produced by yeasts promote active cell and root division. These secretions are also useful substrates for effective microbes such as lactic acid bacteria and actinomycetes.


Technical Insight:


EM is produced through a natural fermentation process; it is not chemically synthesized or genetically engineered or modified. The purple photosynthetic microbes present in EM at enhanced levels have powerful detoxifying, antioxidative and anti-entropic properties. These properties have the ability to reduce levels of certain toxins, toxic gases, odors, and can help to re-establish a wide range of beneficial microbes in an otherwise polluted or unbalanced environment.


In general, EM microbes such as Phototrophic group can utilize both inorganic and organic materials as hydrogen donors and are capable of growing in light and/or dark conditions of which the microbes will require different growth factors. Phototrophic bacteria are known to play an important role in carbon assimilation and nitrogen fixation. They can be found in extreme condition where temperature ranges from 0-90C or at the depth of 2,000m. They can convert sunlight to cellular energy by absorbing atmospheric carbon dioxide or breakdown inorganic as well as organic carbon and converting it to biomass. This microbe can also degrade and recycle a variety of  aromatic compounds that comprise lignin, the main constituent of wood and the second most abundant polymer on earth.


Rhodopseudomonas palustris containing in EM, for example, is acknowledged by microbiologists to be one of the most metabolically versatile bacteria ever described. Not only can it convert carbon molecules into cell material but nitrogen gas into ammonia, and it can produce hydrogen gas. It grows both in the absence and presence of oxygen. In the absence of oxygen, it prefers to generate all its energy from light by photosynthesis. R. palustris also can increase biomass by degrading organic compounds including such toxic compounds as 3chlorobenzoateto cellular building blocks. When oxygen is present, R. palustris generates energy by degrading a variety of carbon containing compounds (including sugars, lignin monomers, polymers and methanol) and by carrying out respiration.


EM inoculants have been used successfully to:


      Significantly improve the growth, yield and quality of crops.

      Enhance the growth & weight of livestock when used as a probiotic food additive;

      Greatly enhance human health through use as a probiotic supplement;

      Suppress malodours associated with livestock production;

      Improve water treatment, reducing COD/BOD levels & eliminating pathogens and toxins.

      Greatly improve composting of municipal and kitchen waste into high quality soil conditioner and bio fertilizer;

      Improve the process technology for recycling plastics, paper, rubber, and textiles;

      Around the house, EM can be used for household cleaner.



Throughout the 1970s and 80s Dr. Teruo Higa pioneered the research that led to the development and commercialization of EM technology. This natural biotechnology has since been successfully commercialized throughout world markets in human health, agriculture, livestock and industrial waste treatment.

Originally, EM was developed for use in agriculture (crop farming) as an alternative to agricultural chemicals such as pesticides and fertilizers. EM however is not a conventional fertilizer and unlike the purpose of fertilizers, the purpose of EM is to increase the number of beneficial microorganisms in the soil. This improves the soil's microbial health and promotes a healthy environment for plants. It can also be used as a processing tool to manufacture organic fertilizers.

From crop farming, its application flowed naturally into livestock. EM is actively used in livestock operations, including hog, cattle/dairy, and poultry. From livestock, the positive effects on the livestock waste and effluent into lagoons and rivers led to the use of EM for environmental purposes: from land/soil remediation to water purification. EM environmental applications throughout the world have included cleaning polluted waterways, lakes and lagoons, in septic systems, municipal wastewater treatment plants, and landfills/dump sites. As EM became used extensively in livestock, research began into its use as a functional food supplement for human health. It was discovered that EM exhibits very beneficial effects as an antioxidant and probiotic on the digestive system.




Efficient Microbes is a privately registered company dedicated to the use of natural microbial-based products and services for human health, agriculture, livestock and environmental sustainability.


Efficient Microbes has its head office in Durban, South Africa, with a sales office in Johannesburg and a wide network of distributors based throughout Southern Africa. Efficient Microbes is committed to the consumer and to the environment, and offers the most effective and environmentally friendly solutions to a large number of problems that are normally solved with medicines or harsh chemicals.


Efficient Microbes entered the human health market in South Africa three years ago and, through the success of EM products in dealing with a wide range of health issues, now contract manufactures various products for a number of major local health companies and also manufactures the product for use in food programs in Southern Africa.


Efficient Microbes also manufactures EM products for use in agriculture, the rearing of livestock and environmental remediation, with increased focus over the past 12 months in the areas of poultry, dairy cattle and agriculture.

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