Supporting article F: The far-reaching importance of micro organisms to human health
INTRODUCTION TO EFFICIENT MICROBES
EM is a natural, probiotic technology developed for over 25 years around the world. It is based on beneficial and effective micro organisms (“EM”). The microbes in EM are non-harmful, non-pathogenic, not-genetically-engineered or modified (non-GMO), and not-chemically-synthesized. The basic groups of micro organisms in EM are lactic acid bacteria (commonly found in yogurt, cheeses), yeast (bread, beer), and phototrophic bacteria (“cousins” of blue-green algae).
All Efficient Microbes [SCD (EM)™] are produced through natural fermentation processes; and are not chemically synthesized or genetically engineered. EM is sold as a concentrate and can be added to water and applied as is, or activated and extended up to 2000 times its volume.
The micro organisms in EM are known to produce bioactive substances, vitamins, hormones, enzymes, amino acids, and antibiotics, which enrich and detoxify the soil. EM directly enhances plant growth and produces high yielding crops, which are drought, frost, pest and disease resistant without the need of any agricultural chemicals. Activated EM can also be used to create an environment where grease, mold, rust do not thrive due to the antioxidative properties of EM.
SCD Efficient Microbes (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.
One of the most important concepts of EM is not the overall number of micro organisms present but the interactive relationship between the different species.
Recent developments in EM Technology indicate that the beneficial effects of EM can be extended considerably beyond agriculture and the environment largely because of the antioxidant potential of EM cultures. Based on research and development activities in many countries, EM is increasingly viewed as a means of providing solutions to many problems of food production, depletion of natural resources, environmental pollution, food safety and nutrition, and human and animal health.
For example EM inoculants have been used successfully to:
• Improve soil quality and the growth, yield and quality of crops;
• Suppress malodors associated with livestock production;
• Enhance the growth and market weight of swine and poultry when used as a probiotic food additive;
• Improve the process technology for composting municipal waste (e.g. garbage) and kitchen waste into high quality soil conditioner and biofertilizer;
• Improve the process technology for recycling other waste materials including plastics, paper, rubber, and textiles;
• Enhance human and animal health through the use of EM as a probiotic. Around the house, EM can be used for household cleaner, for use in kitchens, bathrooms, laundry equipment and to assist in the control of pet odors and waste;
• Improve the quality and shelf life of fruit and vegetables.
All of these applications of EM technology are cost-effective and accepted by environmentalists and consumers around the world. EM is sold as a concentrate and can be added to water and applied as is or activated and extended up to 2,000 times its volume. (See various product lists)
The principal micro organisms in EM are:
A. Photosynthetic Bacteria
The photosynthetic or phototropic bacteria are a group of independent, self-supporting microbes. 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 plant growth and development. The metabolites developed by these micro organisms are absorbed directly into plants and act as substrates for increasing beneficial populations.
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 micro organisms and enhances decomposition of organic matter. Moreover, lactic acid bacteria promote the decomposition of material such as lignin and cellulose and ferments these materials, thereby removing undesirable effects of non-decomposed organic matter.
Lactic acid bacteria have the ability to suppress disease-inducing micro organisms 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.
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.
The different species of effective micro organisms (Photosynthetic, Lactic acid bacteria and Yeast) have their respective functions. However, photosynthetic bacteria could be considered the focus of EM activity. Photosynthetic bacteria support the activities of the other microbes. This phenomenon is termed “Coexistence” and “Coprosperity”.
The enhancement of populations of EM in soils by its application promotes the development of existing beneficial soil micro organisms. Thus, the micro flora of the soil becomes abundant; thereby the soil develops a well-balanced microbial system. In this process harmful species are suppressed, thereby reducing microbial species that cause soil born diseases. This results in plants growing exceptionally well in soils which are dominated by beneficial and effective micro organisms. Use of EM improves soil conditions resulting in greater yields, and healthier more nutritious plants.
History of EM
Throughout the 1970s and 80s Dr. 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. Thousands of research and efficacy studies have been conducted and documented in projects, conferences and books around the world.
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 micro organisms 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.