Effective Microorganisms

Sustainable Farming and environmental conservation with a microbial approach.


EM is a people-friendly and environmentally safe product of EMRO (EM Research Organization) that achieves synergistic effects by combining beneficial microorganisms which exist in nature, such as lactic acid bacteria, yeast and phototrophic bacteria. It was developed by Professor Teruo Higa in 1982. EM activates local and native microorganisms that live in soil and water and maximizes their natural power. EM brand represents a line of microbial products that are used in numerous fields including agriculture, animal husbandry, environmental purification and health care in more than 100 countries around the world.
EM is a trademark and a brand name owned by EMRO, and is used on a variety of products.

EM enhances the diversity of microorganisms

Healthy soil and clean water are maintained by the diversity and balance of the community of microorganisms within them. For example, when the balance of microorganisms in the soil is disrupted, soil will be impoverished and crops will not grow well. However, if native microorganisms are activated, soil conditions will improve. When the soil microbiology is in balance, plants will be healthy, thus more resistant to damage caused by stressors such as disease or harmful insects.

In polluted rivers, species that cannot survive in a degraded environment die out and the ecosystem becomes degraded. Conversely, if the diversity of microorganisms is rich, nature’ s self-purifying ability is enhanced and clean water will return. The reason that EM can solve the problems it does is that EM restores a healthy balance of microorganisms in the ecosystem, thereby increasing its self-purification ability.


Good microbiomes are the key to good personal and environmental health

In recent years, many researchers have been focusing less on the activity of single-strains of microorganisms and more on aggregates of microorganisms called microbiomes. In agriculture, it has become apparent that when soil microbiomes are healthy, they will enrich the soil. Healthy aquatic microbiomes will help maintain the environmental purification capabilities of rivers and other bodies of water.

Microbiome studies have shown that quadrillions of microorganisms live within and on the human body and that these microorganisms make a significant difference to human health. Many of them live in the human gut and affect not only people’ s physical health, but also their mental condition.

EM can be used anywhere in the world

EM, which treats microorganisms as aggregates, was developed long before microbiome science caught the world’ s attention and its effectiveness has been demonstrated for three decades across the globe on fields in tropical and cold temperate regions. The beneficial effects of EM is produced when the groups of microorganisms in EM-1, including lactic acid bacteria, yeast and phototrophic bacteria, activate native microorganisms in the environment and harness their intrinsic power.

 EM, EM Logo, Effective Microorganisms, EM・1, Pro EM・1 and EM・X are trademarks or registered trademarks of EMRO and/or its affiliated companies in the United States and many other countries.


Lactic acid bacteria, yeast and phototrophic bacteria contained in EM have the ability to ferment organic substances. Compost fermented and decomposed by EM is broken down in the soil and absorbed by plants. Also, EM contains many useful components to promote plant growth. In aqueous environments, EM decomposes sludge by fermentation and makes it easy for other microorganisms and protozoans to eat the breakdown products. Moreover, in addition to microorganisms, EM contains metabolites produced by various microorganisms and these will activate the microorganisms which already exist in the soil and help to diversify the microbiome. Microorganisms form the base of the ecological pyramid, so when microorganisms in soil are diverse, the ecosystem in the soil will be enriched in various ways, such as an increase in the number of earthworms. A healthy and diverse ecosystem will help to form rich soil.

How does EM work in the soil?

Large numbers of bacteria exist in the soil. One gram of soil contains anywhere from a few hundred million to several billion microorganisms. Microorganisms are a fundamental component of the ecosystem and facilitate its functioning by breaking down organic substances and circulating nutrients. However, when the quantity of healthy microorganisms in the soil decreases or the balance is disrupted, other living things such as earthworms will be negatively affected and the soil will become impoverished. The diversity of microorganisms contained in EM and the metabolites they produce will increase the number and diversity of microorganisms in the soil. When microorganisms are activated, protozoans and larger organisms such as worms will increase in number and a healthier ecosystem will result. Soil with diversified microflora will inhibit the growth of specific disease-causing bacteria, which help prevent cultivation failure.

Lactic acid bacteria, yeast, and phototrophic bacteria contained in EM have the ability to ferment organic substances and prevent putrefaction. Therefore, for example, when making compost with EM, putrefying bacteria will be suppressed and, due to the fermentation action of EM, it is possible to manufacture compost with less turning than usual. Also, compost fermented by EM is rich in amino acids and polysaccharides compared with compost produced by the usual methods. EM prevents the production of ammonia during protein decomposition, metabolizing proteins in such a way that amino acids are produced instead. These amino acids can be directly absorbed by plants. Also, under normal circumstances, cellulose will be decomposed and broken down to form carbon dioxide. However, due to the fermentation action of EM, low-molecular polysaccharides will be produced and these will be absorbed by microorganisms and plants. Generally, proteins are synthesized from nitrogen. However, if the plants can directly absorb amino acids from their roots, they can repurpose the energy that would have gone into producing amino acids and proteins, thereby producing fruit with more sugar.

Comparison between conventional way with EM Way to make bokashi

Organic farming and EM farming

Fertile soil and biodiversity is important for organic farming. However, normally, sophisticated technology and a long period of time is needed to establish a productive organic farm. By actively using beneficial microorganisms, EM Technology speeds up this process, makes organic farming easier, and also helps to improve the yield and quality of produce.

Application in other fields

EM Technology that promotes biodiversity have also been applied in the fields of animal husbandry, aquaculture and water purification. In animal husbandry, EM will improve the microbial environment of barns as well as the intestinal flora of livestock and will ameliorate noxious odors. In aquaculture and water purification, EM will make the ecosystems in water richer. This will improve the self-purification capacity of water bodies and improve water quality.


Why EM?

“Application of EM technology has the potential to contribute significantly to the general improvement in our state of health and to sustain this in a number of ways: by affording greater environmental protection and ensuring an economic food supply of safe, high-quality foods through its use in agriculture; by solving problems of environmental pollution by means of large-scale recycling operations, which would simultaneously reduce wanton use of our precious natural resources; and, finally, by enhancing our natural ability to heal ourselves.” (p.42, Teruo Higa, An Earth Saving Revolution)

The founder of EM, Professor Teruo Higa, aims for a future in which the common problems faced by human beings ? food crises, environmental degradation, health care, etc ? are solved. He is hoping that EM will be one of the most potent tools to respond to these problems. Growing food using EM products can help make both producers and consumers healthy and will enrich the ecosystem.

EM is used both in national and volunteer projects

People who empathize with Higa’s philosophy are conducting various activities in fields such as agriculture or environmental remediation around the world. For example, in Thailand, EM products are used in the conservation oriented agriculture (environmentally-friendly farming) program which has been put forward by the King. In Malaysia, in order to purify the contaminated aquatic environment, an EM Mudball Event was held and 1.2 million Mudballs were thrown into rivers. In recent years, EM Mudball Events have been held every year throughout the world. In this way, activities and events are spreading both through national initiatives and volunteer projects.

Participate in the Green Future using EM

You can easily participate in the Green Future using EM products. Originally, EM was developed for use in agriculture, but now it is used in various fields and in the home. Try using it for cleaning your house, as well as for your kitchen garden, and the benefits of microorganisms will spread to the surrounding environment, since our kitchens (and drain pipes) are ultimately connected to lakes, rivers and the ocean. If we can maximize the potential of EM in combination with the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle), we believe that it will help us farm sustainably, protect the natural environment and maintain people’s health.