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Overview of a variety of trials on agricultural applications of effective microorganisms (EM)

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Abstract

Effective Microorganisms (EM) is a commercially available liquid containing a variety of lactic acid bacteria, yeasts and phototrophic bacteria. These organisms create conditions which favour mutual support and enable them to outcompete harmful pathogens, while producing useful substances such as vitamins, enzymes, hormones, amino acids and anti-oxidants that create a reducing environment. Various EM agricultural application trials were run, mostly in partnership with farmers. The diverse applications included the following: improving soil conditions for better plant growth, treating waste water, controlling pests and diseases, improving animal growth, enhancing compost production and extending the shelf life of harvested crops. Generally EM appears to give the best results in situations where the natural balance of microorganisms has been severely disrupted or where agricultural inputs are in short supply. In situations where natural microorganism populations are reasonably intact, or where a balanced supply of inputs is available, the addition of EM does not seem to make a significant difference.

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... The latter option is commonly preferred, as composting minimizes some chemical and, above all, biological risks associated to the use of organic amendments (e.g., presence of pathogens) (Evanylo et al., 2008). The term "bokashi" refers to the Japanese way of composting in which OM is fermented using microbial inocula (Zimmermann and Kamukuenjandje, 2008). ...
Article
Livestock manure-derived amendments can be beneficial for agricultural soil quality, as they can increase the content of soil organic matter and nutrients, stimulate microbial activity and biomass, and enhance crop yield. Here, we studied the impact of six different manure-derived amendments, according to the origin (horse manure-derived vs. chicken manure-derived) and type of amendment (fresh vs. composted vs. bokashi), on agricultural soil quality. To this purpose, an experiment was conducted with lettuce plants, paying special attention to amendment-induced changes in soil microbial properties and the abundance and risk of dissemination of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) through horizontal gene transfer (HGT). Soils amended with fresh manure showed higher values of microbial biomass and activity. In particular, fresh chicken manure yielded the highest crop yield of lettuce, but also increased the abundance of ARGs considerably. Genes encoding mobile genetic elements (tnpA, intI1) were positively correlated with ARGs, suggesting a risk of dissemination of antibiotic resistance via HGT in agricultural soils, as a result of the application of livestock manure-derived amendments. In order to minimize this risk, we therefore suggest that manure-derived amendments be properly treated and managed prior to their application to agricultural soil.
... For instance, Flint et al. (1995) noted that garlic extracts reduced population density of whitefly adults in cotton. Garlic fermented plant extract reduced thrips in onion (Helondo, 2004;Zimmermann and Kamukuenjandje, 2008). ...
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Community-based small-scale reforestation practices have been proposed as an alternative to low-efficiency massive reforestations conducted by external agents. These latter conventional reforestations are often carried out in soils that have been seriously degraded and this has indirectly contributed to the introduction of non-native species and/or acceptance of very low seedling survival rates. Bokashi is a fermented soil organic amendment that can be made from almost any available agricultural byproduct, and its beneficial effects in agriculture have been reported in various contexts. Here, we report the results of a community-based small-scale experimental reforestation where the provenance of pine seedlings (local and commercial) and the use of Bokashi as a soil amendment were evaluated. Bokashi was prepared locally by members of a small rural community in central Mexico. Almost two years after the establishment of the trial, survival rates for the unamended and amended local trees were 97-100% while survival of the commercial trees from unamended and amended treatments were 87-93%. Consistently through time, local and commercial seedlings planted in Bokashi-amended soils were significantly taller (x¯ = 152 cm) than those planted in unamended soils (x¯ = 86 cm). An unplanned infection by Cronartium quercuum in the first year of the experiment was considered as a covariable. Infected seedlings showed malformations but this did not affect survival and growth rates. Bokashi amendment seems as an inexpensive, locally viable technology to increase seedling survival and growth and to help recover deforested areas where soils have been degraded. This allows local stakeholders to see more rapid results while helping them to maintain their interest in conservation activities. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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The aim of this study was to determine the combined effect of Effective Microorganisms (EM) and seaweed concentrate (SWC) Kelpak® on growth and yield of cabbage under shade house and micro-plot, which is currently not documented. Treatments comprised control, Kelpak®, EM and EM+Kelpak® arranged in RCBD with 10 replicates. Number of leaves and seedling height were taken biweekly from 2 nd week after transplanting until the 6 th week. Four-month after transplanting, chlorophyll content, weight of entire plant, fresh leaf, fresh head, fresh root, dry leaf, dry head and dry root, polar and equatorial diameter of head, head shape and stem diameter were also measured. Combination of EM and Kelpak® significantly (P ≤ 0.05) increased number of leaves and improved seedling height at week 6 with the exception of week 2 and 4 under both sites. Results further showed that under both sites, EM+Kelpak® improved chlorophyll content, and increased weight of entire plant, fresh leaf, fresh head, and stem diameter. Under shade house, EM+Kelpak® improved head polar diameter. However, under both sites, treatments were not significant on the weight of fresh root, dry root, dry leaf, dry head and equatorial head diameter. In conclusion, combination of EM and Kelpak® improved cabbage growth and yield under both sites.
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Two products known as "Effective Micro-organisms" (EM and EM5) were evaluated for use in the biological control of the house flies Musca domestica L. and Fannia canicularis (L.) that breed in the manure produced in poultry production units. In the first experiment the compounds were mixed with the rearing medium for M. domestica and young lervae were placed in it. From the percentage adult flies that emerged from treated and untreated media it was clear that the products had no effect on the development of the flies. In the second experiment larvae of both fly species were added to manure in plastic boxes that were placed in the row of manure that accumulated under the birds and treated with different concentrations of EM and EM5, with and without molasses. It was found that the treatments did not kill the flies, but that the levels of natural parasitism of larvae and pupae were remarkably higher in all the treatments than in the control, in some cases more that 70 % compared to less than 10%. The explanation for this phenomenon is not clear, but it appears that the parasitoids in the poultry production units were attracted to the boxes treated with EM and EM5, and to a lesser extent to those treated with molasses. It is speculated that the application of EM or EM5 to the manure will boost the level of parasitism when used in conjunction with mass released parasitoids for fly control. Introduction When poultry is kept under confined conditions for egg or meat production, manure accumulates and forms a suitable substrate for the breeding of flies. The most common species are the house fly, Musca dometica L. and the lesser house fly Fannia canicularis (L.). These flies not only irritate the birds, but also people on the premises and in surrounding settlements. Furthermore, they are potential vectors of a number of serious diseases (Kettle, 1990). House flies are difficult to control with contact insecticides inside production units as the chemicals may contaminate the food of the birds or affect them directly while being detrimental to the natural enemies of the flies. Presently many South African producers add the insect growth regulator cyromazine (Larvadex®) to the food of the birds. It effectively kills the larvae of the house fly, ordinary Musca domestica (L) but is less effective in regular doses against the lesser house fly, Fannia canicularis (L). However, this approach has its limitations as house flies have in the past become resistant to a wide range of insecticides (Metcalf, 1980; Axtell, 1986) and there is evidence that the continuous use of cyromazine has lead to resistance developing against it (Rutz & Pitts, undated). There is also the possibility that consumers may refrain from buying eggs and meat of birds that were fed with an insecticide if they were aware of the fact.
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While resistance against many other classes of acaricides has been described, products containing benzoylphenyl urea are currently still successfully used against the pesticide-resistant blue tick (Boophilus decoloratus) in South Africa. In order to assess any adverse impact of these tickicides on the important dung beetle (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) fauna, a bioassay was undertaken on the ecotoxicological effects of a fluazuron (benzoylphenyl urea) pour-on formulation (Acatak) on the survival and reproduction of the African dung beetles species Onthophagus gazella (Fabricius). The experiment yielded no significant differences in adult or larval survival, egg production, fecundity and fertility between the control and treatment group following three beetle generations over. These results suggested that treatment of cattle with the fluazuron pour-on formulation Acatak was not detrimental to the selected dung beetle species in any notable way.
Article
A long-term and large-scale field study was carried out to assess the ecotoxicological effect on the dung beetle fauna of cattle treatment with ivermectin (broad-spectrum endectocide) and fluazuron (acaricide) under normal extensive farming conditions in South Africa. One herd of 25 heifers was treated four times at an 8-week interval (starting late November 2001) with a standard injection of ivermectin (200 μg/kg) and a standard pour-on dosage of fluazuron (3 mg/kg) and another herd was left untreated as a control. This set-up was replicated on a second, separate farm and the four herds were kept in four separate paddocks of about 80 ha each. Dung beetle communities were monitored over an entire farming season, from early November 2001 until August 2002. This study was carried out in a very moist year with above average rainfall. The impact of the treatment on the dung beetle communities was examined using a variety of community measures as well as a wide range of univariate, graphical and multivariate analyses. There was no observable effect of the administered drugs on the dung beetle communities. Species richness and diversity seemed unaffected in the treated communities and the ecological similarity of the treated and control communities remained high through most of the trial. These results support the notion that the ecotoxicological impact of antiparasitic drugs depends on factors such as climatic conditions, spatial scale of treatment and proportion of animals treated.
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