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Re: Regulation of compost teas
I have been away a couple of weeks, traveling through
India examining biodynamic and organic agriculture,
so I am just now reading through this Sanet thread.
It so happens I also met Sanjay Aggarwal with Maple
Organics, who has plenty of experience working
with EM in agriculture and effluent waste streams.
It may be helpful to sunmmarize three microbial
pathways in relation to organic matter decomposition:
1. Aerobic thermophyllic
2. Putrefactive anaerobic
3. Fermentative anaerobic
Putrefactive anaerobic is the rotting manure that
sits in the open drawing flies.
If you take that same manure and mix it with biomass and
build a compost pile with proper C:N ratio, moisture,
and aeration, you get a thermophyllic heating process that
turns into a crumbly, dark, humus material known as compost.
If you spray the manure in the animal stall with EM it will
initiate a fermentative aneraobic microbial pathway and prevent
flies and odors. You can later take that EM-sprayed manure to
the thermophyllic compost pile, or you can build an EM heap
and promote a breakdown process that results in fermented
I do not consider humified compost and fermented biomass
to be the same thing, yet both are useful processes and products.
EM is fermentative anaerobic. So is miso, kim chee,
tempeh, and a number of Oriential foods, as well as
ensilage for your dairy cow.
E. coli is a putrefactive organism, it is not compatible with EM.
E. coli in organic agriculture, compost teas, and related
biological farming technologies including EM is an overblown
topic, it seems to me.
Elaine Ingham has already summarized the compost tea
situation pretty well.
It is an unfortunate turn of events that NOP went down
the path of E. coli hysteria at the same time the compost tea
industry is taking off like wild fire, providing a dynamic new
tool for organic agriculture.
A 120 day waiting period kicks compost tea out of
the life cycle of the crop. Yet it is the inoculation of
the leaf surface and the root surface with compost tea
which results in such a dynamic benefit to the crop,
especially at crucial stages of growth.
Compost teas provide soluble nutrients which promote
a noticeable greening of crops, they provide bioactive
compounds which function as biostimulants and effect
metabolic processes, and they provide beneficial
microorganicsm which coat the plant surfaces and
provide numerous biocontrol mechanisms.
Sanjay mentioned using EM to make compost tea. Elaine and others talked
about making sure the tea is aereated to prevent growth of E. coli. As
understand it, EM is made up of organisms that ferment in the absence of
oxygen (anaerobic). I'm curious what this means relative to the
of multiplying any E. coli that may contaminate the EM juice. Any