EM-1 is the original and authentic Effective Micro-organisms that was originally formulated by Professor Dr. Teruso Higa in 1980 after many trials and errors.

Effective Micro-organisms contain many different sorts of micro-organisms that have been collected from natural sources and grown using a specific technical method. The main strains of micro-organisms in EM are; lactic acid bacteria, photothrophic bacteria, yeasts, and actinomycetes. These micro-organisms have been used medicinally and in food processing for many years. This gives some indication as to how safe EM is and the benefits brought to the health and wellbeing of plants, soil, animals, and human beings.

EM-1 has many applications around the Garden, Vineyard, Farm and Environment. The concentrate can be expanded, by the user, to increase the product volume 20-fold.

Applications for EM-1

  • To increase the natural immunity of plants, animals, soil, man and water.– When converting vegetable, fruit and garden waste (GFT) into a valuable organic material.
  • In the house and (vegetable) garden.
  • For pets, in aquariums, swimming pools and fish farms.
  • In agriculture, horticulture and cattle breeding.
  • In companies for solving all kinds of environmental problems, such as water, air and soil pollution.
  • Against odour nuisance.
  • Septic Tank Maintenance, keeping content liquid and odour free.
  • In green and forest management of cities and municipalities.

Activating EM-1

EM-1 is the name given to the dormant concentrate of Effective Micro-organisms.

To apply these Effective Micro-organisms the EM-1 must first be activated. The activation of EM-1 is achieved by adding sugar cane molasses and water, which allows the EM to start multiplying.

This activated EM is known as Actiferm.

How to make your own EM-Activated (Actiferm)

Total:   10 Litres EM-A 100 Litres EM-A 10000 Litres EM-A
EM-1 5% 0.5 Litres 5 Litres 50 Litres
Sugar Cane Molasses 5% 0.5 Litres 5 Litres 50 Litres

This activated EM must be allowed to ‘brew’ for a minimum of 7 days in an airtight fermentation tank, which has a warming element. A fermentation process allows the activation of the micro-organisms whereby an optimal amount of beneficial bacteria is obtained. The EM-Activated needs to be then diluted with water (1: maximal 100), and can then be used for many different applications.

The EM-Activated diluted solution must be used within 48 hours. The EM-A before dilution can be kept for a month in an airtight vessel.

Instructions on how to ferment your own EM-Activated (Actiferm)

EM Fermentation tanks

The EM fermenters are ideal to activate the EM-1 with the sugar Cane Molasses and water to an activated EM which is then ready diluted before use. To ‘wake-up’ all the organisms in the dormant EM-1 solution the fermentation tanks are easy to use and ensure a complete activation process.

These activator tanks are available in the following sizes: 30, 60,120 and 220 Litres. The airlock on the top allows air to escape which is formed in the natural fermentation process but ensures that no air can enter the vessel.

The warming element which is supplied with the fermentation tank ensures an optimal constant temperature during the activation process.


Fill the outside ring with water. This allows CO2 (gas) to escape and prevents oxygen from entering. Tap When the EM-Activated is ready it can be easily tapped off via the tap near the base of the activator.

Warming element

The warming element ensures a constant temperature in the tank. A temperature of approx. 30° C is the most effective temperature to multiply the micro-organisms. In the winter months make sure the activator is in a draught-free place and preferably a warm room. If the activator is used in a cold shed wrap it with insulation fabric or place a warm jacket/coat around the activator.

EM-1 has a shelf-life of 12 months after production. (The production date is printed on the bottle)

  1. Mix the ingredients in the container.
  2. Check the initial pH with a pH meter or pH paper.
  3. Close with an airtight lid and attach the airlock.
  4. Between 3 and 5 days, remove the lid and check the pH of the liquid using a pH meter or pH paper. 
  5. If the pH is 3.6 or below, it is at its target pH.
  6. Allow the fermentation to complete for an additional 5-7 days.
  7.  The smell of the product, towards the end of the fermentation process, should smell similar to the original EM-1. It may smell of alcohol and there may be visible white flakes. This means it is ready for use. 

During the 3-5 day initial fermentation process the sugar is being digested by the microbes. As this happens they produce acids that cause the pH levels to drop. pH is the measurement of Acidity and Alkalinity. You can measure this using pH paper or an electronic pH meter*.

When the pH of the solution drops to 3.8 or below and has settled at this level for 5-7 days, your EM-Activated is ready for use. The target pH is 3.5.

You will have 90 days, at this point, to use this product.

*Electronic pH meters require maintenance and calibration, these can vary in readings between meters. If you choose this option please maintain and calibrate often, using the same meter every time.


Pressure builds up during the fermentation process as the microbes digest the sugars. To avoid rupturing the container, expel air “burp” it, and reseal one or more times per day. Blow-off tubes and airlocks, similar to those used in brewing wine or beer, can be used to assist this process.

Please note: Activated products are not for human consumption.

  • EM-1 Activated should be kept in an air-tight container to keep it anaerobic and used within 90 days after the pH drops below 3.8.
  • Store EM-1 Activated at room temperature, 68ºF to 86ºF (20ºC-30ºC) out of direct sunlight.
  • Refrigeration is not necessary.

Organic molasses tend to have some form of pH buffer in it which can sometimes prevent the fermentation process. Add, in equal measure, vinegar (apple cider, wine, etc.) to the molasses to help break the pH buffer.

Bigger is quicker
Larger batches ferment faster than their smaller counterparts. For larger batches, the pH level may only take 24 hours to drop.

Keep it airtight
 Air can cause the EM Activated to spoil. Be sure to leave as little airspace in the bottle, as possible, when fermenting.

Keep it relatively warm
EM-Activated likes warm conditions, try and keep the product in a relatively warm area while fermenting. However, there is no need to heat the product as this can prevent the pH from dropping.

If it smells foul it probably is
Should your EM Activated smell bad or the pH rises above 4.0, it is likely contaminated and should be discarded. The solution is okay to pour down a household drain or into a long-term compost pile.

Plan your quantities
Avoid producing more than you need. Make enough to use within one month or two to avoid wastage.


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