Activated EM-1

EM 1 is a product on the market that is a special blend of efficient/effective micronutrients.  It was created by Professor Dr. Teruo Higa who also coined the words “effective micro organism” and trademarked “EM”.

EM 1 contains many co-existing micro organisms versus the “LAB” we create in Korean Natural Farming which only contain the lactobacillus culture.  The major groups of micro organisms in EM 1 is lactobacillus, yeast, and phototrophic bacteria.

EM-1 can be used for a multitude of applications including compost piles, odor reduction, water treatments and ponds, foliar sprays, garden bed treatments, and livestock operations.

EM-1 can be pricy from the stores or distributers.   There is a procedure to “extend” the amount of EM-1 to increase the volume.  This procedure is called “Activated EM”.  That does not mean the EM is not activated from it’s original bottle, I believe the term “Activated” was eventually preferred over “Extended”.

By Activating/Extending the EM-1 you can increase the volume by 20 times which brings the cost down to a fraction of the original price.  When creating Activated EM-1 you need to allow time for the fermentation and gather supplies for the procedure.

Supplies Needed:



-Bucket/Buckets with lids

-Air locks (optional)

-non chlorinated water

-Cheese cloth and string


-Measure out the quantity of EM-1 that you desire to extend:


-Add equal part molasses. 1:1 ( EM-1: Molasses)

-Gently stir (wood/bamboo stick- not metal)  in 20 parts non-chlorinated water.  1:20 (EM-1+Molasses: water)

-Let sit with cheese cloth fastened on top of bucket (without lid) for the first 24 hours to encourage some aerobic absorption.

-After 24 hours, secure on lids and airlocks to buckets for an aerobic fermentation process:


-store buckets in a dry, shaded space.  Warmer temperatures is preferred for the fermentation process.

-Activated EM-1 is ready to use after 4 weeks of fermentation.


I have discovered that the information originally presented by EM 1 distributors about “Activating” EM has changed.  The current information is listing that after adding the Molasses, the activated EM can be used in 4-7 days.  

Further research has gathered that after adding the molasses and water for the “Activation”, the EM can be used immediately or within 4-7 days for the most active microbes.  Additionally, the “Activated EM” should be completely used within one month.


-Foliar spray: 1:500 – 1:1000

-Compost piles: 1:50- 1:100

-A few ounces can be used in grey water systems, down drains, and in septic tanks for odor control.

1 thought on “Activated EM-1”

  1. Hello Moti! I see we share a multitude of interests. I helped bring EM to USA and HI. Activated EM, also known as Extended EM, is a secondary fermentation of EM-1. To make activated EM, various ratios of the three main ingredients are used (EM, Molasses and Water). 1:1:20 is the most common ratio, but 1:1:1:10 is also used when you want an activated EM you can store longer; higher ratios such as 1:1:50 or 1:1:100 are used when the activated EM will be used immediately. The process is anaerobic fermentation, so sealing the container immediately to start the fermentation is necessary. In warm weather, activation completes in 7-10 days; cooler weather will take 3 to 4 weeks. pH is the best indicator of finished product, which is pH 3.5 or below. pH can get as low as 2.7. The lower the pH, the longer the storage life, and the better the quality. Batch failure will usually be traced to dirty or contaminated containers or low quality water. There are many uses of the activated EM, including direct application to soil, compost and plants, with specific rates for each. EM-A can also be used to create additional secondary fermented products, such as EM Bokashi (fermented compost) and EM Fermented Plant Extract (EM-FPE). Good luck! from John Phillips, Tree of Life, Patagonia, AZ.

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