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to anyone wanting to integrate probiotic microbial balancing technology into their existing system.
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Unbeknown to most of us is the fact that we live in a sea of microbes. There’s no getting away from it! Although we certainly try our hardest to do this, it doesn’t change the fact that we are totally dependent on them for our own survival. We have up to 2kg of them inside us, they are on our skin, in our nose and ears, on our hair, in fact we are covered in them and if it wasn’t for them then life as we know it wouldn’t exist. Whilst most of us have been waging war on them some of us have been using microbes for thousands of years in the production of beer, wine, bread, cheese, yoghurt, kimchi etc. Much of the confusion about the microbial world has come from incorrect scientific observations.Learn More about microbes
According to the World Health Organization, probiotics are “live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host.”
A fermented food product or live microbial food supplement which has beneficial effects on the host by improving intestinal microbial balance is generally understood to have probiotic effect (Fuller, 1989).Learn More about Probiotics
Biologists for much of the past two hundred years had tended to look at microbes only as single species at a time, and it was therefore mistakenly assumed by many in science that this was how they usually functioned in nature, as independent single species. It has been only quite recently that biologists have come to understand that this earlier assumption of “individualist” species and colonies was a gross misconception, and that most species of microbes are found in nature not alone, but rather as part of a cluster or aggregate of anything from nine to thirty five (sometimes fewer and sometimes more) synergistic species, which biologists have started to call by the name microbial consortium or consortia for plural forms.
What makes these microbial consortia unique is not so much the amount of different microbes but the synergy between the different microbe groups. The general scientific assumption was that aerobic microbes were the “goodies” and the anaerobic the “baddies”. This, however, is a misconception. The scientific world has also always accepted that these two groups could not possibly live side-by-side because their conditions for survival are completely opposite. Once again, another misconception as both groups naturally occurs in the soil AND both groups contain elements of both healthy and harmful micro-organisms.
Our obsession with trying to create a “sterile” environment has been disastrous. We have unfortunately been conditioned to believe that all microbes are ‘germs’ and should be killed and for the last 100 years or more have been waging war against them with a cocktail of deadly chemicals and antibiotics, unfortunately often at the expense of our environment and our own health. Generally, after we have sterilized a place, the first microorganisms to recolonize that surface are usually non-beneficial bacteria. With the realization of the importance of the ‘microbial environment’ probiotics now presents us with a unique way to balance and create healthy microbial environments without the need for chemicals.
In nature there are two dynamic, opposing forces - regeneration and degeneration. The first stimulates productivity and vitality, while the second leads to decay and rotting. Both forces are driven by the smallest life forms we know - microorganisms. Of the small percentage of microbes known to science it appears that there are small groups of both beneficial and harmful microbes that lead or influence the mostly opportunistic masses. Therefore, by supplementing beneficial microbes it is possible to positively influence any given ‘microbial environment’ towards a regenerative path. In every medium, air, soil, water, waste, the human gut and animal intestine etc., the ‘microbial environment’ is critical. A strong immune system depends on a thriving and diverse community of beneficial microbes.
To give an example, if pasteurized milk is left out, putrefactive (degenerative) microorganisms will occupy it, making the milk harmful to us. On the other hand, if good wholesome farm milk is left out, due to the fermentative (regenerative) microorganisms it will become yogurt or cheese. Depending on whether good or bad microorganisms become predominant, water, soil or living organisms change toward regeneration (vitality) or degeneration (decay). As with the milk mentioned above try a similar experiment with commercial bread ‘vs’ sourdough bread. Leave them in a paper bag at room temperature for a few days or weeks and see what happens. You could be surprised when you realize what you’re eating.
Remember, you are what you eat so let your food be your medicine. It all gets back to healthy nutrition which is only possible with healthy soils. Each gram of healthy top soil has in excess of four billion microorganisms that participate in manufacturing bio-chemicals essential to healthy plants, animals & humans. Plants, animals & humans all depend on soil-based microorganisms to help us to digest our food and because most of us no longer grow their own food in fertile backyard gardens nor make our own wholesome compost, we do not get an adequate supply of beneficial soil-based microorganisms to help replenish the naturally occurring probiotics in our guts. Even organic produce is often washed with mild disinfectants leaving it devoid of any microbial activity.
The state of modern agriculture is dismal. Because modern agriculture’s primary goal is market, food quality is sacrificed for food quantity, yield is more important than nutritional content. In their frantic effort for yield/profit the farmers have listened to the smooth-talk of agro-chemical companies who advocate the use of GMO’s, the application of excessive amount of nitrate fertilizers to the soil and a multitude of herbicides, fungicides and pesticides to deal with weeds, pests and disease. Such practices, together with mechanised farming, have destroyed the indigenous microbial life within the soil as well as depleted the humus content. When microbial life is inhibited or destroyed, vital humic and fulvic acids are exhausted. Most naturally fertile soils contain adequate amounts of humic and fulvic acids produced by resident microbes within the soil. Humic and fulvic acids assist the plant in obtaining its complete nutrition. Instead of being informed about composting, keyline farming, green mulching etc. the farmer is further deceived by bad advice from extension officers and agricultural colleges that still teach young farmers that plants are only fed by water soluble nitrate fertilizers.
When microbes are depleted from the soils, they are no longer present to convert inorganic minerals into organic minerals needed by plants. Excessive use of nitrate fertilizers inhibits the formation of normal plant proteins and stimulates an over-abundance of unused amino acids that creates the ideal environment for increased infestation because of increased insect food supply. The farmers’ reaction is more pesticides and fungicides to save his infested crop. This in turn inhibits or destroys even more vital microorganisms that are essential to mineral conversions to plant nutrients.
These nutrient deficient, pesticide laden crops are turned into "profit" which the farmer thinks is the bottom line. Lacking in vitality, organic trace elements and other nutritional factors but loaded with chemical residues from fertilizers, pesticides & herbicides, these nutritionally empty products end up on our tables, without taste and deficient in organic minerals and nutrients. We then peel and cook what little goodness remains and wonder why so many of us are sick. A recent study in Germany determined that nearly 96% of the population are contaminated with glyphosate, surprisingly even people that had been eating organically for many years. In SA the situation is not much better.
Natural Farming with IMO’s (indigenous micro-organisms) is a distinctive approach to organic farming that is practiced successfully in over 30 countries, in home gardens and on a commercial scale. For this we have to thank Dr. Han Kyu Cho who formulated and fine-tuned these practices for over 40 years and has trained over 18,000 people at the Janong Natural Farming Institute. Today, organic agriculture like conventional agriculture is still very much dependent on purchased inputs. The goal of Korean Natural Farming is to help farmers, especially small-scale farmers, take control of their farming, to be self-reliant and sustainable. All Natural Farming inputs are made by the farmers utilizing only natural materials and culturing not foreign or imported microbes, but local, indigenous microorganisms (IMO’s) that we can use in agriculture, probiotics like lactic acid bacteria, rhizobia and many other beneficial indigenous microorganisms. Used together with various locally available organic materials which provide important foods for these beneficial indigenous microorganisms allowing them to form the different extracts or what we call biological nutrients (bio-nutrients).
Their inputs have enough effect to produce better, healthier crops than those grown conventionally. The Korean Natural Farming philosophy strongly recommends that farmers produce their agro inputs themselves rather than purchasing them from the market. This method of cultivation is practiced in many Asian countries in small-scale family farms which apparently, using natural methods, have substantially higher yields and profits than are achieved with industrial agriculture and the Western methods of organic farming. Natural Farming cares for the crops and livestock according to the “Nutritive Cycle Theory.” It is a theory that enables farmers to provide inputs according to the changing growth stages of a plant or animal.
Natural Farming has been embraced by the South Korean government after one county experimented and every farmer in that county practiced it for a year. These rice farmers not only had bigger yields than usual, but saved money on their inputs and sold their rice for a premium. Where they practice Natural Farming it has had the added benefit of cleaning up the waterways, rivers and even coastal waters.
The founder of the Janong Natural Farming Institute, Dr. Han Kyu Cho, has documented his 50-year practical experience with Natural Farming for all of East Asia in a very influential handbook. In the preface of the book it states that farming should use the existing resources in nature, rather than to become completely dependent on chemicals and purchased inputs. Why can agriculture not exist in harmony with nature? Why can’t farming be happy and spiritually rewarding work? Why should farmers no longer be the masters of their farming methods? Farming is a living and intuitive art!
Whoever reads the manual of Han Kyu Cho, get a feel for how much knowledge we have lost in our western culture and how we can learn again to feed ourselves with healthy and nutritious food and to live in harmony with nature. It should be emphasized that it is not enough to deal only with a partial element, such as fermentation, composting, biochar production, soil-friendly farming methods or a healthy diet. One should rather have the synergy of all the different cycles in mind, from meal to meal. This concerns in particular obtaining a deeper understanding of the directly interconnected carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, and water cycles. There are an infinite number of ways to building a healthy and fulfilling life if you understand the basic principles of these cycles. Those who follow in this way, will gain more quality of life from year to year.
The soil food web is the community of organisms living all or part of their lives in the soil. It describes a complex living system in the soil and how it interacts with the environment, plants, and animals. The term “soil food web” was coined by Dr. Elaine R. Ingham and it refers to the relationships among the wide range of living organisms found in soil. The soil food web is similar to the food chain, except that the typical food chain is linear, while the soil food web works from the premise that everything that can eat or be eaten is involved in a cyclical relationship. The soil food web includes minute creatures which bring the soil to life. Soil life come in many forms. A wide range of beneficial and harmful organisms live in the soil. Some help to build healthy soil and support healthy plants while others can cause many problems. Both have a role to play in the growth and decay cycles of the natural world.
In the garden, we prefer to boost the growth of the beneficial soil life and suppress as many pathogens as we can. When we improve soils by feeding garden compost and other amendments, we create the ideal environment for the helpful soil life to thrive. When these beneficial creatures thrive, the soil food web functions smoothly, and our plants flourish. Worms are among the most beneficial of soil dwellers but can be easily harmed or killed by exposure to many common pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. Most gardeners cherish their earthworms, knowing that these hard workers are the soil builder’s best friends as their castings promote sturdy root growth and feed many soil dwellers. Worms also do the mixing for us when we add compost and other soil amendments onto garden soil by tunnelling through heavy soil which also allows air to get down to plant roots. A soil can never have too many worms, but soils quickly deteriorate when worms are in short supply.
Biochar is a fancy name for charcoal and granted that there are some very advanced pyrolytic kilns there are also a lot of simple methods of making biochar. Cultures around the world that knew of the benefits of biochar used what was available to them, mostly the remains of their cooking fires mixed with human waste and plant matter and as the Terra Preta confirms, created a highly humus rich soil without the use of high tech equipment. The modern day situation requires us to be aware of greenhouse gases and this is generally why we use some form of pyrolitic kiln. Biochar is essentially just carbon and is not a fertilizer. It does however provide an excellent storage medium for water, air, microbes and nutrients which can survive in it during times of drought and it also improves soil structure.
In Asia, there is an age-old culture of fermentation using probiotic indigenous micro-organisms and the use of biochar. Every family in South Korea has its own recipe for foods produced by lactic acid fermentation. Traditionally, Japanese farmers used to make a concentrated form of compost, applying it to their soil along with other organic manures and biochar. The purpose was to inoculate their soils with beneficial & effective microorganisms, to improve the quality of organic manure and to stop fungal and virus problems in the soil.
With the lactic acid fermentation of foods, as with the production of sourdough bread, wine or yoghurt, care is taken not only with the quality of the ingredients, but with the specific composition of the fermenting yeast and bacteria. The diversity of microbial composition is virtually endless. Residual liquids are produced containing large quantities of beneficial indigenous microorganisms (IMO’s), which have similar properties to a Japanese invention under the name of Effective Microorganisms (EM). Just like the cleverly marketed EM’s, beneficial indigenous microorganisms (IMO’s) also have diverse applications in everyday life, such as detergents, deodorizers, as a remedy for skin diseases, in animal nutrition, for plant strengthening and for the recycling of organic waste and for composting. Many EM users are now starting to culture their own indigenous microbes (IMO’s), which granted are essentially lacto bacillus (LAB), but as the evidence around the world shows, work just as well! Many farmers around the world however, still use the EM culture due to its convenience.
EM was developed in the 1980s by a Japanese professor of horticulture Dr. Teruo Higa, an agronomist, who modified an age-old Japanese fermentation technology. A colleague who was researching photosynthetic bacteria introduced him to them and by adding these to the culture he would eventually stumble across EM. EM is a liquid culture of beneficial “facultative anaerobic” microbes that are capable of living in air with oxygen, as well as in low oxygen conditions. They’re also called “fermenting microbes” and are used for making cheese, yogurt, bread, beer, wine, sauerkraut and kimchi. EM consists of lactic acid bacteria, yeast and photosynthetic bacteria, plus many other wild microbes. The photosynthetic bacteria, which are supposedly the core of EM, are a unique group of microbes that are known to digest even the toughest chemicals and pollution. EM is not harmful to humans, animals or the environment, in fact most things that come into contact with it show signs of improved health and well-being.
EM improves the breakdown of organic matter; control foul odours; improve soil, plant, animal & human health; remediate all types of pollution and have an extremely positive energy force. EM is not a fertilizer, rather, it is a soil conditioner, therefore using EM alone is not as effective as when it is used together with compost or organic matter/manure, it needs food to be really effective and produce healthy disease free soil. EM and IMO’s secrete beneficial substances such as vitamins, enzymes, organic acids, chelated minerals and antioxidants when in contact with organic matter, which are all valuable plant nutrients. As mentioned it is not a fertilizer or pesticide but rather acts more as an immune booster, creating a more healthy plant with a higher nutritional content and longer storage ability.
Some common applications for probiotics are:
NHES produce their own proprietary blends of probiotics. Our products can only be purchased through us. From the developer directly to the customer. This way there is no middleman and we are therefore cheaper than our competitors. We do however look to establish selected suppliers around the country which will help to bring down the postage/courier costs.
We ferment and grow a laboratory-bred consortium of beneficial soil microorganisms in a controlled environment with just the right food source. This consortium has the unique ability of enabling and enhancing bio-availability of essential minerals and nutrients. The end result of our specialized fermentation technique contains all of the beneficial enzymes which the microbes have extracted during the fermentation process, as well as bio-available minerals & trace minerals, nutrients, amino acids, antioxidants and an extremely high number of the living probiotic organisms. The EARTHCARE SOLUTIONS & FERM-A-LIFE products are used to solve a variety of different problems. Some situations take longer than others to remediate due to the multitude of variables encountered in any real-world situation and the handling methods employed but there is always a beneficial outcome for those that persevere. Sometimes, change will be effected after a single application, whereas other situations may require repeated applications before the desired effects are achieved.
Always store EARTHCARE SOLUTIONS & FERM-A-LIFE products in a cool, dark place. They should be stored airtight with as little airspace as possible above the surface of the liquid. Squeeze excess air from bottle or decant to a smaller bottle.
For its beneficial microbial inoculant properties, EARTHCARE SOLUTIONS & FERM-A-LIFE products will usually have an effective shelf life of at least 6 - 8 months from the date of bottling. After this point, the microbial inoculant properties will decrease somewhat, but the powerful antioxidant and deodorizing properties will usually remain powerful and effective for an additional 6 - 8 months or longer, if the liquid is properly stored. Once opened use within 1 month as the microbial activity declines.