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Effect of Effective Microorganisms (EM4*) on the Growth of Citrus Medica
*EM4 is now sold as EM•1® in most countries.

Wibisono A.1 Buwonowati T.2 and Wididana G.N;1.
1Indonesian Kyusei Nature Farming Society, Indonesia.
2Faculty of Agriculture, Universitas Nasional, Indonesia.


Abstract
Two experiments were conducted to determine the effect of EM4 application on the root growth of transplanted citrus medica var. lemon and the effect of EM4 in combination with rice straw application to the growth of citrus medica var. lemon.

These experiments were conducted in Cicurug Sukabumi, West Java province, during May to
November 1993. The type of soil found in the location was Latosol.

The experiment showed that the EM4 treatment gave significantly higher number of root, length of root, fresh weight and dry weight of root of the transplanted plant. The treatment of EM4 and rice straw, gave significantly higher plant, number of shoot and number of leaves.

Introduction
Citrus is one of the important fruit crops that have important role in Indonesian economic development, especially for the farmers (Soelaeman, 1991). Citrus medica is one of the citrus species that has high economic value and thus planted commercially. It is a good source of vitamins A and C which are important in family nutrition (Sarwono, 1986).

Recently the problems faced by the horticultural farmer is the lack of supply of good quality seedlings (Danumihardja, 1987). Djoehana (1986) proposed that fertilizer application to citrus crops is one of the alternatives in order to increase citrus production.

The application of organic matter to the soil is not only to increase the nutrient content for the plant but also to create the suitable condition for the plant growth by improving soil aeration, facilitating root penetration and improving water holding capacity and quantity of microorganisms occupied in the soil. Rice straw as a source of organic matter have important role to improve soil fertility (Anonimous, 1990).

Higa and Wididana (1991) proposed some theories in relation with the fermentation of soil organic matter by Effective Microorganisms® (EM4) which consisted of Lactobacillus sp., Streptomyces sp., yeast and lactic acid producing bacteria. These microorganisms have the ability to ferment soil organic matter to produce organic compounds, such as sugar, alcohol, amino acid, lactic acid and other organic compounds that can be absorbed directly by plant roots. Higa and Kinjo (1991) showed that the fermented organic matter by EM4 can increase the humus content of soil and also increase plant growth.

The objective of this experiment is to determine the effect of EM4 on the root growth of the marcotted Citrus medica, and the effect of the combined application of rice straw and EM4 on the growth of the Citrus medica seedlings.

Materials and Methods
Experiment 1: Effect of EM4 on the root growth marcotted of Citrus medica.
This experiment was conducted in Cicurug, Sukabumi, West Java in May to November 1993. The experiment consisted of 2 treatments replicated 20 times and laid out in complete randomized design. The treatments were as follows:
T1: Control ( Normal soil media without EM4)
T2: EM4 ( Normal soil media treated with EM4)

Tap water was used in the soil media before marcotting in the control treatment. In EM4 treatment, 0.5% of EM4 was applied in the soil media before marcotting. Root length, number, fresh weight and dry weight were determined after 40 days after marcotting.

Experiment 2: Effects of EM4 and rate of rice straws on the growth of Citrus medica var. lemon.
This experiment was conducted at a model farm in Cicurug, Sukabumi, West Java in June to November 1993. The marcotted Citrus medica var. lemon were planted in polybags containing 10 kg of soil. The kind of soil used was Latosol. The treatments consisted of two levels of EM4 Concentrations and six rates of rice straw application, replicated 10 times and arranged in a randomized complete block design. The treatments were as follows:

RS 0 = Rice Straw 0 t/ha (control)
RS 0.5 = Rice Straw 0.5 t/ha
RS 1.0 = Rice Straw 1.0 t/ha
RS 1.5 = Rice Straw 1.5 t/ha
RS 2.0 = Rice Straw 2.0 t/ha
RS 2.5 = Rice Straw 2.5 t/ha
EMRS 0 = Rice Straw 0 t/ha with EM4
EMRS 0.5 = Rice Straw 0.5 t/ha with EM4
EMRS 1.0 = Rice Straw 1.0 t/ha with EM4
EMRS 1.5 = Rice Straw 1.5 t/ha with EM4
EMRS 2.0 = Rice Straw 2.0 t/ha with EM4
EMRS 2.5 = Rice Straw 2.5 t/ha with EM4

Rice straw was incorporated to the soil before planting. EM4 treatment was applied by drenching 0.5% EM solution to the soil until field capacity every 28 days. The data were collected every 28 days for 6 months.

Results and Discussion
Experiment 1: The effect of EM4 on the growth of marcotted Citrus medica is shown in Table 1. Application of EM4 to the soil used for marcotting media significantly increased the root length, number, fresh weight and dry weight compared to those of control.

This result indicated that EM4 can enhance the root growth of marcotted Citrus medica. Higa and Wididana (1991) explained that EM4 inoculated to the soil can improve soil physical properties. EM4 also increases the auxin content in the soil released by the beneficial microorganisms such as Azotobacter sp., Streptomyces sp. Richard (1981) found that some microorganisms released plant growth substances that can enhance the growth of plant roots.

Table 1. Effect of EM4 application on the root growth of Citrus medica.
Growth of Roots




TreatmentLength of Roots (cm)
Number of Roots
Fresh Weight of Roots (g)
Dry Weight of Roots (g)
Control26.12b43.96b34.71b9.37b
M-EM34.27a72.01a47.52a17.55a
*Means followed by the same letter are not significantly at 5% LSD.
** Data were obtained on 40 days after transplanting.


The fermentation of organic matter in the soil by EM4 was expected to provide nutrients for the root of marcotted plant, which will affect the growth of roots in Experiment 2.

Data on plant height, number of shoot and number of leaves of Citrus medica, collected every 28 days until 140 days after planting are shown in Table 2. The application of rice straw alone significantly affect plant height, number of shoot and number of leaves compared to those without rice straw. The best growth was obtained from 2.5 t/ha of rice straw. The experiment also showed that the combination of EM4 and rice straw gave better growth.

Table 2. Effect of EM4 and Rice Straw application on the Growth Citrus medica.
TreatmentHeight of Plant (cm)
Number of Shoot
Number of Leaf
RS-044.28e7.9h27.5k
RS-0.545.45de9.4g30.8j
RS-1.046.49cd11.0f34.4i
RS-1.546.39cd10.6f37.3h
RS-2.047.13c11.0f 42.9f
RS-2.550.18b14.0e41.3g
EMRS-044.28e15.4d40.9g
EMRS-0.550.30b16.4c56.1e
EMRS-1.050.31b16.9b66.1d
EMRS-1.551.19b17.6a66.1d
EMRS-2.051.33b17.0b88.4b
EMRS-2.553.61a17.9a92.2a
*Means followed by the same letter are not significantly different at 5 % level by probability Tukey Test.
** Data were obtained on 140 days after planting.

The addition of organic matter to the soil can improve biological, chemical and physical properties of the soil (Parr and Hornick, 1990). The application of rice straw, without EM4 treatment, can improve physical properties of the soil, such that the growth of root improved and consequently affect plant height, number of shoot, and number of leaves.

The role of EM4 in the soil was explained by Higa (1991) who stated that EM4 can increase plant production. The EM4 can change the biological properties of soil, from disease conducive soil into zymogenic and synthetic one. The zymogenic and synthetic soils can be created through the inoculation of zymogenic microorganisms (yeast, Lactobacillus sp. and lactic acid fermenting microorganisms) and synthetic microorganisms (photosynthetic bacteria and nitrogen fixing bacteria) to the soils. Higa and Wididana (1991) proposed that EM4 can ferment soil organic matter which consequently releases sugar, alcohol, amino acid and other organic compounds that can be absorbed by plant roots. It can also increase the photosynthetic and fermentative microorganisms in the soil which synergistically enhance the growth of plants.

References
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