What is EM-1?

Effective Microorganisms® - An Earth Saving Revolution

EM® is an acronym for Effective Microorganisms®. EM® is a brand name referring to a family of microbial-based products using a technology developed by Japanese scientist Dr. Teruo Higa.

The main product, EM-1®, is a liquid bacterial product comprising three groups of microbes: Yeast, Photosynthetic Bacteria, and Lactic Acid Bacteria. EM-1® works together with local and native beneficial microbes, creating a synergy among microorganisms and larger forms of life including insects and worms, pets and livestock, and people.

All products using EM Technology®contain EM·1® in some part of their manufacturing process: EM-1®, PRO EM-1®, Dr. Don's®, EM®Ceramics, Bokashi and Bokashi Food Recycling with Bokashi, EM-X Gold®, etc. The product name has included several variations over the years including “EM®”, “EM-1®”, and “Kyusei EM™”, and it has been referred to as “EM1” or “EM4” in some research papers. The core product is now called EM-1®.

All the formulations and intellectual property are owned and managed by EM Research Organization in Okinawa, Japan (EMRO). There are EMRO offices around the world that use variations of the name, including EMRO USA, EMRO Europe, EMRO Costa Rica, EMRO South Africa, EMRO Kenya, and so on.

Under the guidance of EM Research Organization (EMRO), the use of EM-1® Microbial Inoculant has quickly spread to over 120 countries since its introduction in 1982.

The main products under the Effective Microorganisms® brand include:

  • EM-1® Microbial Products (Microbial Inoculant and Waste Treatment Concentrates)
    - EM® Ceramics 
  • EM® Ceramics 
  • Pro EM·1® Probiotic (manufactured only in the USA) 
  • EM-X® Gold Health Drink 
  • There are several other licensed products that are allowed to use the EM Logo that are authentic EM® products. 


EM Technology® was "discovered" and developed by Professor Dr. Teruo Higa while he was a professor of horticulture at the College of Agriculture, University of the Ryukyus in Okinawa, Japan. He became ill from his exposure to chemicals before he turned 30. Prior to that, Dr. Higa was a proponent of conventional agriculture and worked on the development of synthetic agricultural products. Having grown up around farming, he knew that farmers were left at the mercy of the chemical companies that supplied them with increasingly expensive inputs. He decided to find a natural method through the use of beneficial microorganisms that would help relieve the farmers of their chemical dependencies.

In the mid-late 1960’s, microorganisms were being studied around the world for various applications. Most of that research was on single strains of microbes using single inoculations. Dr. Higa decided to study combined cultures first to find which ones would co-exist. He used only non-pathogenic, facultative (work with and without air) microbes for his experiments.

A mixture he had thrown on a patch of grass before leaving for a school vacation was eventually to become what we know as EM-1®. Upon returning from vacation he noticed the area where he had thrown the “waste” product had grown considerably. He reviewed his notes and re-mixed his concoction. Through years of experimentation he discovered the optimal combination of microbes and named the combination “EM®”, an acronym for “Effective Microorganisms®”.

Dr. Higa started his development of EM·1® in 1968. His work pioneered the use of multiple strains of microbes in a cocktail combined with multiple applications. The first batch on the market under the trade name “EM®” was sold in Japan in 1982.

In 1992, EM Technologies, Inc. (EM Tech) began manufacturing to EM-1® in Tucson, Arizona for the North American market. It was marketed by EM Tech as "Kyusei EM™" for about a decade. In 2002 EMRO USA took over production and sales for North America, selling it as "EM-1®". EMRO USA continues to be the North American manufacturer of EM-1®.

The EM Philosophy or EM Principles

A unique part of the development of EM-1® is the development of the EM® Principles. Dr. Higa noticed that the microbes in EM-1®, which were not believed to live together in the wild, were able to survive in the culture. From his observation, he concluded that humans needed to learn from these microbes. All of those who are involved with this technology are expected to follow these principles because, without them all the pieces would fall apart. The principles are: Low cost, high quality, safety, convenience, co-existence, co-prosperity, exchange of information, and sustainability. Some years back, Dr. Higa coined the term "syntropy" to describe this phenomenon. All the tenets of the EM® Principles are intertwined. An example to follow the EM® Principles is presented by EM-1® itself. All the microorganisms in EM-1® co-exist, co-prosper, exchange information, are sustainable, are safe, are efficient, are effective, and service each other. EM-1 ® exhibits all the EM® Principles.

We invite you to read Dr. Higa's books that are available in English (and several other languages) to develop your own understanding of this incredible technology that Dr. Higa calls "A gift to humanity."

Developments continue as experiments and research with Effective Microorganisms® are conducted by EM Research Organization, APNAN, and several other entities that are licensed by EM Research Organization to sell Effective Microorganisms® products around the world.

Where is EM-1® Made?

Today Effective Microorganisms® products are sold in over 120 countries and produced in over 60 facilities. The manufacturing plant in Tucson, Arizona produces EM-1® Microbial Inoculant and PRO EM-1® Probiotic for the United States and Canada. EM-1® Microbial Inoculant is all-natural, non genetically modified (Non GMO), and approved for certified organic production under the new USDA program (OMRI Listed). The use of EM Technology® has broadened in the last two decades from agriculture to water treatment, odor control, animal husbandry, human health, and numerous other industrial treatments.

Where Can I Get EM® Products?

TeraGanix, Inc is the exclusive North American distributor for EM Technology® products, under license from EMRO USA Effective Microorganisms in Tucson, Arizona.
EM Hawaii is the exclusive distributor of Dr. Higa's Effective Microorganisms® products in the state of Hawaii. Visit EM Hawaii at: EM Hawaii.com

To purchase our products, please visit our online store by selecting the "Shop Our Products" link on toward the top of this page or in any of the various sections throughout the website.
If you are outside of the United States, please find your local distributor on EMRO Japan's English website: EMROJapan.com.

Canadian Customers

EM-1® Microbial Inoculant is NOT currently available in Canada due to Environment Canada regulations. However, TeraGanix does sell PRO EM-1® Probiotic, Dr. Don's® Products, EM-1® Bokashi, books, EM-X Gold®, and EM® Ceramics to Canadian customers. Please call to place orders as international orders cannot be processed on our e-commerce site.

Original. Authentic. Certified. 

TeraGanix, Inc. offers only the original, authentic, and certified brand, Effective Microorganisms®, (EM-1®), produced under the direct supervision of Dr. Teruo Higa, by EM Research Organization's (EMRO) highly trained scientists in Tucson, Arizona at EMRO USA Effective Microorganisms. EMRO USA is the ONLY facility in North America currently producing Dr. Higa's products. This facility has been food grade since 2003 and is one of over 60 such Effective Microorganisms® production centers in the world. EMRO USA is also the only facility producing the food grade Pro EM-1® Probiotic in the world.
TeraGanix, Inc. is licensed by EMRO USA Effective Microorganisms to use the EM® Logo, exclusively distribute their entire product line, as well as manufacture products utilizing EM Technology®. We sell all food-grade products made with proprietary techniques that ensure the highest, most consistent product quality on the market.

Several companies around the world have taken Dr. Higa's technology and tried to copy it and make similar claims of effects. Some of these companies use research conducted with Effective Microorganisms® to market their own products and even tell their customers their product is "Effective Microorganisms". The only way to be sure that you have the Original, Authentic, Certified and licensed products is to look for the EM® Logo. That way you know you are getting an Original, Authentic, and Certified Effective Microorganisms® product.

EM®, Pro EM-1®, EM-X®, EM-X® Gold, EM Technology® and EM-1® are registered trademarks of EM Research Organization (EMRO), Okinawa, Japan.

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