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Friday, May 28, 2010

What is Bokashi?

Translated from the Japanese language, the term bokashi means "fermented organic matter". The process of Bokashi composting reflects its definition in the sense that it uses anaerobic fermentation to break down organic matter. The fermentation process occurs through the use of effective microorganism (EM) which were discovered by Dr. Teruo Higa of Okinawa, Japan in the 1970s. Now a days EM can be bought at local gardening stores. The EM sold in stores consist of a blend of over 80 microorganisms that aid in the decomposition process of organic matter. Of these microorganisms, lactobacillus, yeast, and phototrophic bacteria play the largest roles in the fermentation process.

Lactobacillus is present in many consumer food products, a few examples are yogurt, cheese, beer, wine, along with other fermented products. Lactobacillus is the primary fermenting microorganism in the bokashi process. Lactobacillus is a strong sterilizing compound that suppresses harmful microorganisms while also enhancing the decomposition of organic matter.

Yeast is the alcoholic fermenter, and its job is to synthesize useful substances.

Phototrophic bacteria such as Purple non-sulfur bacteria (Rhodospirillaceae) grows onto the yeast and accelerates decomposition.

Why Compost?

On average, Americans produce 4 pounds of waste per day. If you multiply that amount by our population of 307,006,550 you end up with 1,228,026,200 pounds of waste per day. The vast majority of this waste will end up in a landfills. According to the EPA 26% of this waste could be composted. Along with recycling, waste could be brought down to a fraction of its current amount. Less waste into landfills results in less environmental damage. Also all the free space that could be freed up by composting practices could postpone the predicted full capacity dates that are approaching for many facilities. Honestly would you prefer a foul polluted landfill in your backyard, or a beautiful aromatic flower garden? The choice is an easy one.

Besides the obvious advantage of reducing waste, compost is important for its abundance of nutrients. Compost helps neutralize alkaline and acidic soils to the correct PH amount, this results in a larger amount nutrients that can be synthesized by the plant. Compost also helps by replacing the chemical fertilizers that cause a great deal of environmental damage through their production process, and their application.

Goal of Bokashi Blog

Hey there, my name is Stephen. I'm currently a UC student and this is my final project for a composting class. The first stage of this blog should be complete by June third. By then there will be a step by step guide on how to make your own bokashi, with pictures included. So until then this blog will be work in progress.