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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.

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