Bokashi composting and sanitation? (and effective microorganisms, EM)

  • Kevinkuhn
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Bokashi composting and sanitation? (and effective microorganisms, EM)

Hello,

I did a search about Bokashi in this forum, but could´t find any elaborate information on the topic.

Actually the question that I have is, if there has been any trials/ case studies regarding making Bokashi out of fecal matter? The system of Bokashi seems to me like less complex system than Terra Preta, but with similar results. It pasteurizes the material and can generate a fertile matter.

I wonder why I can´t find any information online about it and I am very thankful for any papers or links.

Best regards
Kevin

Non-Water Sanitation e.V.
www.nonwatersanitation.de

EcoToiletten - Rental for composting toilets for festivals and construction sites in Berlin, Germany
www.ecotoiletten.de
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  • joeturner
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Re: Bokashi and Sanitation?

Hi - well, I suppose it depends exactly what you are describing as Bokashi, but most professional microbiologists treat Bokashi as if it was homeopathy.

There are very few academic studies which give it (Bokashi) any credibility at all.
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  • muench
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Re: Bokashi and Sanitation?

Dear Kevin,

I would also like to understand better what you have in mind when you say "Bokashi and sanitation"? And there is hardly any term that hasn't yet been mentioned on this forum...! Which search function did you use? I put the search term in the field above (and in the advanced search) and found 4 posts which had mentioned bokashi, mostly in connection with the Terra Preta discussions.

There is also this thread here where Guillaume from Burundi/Rwanda spoke about it in one sentence:
forum.susana.org/forum/categories/17-fer...rit-and-demerit#8216

For revitalization of biological processes in the soil, improvement of soil structure, achieving a balanced nutritional status in the soil, and fostering disease suppressiveness, we experimented with different ways of making compost / managing biowastes (i.e., aerobic vs. anaerobic/bokashi; fermentation of food waste with EM followed by aerobic composting then vermicomposting; incorporation of rock dust and/or biochar and/or gypsum).


Perhaps you could clarify your question and then send him a note via the internal messenging system to "ping" him in case has further insights on this topic?

Hope this helps a little bit.

Regards,
Elisabeth

P.S. Thank you, by the way, for telling us about your company with compost toilets at festivals in Germany, very interesting (see his post from 22 Nov. 2014: forum.susana.org/forum/categories/170-pu...it=12&start=12#11094 )! Good luck with it!

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  • Kevinkuhn
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Re: Bokashi and Sanitation?

Thank you very much, Elisabeth :)

Well, what I had in mind is that so far there has only been tests with Bokashi using food waste. Even the post that you´ve mentioned by Guillaume, claimed that they only experimented with ways to manage bio wastes. This supports my perception, that Fermentation has´t been done with human waste.

Maybe I ask my question a bit more broader but clearer.

Does anyone know about a different fermentation method for treating fecal matter, than Terra Preta? Because I really like the idea of putting 'waste' into a drum and get a valuable soil out if, after a while. For my understanding Terra Preta Sanitation is still a quite complex system and especially the supply of charcoal is a trouble for a larger scale. When I heard about Bokashi I thought that, this system might be much easier, by getting comparable results.

@Joe, do you have any literature, that is saying that Bokashi is not-effective?

Thanks

Kevin

Non-Water Sanitation e.V.
www.nonwatersanitation.de

EcoToiletten - Rental for composting toilets for festivals and construction sites in Berlin, Germany
www.ecotoiletten.de
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  • kevintayler
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Re: Bokashi and Sanitation?

Dear All

Bokashi is related to 'Effective Micro-organisms' or EM, which were 'discovered' by a Japanese professor perhaps 25 years ago. I think that the bokashi that is used as a fertilizer is made by adding EM to ordinary compost. EM consists of a cocktail of microorganisms and lactic acid. You will find many claims for EM on the internet - it is claimed that it can do many things. I came across it when visiting the Orangi Pilot Project in Karachi about 3 years ago when part of a team doing a review of the WaterAid Pakistan programme. The late Parveen Rehman said that they put EM in their septic tank and it produced an odourless and substantially free of pathogens. Others claim that it reduces the rate of build-up of sludge I was sceptical as I thought that something that could do these things would be truly revolutionary and would change the way in which we looked at wastewater treatment. I spent some time looking up references to it on the internet and could find very little independent research on it - moot of the claims come from people who 'believe' in EM and who do not appear to have much scientific evidence to back up their claims. I did find one paper, from Canada I think, that said that it had been found to reduce the volume of sludge in farm waste stored over a long period - based on field measurements. Also, one from Australia on sludge build-up in septic tanks, which generally came to the conclusion that there was little provable improvement but did seem to leave the door open for some possible effect. I attach a note that I wrote at the time, giving a summary of what I could find out about it. If anyone has anything more, it would be good if they could post their information

Hope this is helpful

Kevin Tayler
Independent water and sanitation consultant
Horsham
UK

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  • muench
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Re: Bokashi and Sanitation?

Thanks for this, Kevin.
If Bokashi is the same thing as EM (Effective Micro-organisms), then people who have an interest in that should also read this thread on the forum from 2012-2013 with the title:
Additives for pits, septic tanks, lagoons (faecal sludge). (includes EM)

forum.susana.org/forum/categories/53-fae...l-sludge-includes-em

Regards,
Elisabeth

+++++

See also further discussion in this discussion thread (Wikipedia page about this topic):
forum.susana.org/forum/categories/53-fae...ve-microorganisms-em

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