Bokashi Bran vs. Liquid EM or SCD mother cultures.
Updated: Jan 12
I have been asked a few times about using bokashi compost or bokashi bran direct versus just spraying liquid probiotic cultures like SCD Bio Ag or straight or activated EM. If just the CFU (colony forming units) numbers are your thing then the liquids will win every time as their numbers are much higher. But as in many cases of using these beneficial bacterial products to enhance a growing environment, more is not always better or even more effective.
When you spray liquid beneficial bacteria cultures into a soil environment then the following conditions must be met in order for the bacteria to survive let alone, thrive. As well as the temperature having to be acceptable (usually above 65 degrees F), the bacteria must land on a viable substrate that provides a food source. If the conditions are not right, some of the bacteria that are capable of forming spores or going dormant will do so and once conditions are right, many will activate so all is not lost. The benefits of foliar spraying the liquids are well documented but here we are just discussing soils.
The benefit of adding bokashi fermented food waste or bokashi bran directly to the soil is that the food source (grains of bran and or the food waste) is already there and you are thus adding beneficial bacteria "factories" to your soil. In addition, bokashi bran has been fermented with the beneficials and as a result, contains many organic acids, enzymes, and some minerals which are pre-biotic and highly bioavailable. The beneficial bacteria have already gone dormant and formed spores and they are ready to go again just as soon as they get a little moisture and the temperature get warm enough.
This post is undoubtedly not the last or most authoritative word on this subject and it is based more on my 10 years experience working with and studying these microbes than any heavy scientific experimentation. In any case, I hope it helps in your understanding of the differences between bokashi bran/composting and the great liquid forms of beneficial microbes.