Bokashi - the lignin question

Status
Not open for further replies.

maryjohn

Active member
Some of the EM selling companies out there tout EM bokashi as a way to help break down lignin before composting.

Anybody know anything about that? I'm kind of counting on it to bring me to total indoor processing of my kitchen waste.
 

ganja din

Member
Hey bro

I though MM and myself already gave our opinions? I know at least I don't believe any EM microbes are primary lignin degraders. Fungi like white rot fungi, and brown rot fungi to a lesser degree are primary lignin degraders. Some bacteria also degrade lignin but I cant remember which genus/species off hand, and besides, bacteria isn't nearly as efficient as fungi when degrading lignin.

You can use google to find out for sure. Google lactic acid bacteria + lignin. Do the same for all microbes you are interested in. I would use google 'scholar' if I were you, it searches journal articles and other scholarly sources.

Regardless, even if EM microbes were all primary lignin degraders they most probably would not process the lignin within peat by the time the vermiculture worms processed their food stuffs. Lignin is thought to be a physical barrier to the cellulose and hemicellulose. In compost, once fungi break down lignin it allows other microbes to use the 'freed' cellulose and hemicellolose as carbon sources.

I assume even if EM microbes could degrade lignin to a large degree they would do so most efficiently in an anaerobic environ.

I bet there might be some EM mode of action (eg. enzymes) which can degrade lignin, at least in part. However, I doubt greatly the degradation is 'anything to write home about'.

In compost its mostly fungi during the thermophilic and maturation stages which degrade lignin. Most scientists believe lignin is degraded mainly into humus in a compost pile.

All in all, I would not place 'ligninolistic' material in your worm bins...

HTH
 

ganja din

Member
Hey,

I would not believe all, or even half, of what you read on many EM sites. And even if the microbes did degrade lignin the final product would not be 'total processing' of OM. All EM does is ferment and degrade OM a bit, it does not fully decompose food stuffs. (As your aware) After the food stuffs are fermented they still need to be further processed by composting, feeding to BSFL or vermiculture worms, spreading on top of soil or by burying in the soil (the last option is the least 'good' option)

If you want to break down ligninolistic material prior to composting you should employ "white rot fungi". I use them to pre-treat wheat straw, thus increasing the bioavailable carbon. I have written a spreadsheet to do calculate and automate all things compost related, along with calculate the bioavailable carbon of any feed stock (via amount of lignin comprising the cell walls). The bio-C score makes the feedstock have a lower carbon score which is a better reflection of the true microbial availability of the feedstock's carbon.

If you want to learn more let me know and I could provide more info, and how to increase the odds indigenous WRF will colonize your ligninolistic compost feedstock.

HTH
 

maryjohn

Active member
hey ganja, thanks for the reply. I was aware of your answer but was seeking more. Specifically, I want to know the reasoning behind the claim.

I am indeed using an anaerobic fermentation prior to adding to my worm bin. Have been experimenting and so far the worm go gaga for even copious amounts. I divided one bin in half, and tightly packed some bokashi to make a mini bokashi pile. The worms are all over it. So much for only adding a bit at a time.

Total indoor processing of my hair and food means going from bokashi to worms (you gotta start giving people a bit more credit;). But for it to be truly feasible it has to be fast enough - much that was discarded before comes out of the bokashi bucket ready to feed, so I have more volume to process. That won't work if I can't speed things up (can't expand).

If anyone else knows why multiple EM sites make the claim, please chime in.
 

ganja din

Member
Hey,

I think EM companies write that, and other half-truths to sell EM, simple as that. And also I find the knowledge level of some EM producers/sellers isn't where I think it should be. I would also google search Vinny Pintos site for the word "lignin", and see what Vinny has to say. If your not aware this is how, enter this into google search string bar:
Code:
site:www.VINNY'S SITE URL.com lignin



...total indoor processing of my hair and food means going from bokashi to worms (you gotta start giving people a bit more credit?.

I knew you know that, I don't think your a dummy, it obvious your a very bright guy. I thought I wrote "(I know your aware)" before that sentence you are referring to? When I write posts to people I do so with the larger reading audience in mind, so I try to break it all down to basic stuff. But, I also try to not be disrespectful to the OP, and try to write something like I did: "(I know you know this)".

Sorry my posts came off wrong.



But for it to be truly feasible it has to be fast enough -

That's the problem. And anaerobic enough. Opening and closing a bag can really hinder the microbial processing. That's why I don't like dynamic bokashi bins that have people add food stuffs every day after cooking. It greatly lowers the anaerobic environment and will slow OM degradation. Same deal with adding it to a worm bin. If you let thebokashi ferment the OM in a bag for a month or two, then I assume it will be as processed as it can be by the microbes from bokashi. Maybe that would be a good point to add to the bins?

I don't think its a bad idea adding bokashi fermented OM to the worm bins, I just don't think lignin will be broken down very much.

However, lignin is mainly a concern with "ligninolistic" material like straws, wood, hay, maybe broccoli stalks, etc. I can't think of many kitchen scraps that are ligninolistic. If you are using this for kitchen scraps I don't see a reason your method won't work. :). Thoguh I have doubts about hair.

HTH
 

ganja din

Member
Here's a cheap way to expand, think vertical to save floor space:

I use 4-6 mil black plastic construction bags to ferment with bokashi. The trick to limit water runoff is to get the % moisture content to 45-55%. One can do this by leaving OM out to dry a bit, by adding dry wheat bran, etc.

Its important to fill the corners of the bag with bokashi to limit the air pockets within the bag. A big problem I have with EM companies and bokashi buckets is they don't stress an anaerobic environ to the degree they should. I wait until I have enough OM for a bag, then I seal the bag and try to remove as much air as possible. Then I place at least one 20lb weight (walmart) on top of the bag to help prevent air from sneaking into the bag. I leave the bags for a month at least, then the OM is ready to use.

HTH
 

maryjohn

Active member
Dunno man, both kitchen composters I bought stress anaerobic, thus the pressure applied with a flat trowel or plate. My stuff pickles very well so far and the worms eliminate it fast - in one bin I had a small pile disappear overnight. Yes, adding all the food at once in a bag is great, but I get my food scraps a bit at a time. Keep in mind the problem when you make a solution!

Yes I get some oxygen, but according to vinny pinto that's not a big deal for aem, so why fir bokashi? I get zero putrefaction or rot, so air or no it is working. There is always white fungus up top. Maybe that is my lignin degraders lol. Actually this morning I pulled some worm cast from under the worm bag, and in it was the remains of my last harvest. The main stem was empty, soft, and easy to tear. It was not bokash'd, so a bokash'd broccoli stem should be no trouble! I did however find most of the beard I shaved off, so hair is getting bokash'd from now on.

Really want to know about the lignin thing. Behind every half truth is a whole truth and some lies. Both are useful.
 

ganja din

Member
Hey

Vinny suggests O2 is not too bad during the initial fermentation of AEM, the first few days. But I disagree with him on that topic. Trust me, O2 is bad for bokashi fermenting. You should read up on ensiling. Bokashi has too little English studies and documentation when compared to ensiling.

Will a bokashi bucket work? Yes. Does it work as well as it can? Not at all. Too much O2 is infused. Remember EM microbes are faculatative anaerobes.

I think the EM info from EMRO is a lie. Simple as that. Why not call them and ask for data? I don't trust must companies, that is why I suggested google scholar to you. You will get more accurate and up to date info than from it than from EMRO I bet. EM is touted as all things for all people, and IMO that's too bad, its not true nor doing the reputation of EM justice.

Here's some great silage links. IMO ensiling process is far superior to the process suggested with bokashi incoulum:

"Ensiling Process"
http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/for4911



Silage Disertation:
"IMPROVING THE PRESERVATION QUALITY OF HIGH MOISTURE BY-PRODUCT FEEDSTUFFS BY ENSILAGE AND USE OF ADDITIVES"
by OKINE Abdul Razak Addy
http://ir.obihiro.ac.jp/dspace/bitstream/10322/984/1/o070412syuuron.pdf

HTH
 

ganja din

Member
To your point about only having a little kitchen food stuffs each day:

That is why I said leave it out a few days to dry a bit, and collect, like collecting feedstock for a hot compost pile. Or one can make little bags of it. Or use a bunch of little 3 gallon pales with lids. Fill them and place lid on and then flip over. The weight of the OM keeps O2 from seeping in under the lid. Or use a bag in the bucket and put a weight on it.

The goal is to keep it as anaerobic as possible.

And I have the same problems you do, each day I have kitchen scraps. Those which worms can use well without fermenting I place in the freezer to freeze until I have enough to thaw and give to worms. The bonus from the freezer is many cell walls in vegetables, fruit, etc, will weaken or break from expansion due to freezing. I find this allows the worms to much more easily process the food stuffs. I often let the foodstuffs thaw outside to collect lots of microbes.

HTH
 

ganja din

Member
To my understanding there should be no "white fungus" on your bokashi OM. If there is it probably means the OM is not fermenting (ie. stabilizing) correctly. The pH is not low enough. The presence of fungi also means there is too much O2. There is no fungi in EM I am aware of, the closest thing is yeast.

I used to get the same fungi when I used a bucket method. I think it could be "cobweb" mold, but I could be wrong.

HTH
 

maryjohn

Active member
I do the freezer thing for the worms too. A must for banana peels. Forget to do one peel and your house is full of fruit flies.

Bokashi bucket - for the convenience I get, worth the compromise. And I let them pickle for a month or more after filling - only air is in the bottom which gets full of liquid. Liquid in space = no air. Thanks to you I will not drain it.

White mold is very common and the EM folks say it is normal. Sure they are full of lies, but let's believe them on the small stuff. I get this fuzz on all em applications, even fermenting bran, and even dog poop from dogs given em water. I think it may be local and wild. Or it is part of the em America mother culture. One time my bucket had the lid on wrong for a while. Then I had blue mold - so I know I am doing something more anaerobic than not. This fuzz appears only at the very top. Looks like it prefers the area where condensation forms.

I posted a picture of the poop on another thread.
 

ganja din

Member
Hey bro

Sounds good :)

However, there is no fungi in EMRO. And the fact it exists on bokashi OM means its not anarobic enough, nor holding a low enough pH. This is what I mean by EM companies/sellers don't know enough. They should not be suggesting its normal for white fungi/mold in properly fermented OM. It happens with their bokashi bucket system as you mentioned, because it must be opened a lot. However, this to me is just an example of why the bokashi bucket is less than ideal. By the time there is that white fungi the OM has already soiled. That's the definition of spoiled, microbes you don't want are growing...

I know this sounds crazy, but trust me (or not), bokashi buckets are not ideal at all. And the EM industry us full of hype and lies and misunderstandings. For example, how many EM 'brew guides' from EMRO or SCD instruct one on the use of light and proper wavelengths when fermenting into AEM? None, that's how many. That's just insane IMO, especially considering PnSB are one of the two most important types of bacteria in EM!

The 1-3 gallon pal method is much superior to a bokashi bucket IMO. Also, getting the correct % moisture content is important. Past about 60-65% and LAB will not flourish...

HTH
 

maryjohn

Active member
To your point about only having a little kitchen food stuffs each day:

That is why I said leave it out a few days to dry a bit, and collect, like collecting feedstock for a hot compost pile. Or one can make little bags of it. Or use a bunch of little 3 gallon pales with lids. Fill them and place lid on and then flip over. The weight of the OM keeps O2 from seeping in under the lid. Or use a bag in the bucket and put a weight on it.

HTH

you post some great solutions but - if I could do the first, I would have a hot pile. Not feasible. The others - you are a bachelor, I see. I am not. So little bags of trash and little pails is a no-go. Answer: bokashi bucket. It's a good invention because unlike your suggestions can be widely adopted.
 

DARC MIND

Member
great read guys, im learning a lot and have always wanted to try this bokashi or silage (anaerobic methods) but i think i need to learn a LOT more.. thank you both for this

also is ther any threads here or links that can help me make my own bin?? i would love to try this...thanks
 

maryjohn

Active member
I would say go to instructables dot com and look up "worm bin bag". If you are going to have one bin, that's the one to have.
 

DARC MIND

Member
I would say go to instructables dot com and look up "worm bin bag". If you are going to have one bin, that's the one to have.
thanks maryJ,
the instructables site is awesome, thanks for the link
but i wasnt looking to construct a worm bin, I and I have plenty of worm bins, holes and composting bins.
i was looking for a way to build a bokashi bin of the sort, this would be new to me and diversify my methods of converting waste to nutrients.
Thanks for the link bud, its bookmarked!
 

maryjohn

Active member
oh, you can make the bokashi buckets out of 5 gallon paint buckets, one with holes in the bottom. You got to put lots of material in the bottom to soak up juices and watch your total liquids.
 

ganja din

Member
Hey DM,

Yea MJ is right, a couple of buckets and you can make your own 'bokashi bucket'. Or, you can buy one, they are pretty slick, all my comments about inferror bokashi method not withstanding.

Though I would suggest you use one of the methods I already mentioned. Using 3 gallon pales works well. You can use bokashi inoculum, or just mix molasses, or raw can sugar, at about 5% (volume) of the OM. This will feed/select for LAB already present as long as the environ is anaerobic (no re-opening). That is how silage is made, with indigenous LAB and molasses (not mixed with water).

To MJs point about runoff liquids. This is due to the OM (kitchen scraps) being used are too moist. As I mentioned, over about 65% moisture content and fermentation by LAB is hindered, its too moist. And the liquid can purify if not drained away, hence the spout on a bokashi bucket. However, if you allow the foodstuffs to dry a bit so moisture content is from 45% to 60% the liquid runoff will be null, or damn close. That's a major complaint I have with bokashi method, the % moisture content is NEVER mentioned and its important. Mixing dry wheat bran with the foodstuffs can decrease the overall % moisture content.

I like using 5 gallons bucket the best, and thick plastic bags second best. If you have many smaller amounts you can use a 1 or 3 gallon buckets. In the midwest they have huge silage silos for corn.

HTH
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top