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Syntropic Antioxidative Microbes (SAM)
 a Unique Class of Probiotic Beneficial Microbes
This site has been created by Vinny Pinto, a mystic, spiritual teacher, spiritual healer and multi-disciplinary consulting and R&D scientist/engineer. If you should wish, you may subscribe, as a public subscriber, to Vinny's public Facebook page or visit Vinny's Threads social media page or Bluesky Social page by using the buttons below:

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You are on the home page of the Syntropic Antioxidative Microbes (SAM) website. This website is located at http://sam.vmicrobial.info/.
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This page will introduce you to a unique category of beneficial probiotic microbes that I tend to call by the name "syntropic antioxidative microbes". Before we jump into the meat of the matter, I feel that it would be useful to offer you a brief preface and introduction into how I came to be involved in this field.
As some of my readers who are familiar with my other websites and/or email list groups may already know, I am not only a research and development (R&D) consulting scientist with a Master's degree in the sciences, but I am also a mystic and an intuitive, and I have, for many years, been surrendering each day of my life, including all of my activities, to service to Divinity, that is, to what I call Supreme Heart (aka Sacred Heart) and Holy Spirit. So, you may ask, why am I mentioning this fact here and now? Well, you see, the only reason that I started to investigate and eventually work with syntropic antioxidative microbes, starting a number of years ago, back in late 2002, was due to direct guidance, along with some powerful nudges (more on this below…) that I received from Holy Spirit.
As some of you will likely already know, my name is Vinny Pinto. I am a degreed scientist with a graduate degree in the sciences and with extensive undergraduate training in the sciences and in engineering. I have been working with beneficial syntropic antioxidative microbes since late 2002, and particularly with PNSB and with the SAM Type 4 (aka SAMT4) microbial consortia, including the SAMT4 microbial consortia often known worldwide as EM and EM-like microbial cultures, which have been widely used in fields ranging from human nutrition to agriculture to waste remediation. Since late 2003, I have been providing consulting on uses and applications of SAM microbes (and particularly SAMT4 microbial consortia) across the world, and I have rendered consulting services in this field for companies located on every continent except Antarctica, and my consulting work in this field has taken me to every corner of the USA, and to places around the world ranging from southern India to Nicaragua to Malaysia. I have been told by many prospective clients and vendors that I am seen as the premier consultant in this field across the world.

I have, since 2003, operated two large email list groups devoted to the topic of beneficial SAM microbes, have authored two books in the field, and have delivered lectures on this topic (particularly on the use of SAMT4 microbial consortia in human nutrition, agriculture, waste management and odor control) across the USA and across the world.

More About the Author; Consulting Services
If you wish to learn more about me (Vinny Pinto), including a more detailed background and bio, and also including an overview of the websites and email list groups that I operate, please see my main consulting website, at http://www.vinnypinto.us

If you are interested in utilizing my consulting services, please be advised, as noted on my main consulting website, that I have largely retired from providing consulting services in the realms of the sciences and engineering, but I still do accept a few consulting projects that I might find interesting or of benefit to the world at large. For more information on my consulting services, including terms and rates and how to handle the application process, please see my main consulting website, at http://www.vinnypinto.us

My Foray into the Realm of Syntropic Antioxidative Microbes
For the complete tale of how I got involved in doing R&D work, and ultimately, consulting work across the world, in the realm of beneficial antioxidative microbes, you will want to see the page on this website entitled Some History and Background: How I Became Involved in this Field. The story on that page will relate the somewhat magical tale of how I was led to work in this realm in the last few months of 2002. Ultimately, by late 2002, the cumulative mass and import of all the coincidences and synchronicities that I relate in the above-linked page was too great to ignore, and I finally woke up and smelled the coffee -- I began to pay attention to the subtle messages that I was receiving, and in short order, based upon inner guidance, I started researching a very unique type of beneficial probiotic microbes, often found in the soil, and sometimes in waste streams, which I quickly came to call syntropic antioxidative microbes; for shorthand, I started to call this genre by the acronym SAM.
A Brief Definition of the Term Syntropic Antioxidative Microbes
Briefly, if you have not yet guessed, I reserve the term syntropic antioxidative microbes for microbial species and microbial consortia (that is, cooperative aggregate microbial communities consisting of anywhere from three to over forty species of microbes working together) that exhibit all of the following significant properties:
  • they exhibit antioxidative properties, that is, they produce significant quantities of various antioxidants as metabolites when digesting foodstuffs (which may range from plant matter to sewage to toxic waste), in a fashion analogous to the manner in which brewer's yeast digests sugars and produces alcohol as a metabolite, that is, as a waste product. As a result of the production of these antioxidant compounds (aka reducing compounds), most SAMs, in most settings, tend to exhibit pronounced deodorizing properties, and also detoxification properties as well.

  • most SAM also tend to produce as metabolites a unique class of antioxidant assistant compounds that are very important in certain biological process within living organisms, and also quite important in in-situ bio-remediation of contaminated soils and bodies of water; these compounds are variously referenced in both the popular literature and the scientific literature by names such as antioxidant assistantsantioxidant helperselectron shuttleselectron transfer agentselectron relays and electron mediators. One example of such an antioxidant assistant compound is ubiquinone, also known as Coenzyme Q10 (aka CoQ10), and other related quinones which also exhibit electron shuttle properties.  As a result of the production of these compounds, most SAMs, in most settings, tend to exhibit pronounced deodorizing properties, and also detoxification properties as well.

  • SAMs also exhibit syntropic (also known as negentropic or anti-entropic) properties, that is, they seem to prevent destructive decay, or breakdown of various compounds, and instead seem to encourage creation of compounds with higher order and structure; that is, they tend to enhance or preserve the order, entropy and energy in a system.
As you will see below, some syntropic antioxidative microbes are found in nature, while others are combined, usually via fermentation processes, by humans for special applications ranging from making foodstuffs to treating agricultural soils, to remediating toxic waste.
Some Commonly-Encountered Instances of SAM
The first instances of SAMs that I encountered in the first few months of my foray into the realms of syntropic antioxidative microbes were purple non-sulfur bacteria (aka PNSB) used widely since the 1950s for waste management and odor control, followed quickly by natto bacteria (i.e., Bacillus subtilis var. natto, used in making a Japanese fermented soybean dish known as natto), and various types of commercial mixed (that is, containing more than one species) microbial culture products then being used in the agricultural field, including the wide family of products, available from several vendors across the world, that had been loosely known, since 1982, as "EM" (and were also widely known as well by terms such as "efficient microbes", "effective microbes", "effective microorganisms" and "efficient microorganisms"), Vita Biosa, one or two esoteric Biodynamic soil and compost culture "preparations", and also a strange magical "soil detoxifying and conditioning" microbial product, a purple-blue fermented liquid,  that had been developed in the 1950s by a long-deceased (d. 1975) self-educated inventor from the US Southwest named Jim Martin; he believed that his strange fermented microbial brews could eventually save the earth and revolutionize the fields of agriculture, human and animal health, and waste management. 
And, of course, there was always, lurking in the back of my consciousness, also an awareness of the mysterious and long-lost proprietary microbial culture, reputed to have near-magical properties, and that I have briefly mentioned elsewhere on this site, that had been developed by the elderly and now-deceased inventor in Nevada, and which had apparently been fermented using, among other ingredients, urine from mares, special native American herbs, exotic clays, and eggshell membranes.
Within short order, as I played with these microbes in my lab and learned more and more about them, I started several email list groups devoted to various aspects of this field, and particularly the applications of SAM in health and in sustainable agriculture, along with two informational websites offering coherent, cohesive and clear information on SAM and their applications; I did this simply because such information was grossly lacking in that realm at the time. The entire field of syntropic antioxidative microbes (particularly in the realm of the various microbial products that had loosely been called "EM" since the early 1980s), had, until then, been largely filled with great gobs of confusion, misinformation and myth, and even what appeared to be some notable attempts at "disinformation" on the part of some commercial ventures that were vendors of related products (which may, ultimately, have possibly been due simply to grossly inept translation of product information into English from other languages).
I also discovered, in relatively short order as I started playing with syntropic antioxidative microbes, that consortia (that is, cooperative aggregate communities of anywhere from three to over forty species of microbes) of syntropic antioxidative microbes were not only brewed by modern-day humans, but that they also occurred in nature, with perhaps the most notable example being the often pinkish or purplish fluid filling the pitchers (a bowl formed by the leaves) of various pitcher plants (i.e. carnivorous plants), particularly Sarracenia species, growing in the Americas, and also some other pitcher plants (including some Nepenthes sp.); the microbial consortium often found in these pitchers consists of PNSBs along with yeast, lactic acid bacteria and other beneficial microbes. I also uncovered some evidence along the way that some varieties of earthworms contain relatively large quantities of PNSB microbes, in a consortium along with other microbes, in their digestive tracts.
I also uncovered, along the way, evidence that some ancient fermented brews used by Native Americans in Central and South America had also incorporated syntropic antioxidative microbes (most frequently, it seems, PNSBs in combination with yeast and lactic acid bacteria), and that spontaneous occurrences of SAM consortia (usually PNSBs and/or Bacillus subtilis in consortia with lactic acid bacteria) have been found at times in samples of certain raw kefirs, yogurts and cheeses from around the world by modern researchers. I also discovered some anecdotal evidence that some old legacy varieties of sourdough yeast used in traditional cultures in baking breads had, at times during long fermentations, accidentally become SAM consortia by virtue of the presence of PNSBs (likely acquired from the ambient environment or from ingredients such as grains) along with the yeasts, and that this accidental "contamination" often imparted to the culture, or to the sourdough mass, a pinkish or purplish color. It also appears that some naturally-fermented hot sauces around the world contain, in addition to lactic acid bacteria, PNSBs, thus forming a de facto SAM consortium.

A Technical Book Entitled Fermentation with Syntropic Antioxidative Microbes
It is also worth mentioning that in late 2004 I authored a rather lengthy, complex and dense technical book about fermenting various products using SAMs, particularly the SAM microbial consortia that I reference as SAM Type 4 below; the book was intended for technically-minded researchers and/or technically-proficient agricultural users only, and was, fittingly, entitled Fermentation With Syntropic Antioxidative Microbes. I had intended the work to be a rather technical work, and I had intended, and expected, that it would likely never sell more than about twenty copies in its lifetime. Much to my surprise, I discovered within a few years that copies of the book had ended up in the technical libraries of agricultural colleges and universities, and also a few agricultural agencies, scattered across the world!

Categories or Types of Syntropic Antioxidative Microbes and SAM Products
There exist a relatively small number of microbes which exhibit significant syntropic antioxidative properties, and they may be available either as single species cultures (which, is the form in which we encounter microbes most often in the lab and in industry) and as microbial consortia, that is cooperative aggregate communities consisting of anywhere from three to over forty microbial species working together, which is the most common form in which microbes are found in nature.

Since the entire field of syntropic antioxidative microbes (SAM) has been rather scattered and disorganized until now, I have decided to make a rudimentary attempt to break the most commonly-encountered syntropic antioxidative microbes -- whether they exist as single species cultures or as cultures containing microbial consortia which typically exhibit syntropic antioxidative properties in most settings and which include at least one member which exhibits significant syntropic antioxidative properties in most environments -- into loose categories. Here, then, is my first attempt at such an approximate categorization:

Categories of SAM Which May be Commonly Encountered

Some Notes About the Categories Listed Herein:
SAM Type 1 through SAM Type 3 categories, along with their sub-categories, list monocultures, that is, one species or variety only of microbes. SAM Type 4 through SAM Type 10 categories list microbial consortia, that is, cooperative (and usually synergistic) communities of microbes consisting of anywhere from two or three to as many as 100 or more microbes working together in a community; this is the milieu in which microbes are usually found in the real world, that is, in nature. Please be advised that the microbes listed for each type of SAM consortia will be those microbes from the consortia which exhibit significant SAM properties and which are the most dominant. However, there will almost invariably be other types of beneficial microbes present in these consortia as well, even though they may not be explicitly listed in the category (or sub-category) description title, nor even listed in the descriptive text.

For just one example, the SAM Type 4 category is listed as "Microbial Consortia Containing Organic Acid-Producing Bacteria and PNSB as Primary Dominant Members", but the reality is that a typical SAM Type 4 microbial consortia found in nature (or even in many commercial products) will usually contain not only microbes from these categories, but will also contain a wide variety of other beneficial microbes as well, including perhaps two or three species of beneficial yeast, anywhere from five to ten or even twenty varieties of beneficial bacteria, and, at times (particularly for such consortia found in nature, in the wild), some varieties of beneficial fungi as well. There may also be a number of beneficial species of Archaea present in such consortia as well, and it must be noted that these microbes are as yet very-poorly recognized and classified within the field of microbiology, as archaea were largely ignored by microbiologists until just a few years ago. 

SAM Type 1 -- Yeast Monocultures
The only commonly-encountered and notable member of this category of yeast monocultures which often exhibit significant syntropic antioxidative properties is a yeast known as Monascus purpureus, and more commonly known as red yeast, often used to produce, via fermentation of rice, so-called red yeast rice nutritional supplements.  When grown as a monoculture on rice and certain other foodstuffs, many varieties of this species will exhibit syntropic effects and will release copious quantities of a wide range of antioxidants and other compounds with antioxidant-like effects and/or antioxidant helper (electron shuttle, aka electron transfer agent) effects. Largely because it is a relatively fragile microbe which does not adapt well to many environments, and also because it does not tend to dominate or entrain any microbial consortia in which it may be found, this yeast has never seen significant application in commercial or industrial applications such as odor management, waste management or waste remediation.

There do exist several other yeast species which exhibit significant syntropic antioxidative properties, but the above-mentioned species is by far the best known, and the other contenders will not be addressed here.

Yeast falling into this category are sometimes used to produce fermented foodstuffs for human or animal consumption, but are rarely or never used commercially for waste treatment, waste remediation, or for deodorizing purposes.

SAM Type 2 - Fungal Monocultures
There exist a small number of fungi, including some fungi which produce fruiting bodies which we call mushrooms, which can be classified as SAM microbes. There exist some mushrooms, some of which have been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years, which produce large quantities of antioxidants and which also exhibit moderate syntropic effects, and, of course, for the non-fruiting fungi, there is Aspergillus oryzae, used to produce miso, an Asian fermented soybean (or grain) product and many other fermented soy products such as tempeh and koji; many varieties of Aspergillus oryzae, under proper conditions, produce copious amounts of antioxidants and "antioxidant helpers" and also exhibit mild syntropic effects.

While these and other Aspergillus species are used to produce fermented foodstuffs for human and animal consumption, they have, due to their specificity and fragility in many environments, and also their relatively low level of syntropic effects, almost never been used commercially for waste treatment, waste remediation, or for deodorizing purposes. The same is true of other fungi which exhibit weak to moderate SAM properties.

SAM Type 3 -- Bacterial Monocultures
There exist a relatively small number of bacterial species that exhibit significant syntropic antioxidative properties. The only three that tend to be well-known in our modern world are the following:

SAM Type 3-Subtype 1 -- Bacteria which produce significant quantities of organic acids (e.g. lactic acid, malic acid, citric acid or propionic acid) during fermentation -- these include the various well-known species of Lactobacilllus (which produce lactic acid), often used in making yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut and a number of other foods, and often encountered in probiotic nutritional supplements. The organic acids, including lactic acid, malic acid, propionic acid and citric acid, produced by these microbes during fermentation exhibit mild antioxidant properties and also exhibit as well so-called "antioxidant helper" properties, acting as electron shuttles or electron transfer agents in certain settings.

Commercial applications: Bacteria  falling into this category are often used to produce fermented foodstuffs for human or animal consumption, but are rarely used commercially for waste treatment, waste remediation, or for deodorizing purposes, because, while these microbes do produce mild antioxidants such as the organic acids mentioned above, their syntropic properties, while significant, are relatively weak compared to certain other microbes which fall into the SAM realm. Microbes in this category are also often marketed as probiotic nutritional supplements for oral ingestion by humans and animals, and are sometimes marketed for commercial applications such culturing exposed environmental surfaces and exposed surfaces of meat in slaughterhouses and butcher shops to competitively prevent growth of undesirable decay microbes or disease microbes.

SAM Type 3-Subtype 2: Bacillus subtilis -- many varieties of Bacillus subtilis, including particularly Bacillus subtilis var. natto, exhibit significant and strong syntropic antioxidative properties in many settings. It has been alleged by some, particularly some commercial vendors of human nutritional supplements, that some varieties of Bacillus cereus also exhibit much the same properties, but, since some varieties of Bacillus cereus have been implicated in certain human diseases in vulnerable persons, and also because the evidence for this claim (i.e., that these microbes exhibit antioxidant properties and syntropic properties)( is extremely unclear and ambiguous, I am not including Bacilus cereus in this category.

Commercial Applications
Many varieties of Bacillus subtilis exhibit strong antioxidative properties and moderately strong syntropic properties, and Bacillus subtilis varieties have been widely used in food production, particularly production of a Japanese fermented food called natto, for thousands of years, and Bs has been widely used in commercial applications and industry as a powerful detoxifier and deodorizer for at least 70 years, and has been used as a human probiotic nutritional supplement with powerful antioxidative, deodorizing and detoxifying properties since at least 1940, and likely earlier. In fact, the Germans used Bacillus subtilis as a probiotic nutritional supplement for their troops in northern Africa during World War II to help to prevent dysentery (via a process called competitive exclusion.) It is worth mentioning here that researchers have noted that a significant number of probiotic nutritional supplements currently on the market, particularly in Europe, which claim to provide Bacillus subtilis often actually contain not Bacillus subtilis, but rather Bacillus cereus, and these brands are best avoided, for several reasons, including the fact that Bacillus Cereus can sometimes act as a pathogen in humans (albeit rarely.).

Bacillus subtilis, because it is a tough and hardy species which adapts well to many environments, and often dominates or entrains any consortia in which it occurs, has been widely used in commercial applications and in industry as a powerful detoxifier and deodorizer, and for waste remediation, since at least the early 1950s.

SAM Type 3-Subtype 3: Sulfur photosynthetic bacteria, aka sulfur phototrophic bacteria, and cyanobacteria -- many of these microbes have been classified as sulfur photosynthetic bacteria simply because researchers in the first half of the twentieth century noticed that they were largely sulfur-dependent, that is, they required the presence of sulfur compounds found in nature in order to produce energy. Many of these bacteria, including some species/varieties of cyanobacteria (sometimes referenced as "blue-green algae"), can exhibit antioxidative properties and mild syntropic properties in certain settings. However, for a number of reasons, including the fact that some of these species can produce toxic compounds in certain settings, these microbes, with very few exceptions, have never "caught on" for widespread use as probiotic nutritional microbes or for commercial or industrial waste remediation, waste treatment or deodorization applications.

Incidentally, it appears that some of the odor control, soil treatment and waste remediation microbial culture products developed by the Texan inventor James Francis Martin in the early 1950s and marketed by him and his associates throughout the 50s, 60s and early 70s, contained some species of purple sulfur photosynthetic bacteria and cyanobacteria in a larger consortia, along with some trace nutrients.

SAM Type 3-Subtype 4: Purple non-sulfur bacteria (PNSB) -- Many members of the purple non-sulfur bacteria (aka PNSB) family -- so named by researchers in the 1930s because they realized that these photosynthetic (aka phototrophic) bacteria, unlike many of their well-studied close relatives which were also purple in color and also photosynthetic, were not dependent upon sulfur compounds as a foodstuff in nature -- and particularly some species of Rhodobacter, Rhodopseudomonas and Rhodospirillum, exhibit very strong syntropic effects and very strong antioxidative effects.

As we will see in a later category, these microbes are often included in microbial consortia intended to yield SAM properties precisely because of their very strong and highly notable SAM properties.

In general, for most applications, and in most settings, many varieties of PNSB tend to exhibit far stronger SAM effects than do most varieties of Bacillus subtilis, which is the only other well-known SAM microbe which commonly even comes close to being a contender in this arena.

Commercial Applications
Because of the very powerful syntropic and antioxidative effects exhibited by these microbes, and because it is a relatively tough and hardy species which adapts well to a number of environments, and due to the fact that it often dominates or entrains any consortia in which it may be found (thus ensuring that the entire consortia will exhibit syntropic and antioxidative properties), PNSB have been used since at least the mid 1940s in a wide range of monoculture or combined monoculture (that is, a culture containing two or more species or varieties of PNSB) products in the agricultural, commercial and industrial arena, intended for use in odor control, waste treatment and waste remediation. Some PNSB have also been used in anti-inflammatory skin creams marketed for human use since at least the late 1930s, and have been used in various probiotic products intended for human and animal consumption since at least the 1950s, and perhaps earlier. You will see some specific examples of such uses, along with some interesting product histories and greater detail, in the section below entitled SAM Type 4, which is devoted to PNSB microbes found in consortia with organic-acid producing bacteria such as lactic acid bacteria (LAB.)

SAM Type 3-Subtype 5: non-organic acid producing soil based bacteria not already listed in subtypes 1 through 4 -- some varieties of a common soil bacteria (sometimes referenced as "soil-based organisms" or SBOs) called Deinococcus radiophilus have been found to exhibit significant antioxidative effects and, at times, very mild syntropic effects. There are a few other bacteria as well that have not been mentioned in earlier sections but which exhibit significant antioxidative and syntropic properties, and many of them are soil-based bacteria. However, they are not well-known, and there is no need to offer more details about them here.

SAM Type 4 - Microbial Consortia Containing Organic Acid-Producing Bacteria and PNSB as Primary Dominant Members
There exist a number of microbial consortia that have been noticed in nature that consist of beneficial microbes which produce significant quantities of organic acids (e.g., such as lactic acid, malic acid, citric acid or propionic acid); the organic acid-producing microbes most commonly encountered in such consortia are lactic acid bacteria (aka LAB; many LAB exhibit weak antioxidative effects and rather weak syntropic effects as well) along with PNSB (which exhibit strong SAM properties) acting as the dominant SAM contributor, wherein the PNSB "loan" the SAM properties to the consortia as a whole. This category consists of microbial consortia that consist of LAB (or other organic acid-producing beneficial microbes) plus one or more species and varieties of PNSB, and often other microbes such as yeast, and, at times other SAM microbes as well, including particularly Bacillus subtilis. In fact, it can be stated unequivocally that syntropic antioxidative microbial consortia of this type (that is SAM Type 4) are the consortia exhibiting syntropic antioxidative properties most commonly found in nature, and also, perhaps not surprisingly, the microbial consortia most commonly found in commercial culture products exhibiting significant syntropic antioxidative properties. A significant number of these consortia, as found in nature, often exhibit a relatively low pH of below 4.5 due to the dominance of the LAB microbes or other organic acid-producing microbes and their metabolites (i.e., lactic acid).

Examples Where PNSB are Found in Nature
Some typical examples of such consortia found "in the wild", that is, in nature, include the following:
  • the pinkish liquid found in the pitchers or bowls of many species of pitcher plants in the wild, including many Sarracenia species.
  • a consortia also noticed at times in the GI tract of some varieties of worms which exist in soil or decaying waste matter, including some varieties of earthworms, these consortia include LAB and PNSB, along with yeast or other microbes.
  • a similar consortia has been found at times in certain traditional artisan cheeses, and some traditional yogurts and kefirs, where PNSB have been found co-occurring as a rather silent partner to the primary cheese culture microbes, along with small amounts of LAB.
  • a similar consortia has also been found at times in certain legacy sourdough bread cultures, where certain LAB and PNSB have been found to co-exist along with one or more yeasts.
  • a similar consortia has been found at times in some traditional naturally-fermented hot sauces across the world (including the USA), with PNSB occurring as a slower-growing background partner to the LAB.
  • a similar LAB and PNSB-containing consortia has been found at times in certain traditional fermented "herbal" alcoholic beverages from traditional cultures, including agave-based fermented drinks often called Mexcal or Palenque, often found in the more rural regions of Mexico where traditional methods of brewing are still employed.
The survival advantage of such consortia over single-species cultures is simply that the consortia are far more robust, more hardy and can adapt to a far wider range of environments and conditions than can any single species, and yet, due to the dominant or entraining nature of the PNSB and the Bacillus subtilis (if included), such consortia will continue to exhibit significant SAM properties over a very wide range of environmental conditions.

Commercial Applications
Not only is this consortia found in a number of niche environments in nature, but it has also found widespread applications in agriculture and human health, and in the marketplace, since the late 1930s or early 1940s.  Because of the above-mentioned robustness and adaptability of such microbial consortia, a wide array of commercially-available cultures with SAM properties -- often marketed for purposes ranging from probiotics for humans and animals to odor control, waste treatment and waste remediation -- contain any of a number of variants of this consortia, that is, they contain LAB in consortia with PNSB, and sometimes contain Bacillus subtilis as well, often along with other microbes. A majority of these SAMT4 consortia products exhibit a relatively low pH of below 4.5 due to the dominance of the LAB microbes or other organic acid-producing microbes and their metabolites (i.e., lactic acid). Of all syntropic antioxidative microbial consortia, this is perhaps the one that has been best represented in products available in the consumer, commercial and industrial marketplaces for many decades; variants of this consortia have been used in commercial products since at least the 1950s, and, some claim, since the late 1930s (more examples may be found below, in the subsection entitled Commercial Applications -- An Overview and History.)

Before moving on to the overview and history section, which will include discussion of some actual products in this SAM Type 4 (aka SAMT4) category which have been developed and marketed over the past 50 years, we should pause here for a moment to discuss how these various products were brewed. The majority of the SAMT4 fermented microbial products which will be discussed below, including the broad family of EM products and EM-like cultures, have always classically been brewed by producers using a combination of commercial monoculture (i.e., single-strain) microbial cultures (all originally collected from nature; none of the producers has ever attempted to employ genetically-modified (aka GM) microorganisms) procured from microbial type culture collection vendors. This process has been problematic at times, since it is very difficult, when combining commercial single-strain cultures, it is very difficult to convince the PNSB to work together in an effective consortia with some of the other microbes, particularly with the lactic acid bacteria, and thus the few producers of these products have been forced to use all sorts of fascinating tricks to convince the microbes to form an effective consortia.

While, as mentioned above, most vendors of commercially-available SAMT4 products have used, and continue to use, a combination of commercial monoculture (i.e., single-strain) microbial cultures procured from microbial type culture collection vendors in brewing their SAMT4 consortia products, a small number of producers (including Dr. George Merkl and his Sumerian Elixir product, and also including the mysterious farmer/inventor Andrew and his Soil Blast product, each of which will be discussed at length below) have relied solely upon the wild microbes naturally present in various natural ingredients, which were, of course, tightly-specified and carefully-sourced by the developer/creator. This matter of trying to rely solely upon wild microbes naturally present in/on the various natural ingredients led to a number of quality control problems and related problems for these producers, since the quality of their product often tended to vary greatly from batch to batch, and also because many such brews ended up containing a rather large amount of alcohol, well above the one percent level allowed by the USDA and FDA in foods and nutritional supplements. This disconcerting and undesirable side-effect led to all sorts of problems for these producers, and, in fact one of them, Dr. George Merkl, eventually ran into trouble with US regulatory authorities, who demanded that his Life Crystals/Sumerian Elixir production facility be registered with, and inspected by, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) as a brewer of alcoholic beverages, and that the facility conform with BATF regulations for brewing of alcoholic beverages during brewing, and who further demanded that Merkl distribute and market his Sumerian Elixir and related liquid products only as alcoholic beverages, because most batches contained well over one percent alcohol content.

Commercial Applications -- An Overview and History
This consortia is widely used in commercial and agricultural applications. Much as I listed above, in a bulleted list, some commonly-found examples of consortia of this type found in nature, here is a brief overview and history of some of the commercial applications of variants of this widely-used consortia, dating from the early 1940s; some will likely claim that the following list is far from complete, and this may be true, but I feel that it will nonetheless provide some insight into the utility of variants of this consortia, along with the incredible variety of their uses in human endeavors, and its ubiquity in various applications since at least the 1940s.

Before we move on to the list itself, I would like to draw attention to one other point regarding the various commercial products listed below: it is worthwhile to note that while some of the products were (and are, if they are still in production) created using commercial cultures purchased from microbial type culture collection vendors, while others were (and are, if they are still in production) produced using only naturally-occurring "wild" microbes found on fruits, vegetables, herbs and in agricultural waste products such as cow manure, etc. Here is the list:

Compost and Soil Preparations Used in Biodynamic Farming
Biodynamic farming is a natural and "spiritual" farming movement spawned in the early 20th century as an offshoot of Anthroposophy, a communal mystical tradition founded by Austrian philosopher and mystic Rudolf Steiner. Biodynamic preparations are special standardized microbe-rich fermented compounds prepared using special rituals and processes, and which are claimed to exhibit exotic energy properties and spiritual properties along with microbial culture properties, and are used in small quantities in Biodynamic farming as soil amendments and compost treatments. The various standardized Biodynamic preparations used in this Anthroposophic farming system sport names such as BD500, BD501, BD507, etc. Several European researchers have claimed, via private communications, that at least two of the Biodynamic preparations used in Biodynamic farming since the late 1930s or early 1940s contain not only LAB but also significant levels of PNSB, usually in consortia with yeast and several soil-based organisms.

I find these claims to be eminently credible and realistic (and my own limited tests support the claims as well), if only because of the ubiquity of the microbes in question in some of the ingredients used in creating these preparations, but the single and highly important and relevant caveat that I wish to offer in regard to this claim is that in examining it we must bear in mind that the so-called standardized Biodynamic preparations are, in actuality, prepared on-site at numerous Biodynamic farms across the world from basic locally-sourced natural ingredients (e.g., locally-procured soil, spring water, rainwater, cow manure, cow horns, skins of wild animals, herbs and other plants, etc.), and thus there is undoubtedly a fairly wide variance in microbial makeup of these "standardized" Biodynamic preparations across sites, that is, dependent upon the unique location where a particular version of a standard Biodynamic preparation was created, and even when it was created. Thus, while this consortia may indeed be found at times in at least two of the standardized Biodynamic soil preparations, as claimed, this does not guarantee that all instances of these same Biodynamic preparations would necessarily contain the same consortia.

It is worth noting that none of these Biodynamic preparations have ever employed any commercial cultures from microbial type culture collections, and rather, much as already referenced above, the microbial flora present in each preparation is determined solely by the naturally-occurring microbes present in and on the surfaces of the various natural ingredients (all acquired from the local immediate agricultural setting) as well as the unique array of nutrients and micronutrients available in the ingredients.

An Anthroposophic Topical Skin Remedy for Healing Damaged Skin
Anthroposophic remedies are part and parcel of a communal mystical and spiritual tradition called Anthroposophy which was founded in the early 20th century by Austrian philosopher and mystic Rudolf Steiner. One Anthroposophic remedy, a topical skin cream used for soothing, detoxifying and repairing irritated or damaged skin that has been used in Anthroposophic medicine (aka Anthroposophical medicine), and sold over-the-counter (OTC) in Anthroposophical pharmacies (usually co-located with Anthroposophic (aka Threefold Way) communities across Western Europe, the US and Canada) since at least the early 1940s has been claimed by several researchers to contain PNSB and LAB, and it is felt by these researchers that the PNSB constitute the primary active ingredient. This topical skin cream, which, according to several reports, was at times marketed under the name "Remedy 16" or "Remedy No. 16" and under other trade names as well (including, according to some reports, a name something like to "Dr. Hoch's Skin Remedy No. 16"), has been credited over the years with some very impressive healing of badly damaged skin across many users.

I have also received several reports that the same OTC Anthroposophical topical skin remedy was also marketed as an over-the-counter skin cream for treating inflamed skin in a number of conventional pharmacies across Canada and the Eastern part of the USA in the 1950s and 1960s (they reportedly acquired it from a German-born health and beauty aid products distributor in New York City, who had become familiar with the product while living in Germany and had become quite enamored of it), and that it gained a quick reputation as a powerful means of healing inflamed or damaged skin that did not respond to any other treatments.

Andrew and His Magical Fermented Soil Treatment Product
I have learned across the years from several farmers located in Nevada, Utah and the Midwest and Plains states of the US, including particularly Nebraska and the Dakotas, and also from at least two vendors of microbial products for agricultural use, that a now-deceased tinkerer/inventor based in Nevada (some reports have claimed that he lived in Las Vegas, while others have claimed that he was based in a small city in northern Nevada) named Andrew (some reports have stated that he also used the name John at times) had produced and direct-marketed -- under any of several product names, including apparently names such as "Soil Blast", "Compost Blast" and "Pit Blast" (i.e., where "pit" denotes a deep manure pit for cow manure or pig manure) -- among farmers in the aforementioned regions an extremely powerful and unique brownish fermented liquid microbial culture product for treatment of hard-packed and dead farm soils, for remediation of toxic waste and for odor control.

Andrew apparently claimed to have developed the product in the late 1950s after extensive research and experimentation; he often claimed that his esoteric microbial brew was the end product of a lengthy and complex fermentation of molasses along with exotic ingredients which included urine from mares, eggshell membranes, certain native American herbs and special nutritional clays that he hand-harvested from secret sites in Utah and Nevada (I have, interestingly, met a farmer, a former customer of Andrew's, who had visited Andrew at his home in Nevada in the late 1970s and had seen the production fermentation setup in Andrew's basement.) It has been widely reported to me that the product had a fanatical following among farmers who were Andrew's customers due to its remarkable abilities, and the only worry that his agricultural customers had, since he consistently adamantly refused to share his formula and process with anyone, was that this already rather-elderly man would die someday and take the formula to his grave with him.

Eventually, much as his devoted customers feared, Andrew did indeed die, reportedly in the mid-1980s, apparently taking his formula and process to the grave with him, although several of his former customers, and reportedly also one of his adult sons (who had reportedly been living in a city in the Midwest until his father's death) purportedly tried to create replicas of his microbial culture product after his death. At least two of these aspirants apparently eventually (but in each case only temporarily) marketed their hopefully-similar microbial culture liquid products under brand names that were somewhat related to the brand names that Andrew had used. However, it seems, at least according to Andrew's original customers and to other observers who have contacted me over the years, that none of these latter-day entrants into the field were able to successfully duplicate the highly-effective and nearly-magical microbial consortia that the old man had learned to culture, and the results in real-world applications of the two successor products were, according to many reports, never anywhere near as impressive as those seen with the original culture product. All information (much of it proprietary and confidential) available at hand indicates that the powerful culture which Andrew successfully brewed and marketed for almost 25 years until his death was a microbial consortia which contained LAB and PNSB, along with some other microbes as well.  

While the exact details of the brewing process employed by Andrew are not known, it is quite obvious that his microbial concoction did not employ commercial cultures that were purchased from microbial type culture collection vendors, but rather it appears that the exact microbial flora present in his concoctions was determined solely by the naturally-occurring microbes present in and on the surfaces of the various ingredients as well as the unique array of nutrients and micronutrients available in the ingredients used in the formulation.

Dr. George Merkl and his Solar-Fermented Life Crystals and Sumerian Elixir Products
I first heard of Dr. George Merkl and his exotic nutritional supplements -- which were then marketed under the names Life Crystals and Sumerian Elixir, and later under numerous other names as well -- in the mid-1980s, when a small mail-order nutritional supplement vendor in northern Wisconsin from which I occasionally purchased products started listing his two products in their catalog and also started distributing marketing pamphlets making some very wild claims for Dr. Merkl's two products. I purchased his strange nutritional supplement products occasionally throughout the mid and late 1980s and more frequently throughout the 1990s. Eventually, by the mid-1990s, I became acquainted with two persons who had worked closely with George Merkl for many years in developing and producing his exotic nutritional supplements, and, over time, I heard a number of fascinating tales from them about Dr. Merkl and his products, which, by then were being marketed under a variety of brand names, including Life Crystals, Sumerian Elixir, Sumer-Tech, Sumerian Drink, Renaissance Drink, Renaissance Beverage, Vida Force, Vida Source, Vida Lyze, Gaiandriana and Aquagaia. It has been estimated by observers of the fringe nutritional supplement marketplace that at the height of their popularity -- which would be from roughly 1982 to 2003 -- many tens of millions of dollars worth of Dr. Merkl's products were sold in the US and Canada and also in over 48 other countries, often accompanied by claims that the products would, in short order, cure everything from diabetes and heart disease to cancer. These extreme and blatant -- and almost entirely undocumented and unverified -- health claims for a product that had never been approved for therapeutic drug use, along with Merkl's uncanny ability to manage to continually antagonize and run afoul of regulatory agencies -- led Dr. Merkl and some of his distributors into repeated troubles over the years with the FDA and Health Canada, and with several other government regulatory authorities across the world.

Dr. George Merkl was born and raised in the Soviet Union in the early 20th century, where he earned a PhD in physics. In the wake of some serious difficulties with the Soviet authorities in the 1940s just after the end of World War II, he emigrated to the USA in the 1950s, settling primarily in the El Paso, Texas area. He reportedly worked briefly for the US Naval Weapons Laboratory in the field of nuclear weapons research and then went into partnership with a few other PhD-level colleagues in forming a private R&D laboratory which primarily performed contractual R&D services for the US Naval Weapons Laboratory and for other defense-related sectors of the US government; much of his research work was still apparently in the realms of nuclear weapons development and the design of nuclear reactors for use on submarines. He often claimed in later years -- when he had shifted his focus to the field of esoteric nutritional supplements -- that he had been awarded over 400 patents between 1955 and 1980, and that many of them had been immediately classified as top secret by the NSA due to their applicability in defense-critical areas.

Dr. Merkl was badly injured in at least two accidental laboratory explosions during the 1960s and 1970s, and one of them also reportedly left him with severe plutonium poisoning due to inhalation of airborne plutonium particles. Concomitantly, he also developed several chronic and severe health problems commonly associated with aging, including heart disease, and it is safe to assume that his earlier injuries and the plutonium poisoning only greatly exacerbated these chronic illnesses. In the mid-1970s, Dr. Merkl suffered several severe heart attacks, and in the wake of his last one, apparently in early springtime of 1977, he was essentially sent home from the hospital by his doctors to die; they had reportedly advised him that his heart disease was beyond help and that he likely had only weeks to live; he also reportedly had rather severe bowel cancer at the time, with at least one large cancerous mass in his lower bowel. Now, this is where the story gets weird and where the fun begins....

Merkl reported in later years that he had several mystical experiences in those weeks after he had been sent home to die in 1977, and most of these experiences seemed to happen at night, during sleep. He later claimed that angelic beings had come to him during these mystical experiences, and had told him that it was not necessary for him to die from his illnesses, and they offered to guide him along the steps to a speedy recovery. Merkl reported that he accepted their offer, and that he was, in short order, instructed to go out to the field his lower backyard -- it happened to be early springtime -- and to carefully cut the pre-blossom rosebuds off the wild rose vines growing there, and was advised to collect the liquid sap that would emerge from the cut tips of the plant stems over the next few days. He was instructed to process this small quantity of liquid in a modest and simple alchemy-like process, and was then guided to drink it. He was, within a few weeks time, cured of his heart disease and of the cancer, and of a number of other illnesses from which he had also been suffering.

By mid-1977, once he had been returned to a state of good health, Dr. Merkl was then reportedly told by his inner angelic advisors that the process that he had been given to prepare the springtime rose vine sap elixir, while it had been quite useful for him on a one-time emergency basis, was not at all practical to adapt to large-scale production of a healing elixir, and so they offered to teach him an alternate method to create larger volumes of what they claimed with be a very much similar nutritional supplement elixir which would exhibit very powerful healing properties. The process that his angelic guides taught him required him to procure certain organic fruit juice concentrates (including grape, blueberry, black cherry, raspberry and currant) from specific sources and to also procure several dried organic or wild-crafted teas (primarily chamomile, jasmine and oolong) that had been grown only in volcanic soils in certain specified regions of the world (primarily parts of western Central America and South America), along with two or three proprietary ingredients, and to ferment them for several months in a strange rooftop glass-enclosed apparatus -- which he eventually came to call a solar reactor or a solar still -- based upon a design that they had given to him, and his guides further specified that the rooftop solar reactor had to be positioned to allow maximal sun exposure. Merkl later, in both lectures and in some of his writings, often referred to his solar fermenters as syntrophic transducers, for he felt that they, and the process of fermentation therein, lent powerful syntropic properties to his products. He once referred, in a lecture, to his solar fermenter or solar reactor in the following fashion
"My syntrophic transducer is not only able to stimulate solar fermentation, but could also produce electric current and free hydrogen through transducing the lower level energy. ..." In a related 4-page article that he wrote in the late 1980s or early 1990s, entitled Syntrophic Transducer, Merkl also wrote the his solar fermenter, aka syntrophic transducer, functioned by "....transducing scroll waves (free energy braiding into photons) to a higher energy level to control chemical bonding....Scroll resonant energy leaves its signature on everything throughout the whole universe including all forms of life...". Scroll resonant energy leaves its signature on everything throughout the whole universe including all forms of life.This concept, and terminology are, of course, very much similar to, and in fact, almost identical to, that employed by Dr. Terugo Higa (see the following section), the developer of a SAM Type 4 consortia culture called EM, in describing the syntropic or negentropic exotic energy effects, which he called "wave energy" or "gravitational wave energy" of his EM product between 1992 and 1998.

The result of this process was a mildly acidic reddish-brown liquid with a not-unpleasant taste somewhat akin to that of the old patent cough syrups of the early and mid-1900s. Merkl eventually, by the early 1980s (if not earlier) started to market this product as Sumerian Elixir and later as Renaissance Drink, and, much as referenced earlier, over the longer term Merkl and his associates and distributors marketed various versions of this liquid under a number of other trade names as well; a large reason for the never-ending parade of trade names was the simple fact that Dr. Merkl seemed to be constitutionally unable to simply market his product as a useful and nourishing nutritional supplement, and instead, he apparently simply could not refrain from making extreme health claims for his product, claiming that it exhibited drug-like effects in healing a wide variety of diseases. And, since he and his associates had never put his product through clinical testing and clinical trials in order to gain approval from the FDA and Health Canada to market it as a drug, his bizarre and ultimately self-defeating tactic ensured that he was constantly on the radar screens of the FDA and Health Canada, and that he was continually running afoul of these agencies and other regulatory agencies. Interestingly, most of the Merkl products disappeared from the marketplace by 2003, and the very last of the Merkl-inspired products seem to have disappeared from the marketplace by the year 2006. As of today (it is now early 2010), I am not aware of any products using Merkl's Sumerian Elixir (aka Life Crystals, Renaissance Drink, etc.) technology available on the market anywhere in the Western world.

A few years ago, in 2006, after I had developed some useful and rapid non-culturing-type proprietary assay methods for determining the presence of PNSB in liquid samples, I carefully searched my storage cabinets and managed to find some old bottles -- dating back to the 1980s and 1990s -- of Merkl's liquid product that had been marketed under each of several brand names, and I subjected the liquid samples to some tests in my lab. These tests showed in short order that the liquid exhibited a pH below 3.9 and that the acidity was largely due to lactic acid from fermentation, and my proprietary PNSB assays (mentioned earlier) quickly showed that the products contained very significant quantities of PNSB and their metabolites, thus confirming my hunch that the microbial culture that was found in Merkl's nutritional supplement product was a SAM Type 4 consortium. (With this information, along with some intuitive guidance from my own inner guides and angels, I was then quickly able to determine the likely proprietary ingredient that Merkl had used in creating his fermented elixir, and was able, in short order, to brew several fermented products which were very much like Sumerian Elixir (and, of course, Renaissance Drink.)

Since I know a good part of the process that Merkl used in brewing his primary product, which was the Life Crystals Drink (aka Renaissance Drink), and also based upon some of the characteristics (to be discussed below) of this product, it is obvious that Merkl's fermented product did not employ commercial cultures purchased from microbial type culture collection vendors, and rather, the exact makeup of the SAM Type 4 microbial consortia present in each of his batches of fermented product was determined solely by the naturally-occurring microbes present in and on the surfaces of the various natural ingredients that he used, along with the unique array of nutrients and micronutrients available in the organically-grown ingredients used in the formulation. However, this led to some interesting twists and challenges when it came to the marketing of his products, particularly the Life Crystals Drink and the Sumerian Elixir, for each of these nutritional supplement products contained a significant amount of alcohol due to ongoing fermentation by wild naturally-occurring yeast during the active brewing process.

While FDA rules allow nutritional supplements and foodstuffs to contain up to 1% alcohol content and still be classified as nutritional supplements or foods, in general, if any such product contains over one percent alcohol content due to natural fermentation processes, then, with few exceptions, the product no longer falls under the purview of the FDA, and rather, it is subject to the much stricter and harsher rules for the brewing and sale of alcoholic beverages formulated by and enforced by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF). Since most batches of Merkl's basic primary products -- the Life Crystals Drink and the Sumerian Elixir -- contained well over 1% alcohol, and most often contained from 2% to 3.5% alcohol, this fact eventually came to the attention of first the FDA and eventually BATF, and his US production facility in El Paso, TX was eventually classified by BATF as an alcoholic beverage brewery, and his products were likewise eventually classified as alcoholic beverages that could be sold only in liquor stores.

Had Merkl employed tighter control over the brewing process, including use of commercially-available cultures available from microbial type culture collection vendors, along with certain other measures, he could easily have ensured that the amount of alcohol present in these two products would have remained well below one percent, most likely on the order of 0.2% to 0.5%, and he could have avoided much of his eventual hassles with the FDA and BATF.

Dr. Teruo Higa and His Antioxidant-Rich Fermented Microbial Culture
In the 1970s and early 1980s, a Japanese horticulture professor named Dr. Teruo Higa at University of Ryukus in Okinawa, Japan was searching for a potent microbial combination for use in improving agricultural soils and enhancing plant growth without the use of chemical fertilizers. He was well aware that PNSB were already in use all across the world in treating wastewater streams and toxic waste and for odor control, and, in fact, some of his colleagues at the time in other departments at the university (including Dr. M. Kobayashi) were actively involved in using PNSB for treatment of agricultural wastewater, particularly livestock waste, but Dr. Higa was also very much aware that the PNSB microbes, when used alone as a monoculture (that is, a culture consisting only of one species/variety of PNSB) or as a mixed monoculture (i.e., a culture consisting of several different species/varieties of PNSB), were rather fragile and could not function well over a wide range of pH, temperature and other conditions, and rather, could function well only within a rather narrow range of environmental conditions, and that this factor rather radically limited their usefulness in many real-world settings.

Dr. Higa worked for years in his university laboratory to find a way to get PNSB to function together in a manmade consortia with other beneficial microbes such as lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and beneficial yeast, and, eventually, by 1983, he managed to find methods, albeit somewhat technically difficult and arduous, to convince the PNSB microbes to function together in a microbial consortia with the aforementioned microbes. By 1984, as he was, with only limited success, trying to convince Japanese farmers and various agricultural groups to use this antioxidant-rich microbial culture product, he was calling the brownish liquid culture by the name "effective microorganisms" or by the shorthand term "EM", and eventually, this EM culture product was introduced to various Asian third-world nations and elsewhere by two non-profit organizations, Asia Pacific Natural Agriculture Network (APNAN) and International Nature Farming Research Center (INFRC), each of them organizations founded by a Japanese religious group called Sekai Kyusei Kyo (often referenced simply as SKK), which had been founded by Moichii Okada in 1934; these organizations were founded largely to promote adoption of SKK-approved natural Nature Farming practices worldwide.) In fact, from this point until at least 1993, the brownish liquid culture, rich in antioxidants, that was known by the name effective microorganisms and by the shorthand term EM was primarily distributed and disseminated over much of the world by these two SKK-affiliated non-profit organizations.

Eventually, in late 1993, some of Dr. Higa's friends and family members founded a for-profit company called EM Research Organization (aka EMRO), to distribute the product; Higa's role in the company at the time was, of necessity, limited to simply a titular honorary position, because, since he was then a full-time professor at University of Ryukus, and also because he had developed the antioxidant-rich culture liquid in the university laboratories and while on university salary, he was not allowed, under university regulations and under Japanese law, to profit from the marketing of the product. From 1994 onward, EM and some related secondary products were promoted and distributed in commercial sectors primarily by EMRO, and to a lesser extent by an Okinawan for-profit company, Sanko Sangyo (which had, as an outside independent contractual R&D laboratory, helped Dr. Higa find ways, between 1982 and 1984, to convince the microbes to grow together successfully in a consortia, and which continues to this day to produce most or all of the seed cultures used in creating the mother culture for the EM products distributed by EMRO, INFRC and APNAN) and in non-profit sectors primarily by INFRC and APNAN (and via the offshoot Kyusei Nature Farming movement/organization), each of which were/are affiliated with the aforementioned SKK religious organization.

By 2004, there were, along with the aforementioned for-profit and non-profit organizations of the product that had become generically known worldwide as effective microorganisms or EM (and which I classify as manmade instances of SAM Type 4 syntropic antioxidative microbial consortia), a small number of for-profit companies worldwide producing and marketing antioxidant-rich microbial culture products which contained LAB, PNSB and yeast in a consortium (along with, at times, any of a variety of other beneficial probiotic microbes, some of which (such as Bacillus subtilis) also exhibit syntropic and antioxidative properties); the list of these companies include EMRO (mentioned above), SCD Probiotics, Vita Biosa, BM Ecology (aka BEM Ecology), Senong (Korea), OZA, Sanko Sangyo (also mentioned above) and Lanox Korea, and each of them are/were apparently able to trace at least part of their product's early lineage to Dr. Teruo Higa's work in his university laboratory in the 1970s and early 1980s.

Dr. Higa's EM cultures were, from the start, made using a combination of commercial monoculture microbial cultures procured from microbial type culture collection vendors, and this has remained true across the years for the various members of the family of fermented SAM Type 4 microbial consortia culture products that have emerged from his original work and his early publications and teachings in his graduate-level university classes in horticulture. However, it is worth noting that in the vast majority of cases, the process employed for fermentation during production also allows/allowed some wild naturally-occurring ingredients to become incorporated in the consortia as well.

A Final Note: Does Jim Martin's Famed Microbial Culture/Microbial Catalyst Fall into the SAM Type 4 Microbial Consortia Category?
IIn the SAM Type 5 section to be found a bit later on this page, you will be introduced in greater depth to a maverick self-educated inventor from Arizona (he spent many of his later years in Texas) named Jim Martin and the microbial culture/microbial catalyst products (I deliberately employ the plural here because there is a lot of evidence that Martin's culture product evolved and morphed into several different products (each, however, sharing certain common traits) across the years that he produced it, and that he marketed and shared several different versions of his formula, but with each exhibiting certain key microbes as members of the consortia, and with each formulation sharing certain processes/ingredients) that he developed in the early 1950s and actively promoted across the US Southwest from the mid-1950s until his death in 1975. You will find a great tale about the life and times, and the microbial inventions/developments of Texas maverick inventor Jim Martin in an article from Texas Monthly magazine entitled The Old Man & the Secret, by Tom Curtis; you may find an archived copy of this article online at http://www.texasmonthly.com/articles/the-old-man-and-the-secret/

The exact composition of Jim Martin's near-magical microbial soil treatment and soil remediation product/products was something of a mystery, but it is worth noting here that some modern observers have claimed retrospectively that, based upon most reports from the 1950s, 60s and 70s of Jim Martin's microbial culture product and its appearance and abilities, it must have contained not only PNSB but also lactic acid bacteria (LAB) in a consortium (which would therefore, qualify it as a SAM Type 4 microbial consortium).

My own view on this matter -- and I have been fortunate enough to have had access over the years to documents and samples that have not been available to most modern-day researchers trying to divine exactly what Jim Martin had done, and also to samples of a number of successors (all originating from small producers located in Texas) to Martin's products, and I have also been fortunate enough to also have communicated over the years with several producers, all located in Texas, of course, of Jim Martin products -- is that it is highly likely that at least the majority of versions of Martin's culture product contained PNSB, along, in most cases, with purple sulfur bacteria (PSB), while certain other versions may not have contained PNSB but rather other photosynthetic (aka phototrophic) microbes such as PSB and, at times, cyanobacteria (often called by the name blue-green algae).

However, regarding the assertion that the Martin's culture products also contained lactic acid bacteria (LAB), and that it was a dominant member of the microbial consortium, that is, in terms of a presence of large quantities of lactic acid in the culture, along with a concomitantly relatively low pH of below 4.5,  I maintain that there is extremely little evidence that this was so, and rather, there is a lot of evidence -- including particularly the nutrients that he employed as well as the nutrients that he did not employ in the fermentation process, and the ingredients that his successor products employ, and notably, do not employ, and also an analysis of a number of latter-day successor products to Martin's product -- that Martin's culture products could not have contained LAB (nor any other organic acid-producing microbes) as a dominant member, that is, where the culture product exhibited the presence of large quantities of lactic acid, along with a concomitantly relatively low pH of below 4.5. So, yes, LAB may have been present in most of all of the Jim Martin products, but they do not appear to have been dominant members of the consortia, and most importantly, there is no evidence that the LAB were so dominant that the pH of the culture was below 4.5, nor even below 5.5.

Rather, it appears, from all available evidence, that the other beneficial microbes present in the culture beyond PNSB or PSB were not primarily (dominant) LAB nor other microbes that produce organic acids. Thus, I maintain that while Martin's microbial culture/microbial catalyst products may well have contained some LAB, along with, of course, yeast and PNSB, along with numerous other microbes, I suspect that his product did/does largely not fall into the category of being primarily a SAM Type 4 microbial consortia, if only because there is no evidence that the LAB were so dominant in the cultures that the pH was lowered to somewhere at or below 4.5, nor even below 5.5.

Brief update as of September 02, 2017:
Over the past four months, I submitted samples of 13 beneficial microbial products, primarily consumer marketplace probiotic nutritional supplements, to a genomics testing lab for microbial identification of the bacteria and archaeons in the microbiome of each sample using a type of High-Throughput Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) genomic analysis called targeted 16S ribosomal sequencing analysis. One of the samples that I submitted was from a probiotic nutritional product for humans and animals produced and marketed by a small company in Texas that claims to use an original Jim Martin formula/procedure -- handed down to the producer from Jim Martin himself -- in crafting their liquid probiotic product.

The results of the microbial genomic testing showed that this product contained many hundreds of species of beneficial microbes, and that it did indeed contain -- as I had hypothesized for many years -- PNSB microbes and also some PSB microbes, and the testing further showed that while the product did contain LAB (lactic acid bacteria), they were not dominant, in the sense that the pH of the product was around 6.5 to 6.7, and was not lowered greatly by lactic acid produced by the LAB. So, while this Jim Martin product might conceivably be force-fitted into the SAM Type 4 microbial consortia category, I feel that overall it is a far better fit for the SAMT5 consortia and SAMT7 consortia categories, each of which are visited below.

So, the testing confirmed my long-held hypotheses regarding the microbial components of the microbial consortia in the Jim Martin products, and the testing also confirmed to me that the particular probiotic product in question is indeed a genuine product from the Jim Martin "family" of microbial consortia culture products.

SAM Type 5 - Microbial Consortia Containing non-Organic Acid-Producing Microbes and PNSB as Primary Dominant Members
This category consists of microbial consortia that contain PNSB in community with beneficial microbes other than those which produce significant quantities of organic acids (e.g., LAB microbes and others). Typical exemplars of this consortia tend to include one or more species or varieties of PNSB in community with one or more species and varieties of Bacillus subtilis and/or other microbes such as yeast or certain SAM-type beneficial fungi.

Commercial Applications
There have been several waste remediation and odor control products available in the commercial waste treatment and wastewater treatment marketplace which have employed this consortia since at least the very early 1950s, and a few commercial and consumer-type odor and stain removal products, particularly for removal of pet odors and pet waste stains, have at times employed consortia of this type.

Jim Martin and His Microbial Culture/Microbial Catalyst
An Arizona-born and self-educated inventor named Jim Martin developed a strange and magical "soil detoxifying and conditioning" microbial product, an often-times purplish fermented liquid, in the early 1950s, and claimed that it contained special fermentative microbes plus special microbial nutrients, primarily exotic trace elements; he marketed his fermented products at times as microbial cultures, but more frequently as microbial accelerators or microbial catalysts, choosing to place emphasis upon what he claimed were special nutrients, including trace elements, in the liquid, which, he claimed, greatly accelerated the growth of beneficial microbes in any setting . Jim Martin marketed and attempted to promote various formulations of this product across the Southwestern US, but primarily in Arizona and Texas, for use in treating dead farm soils, detoxifying toxic wastes, and in managing odors, and he often promoted his products in concert with any of several various partners and backers. His ceaseless efforts to promote his fermented microbial product started in the early 1950s and persisted through the early 1970s until his death in 1975.

Martin believed strongly that his strange fermented microbial brews could eventually save the earth and revolutionize the fields of agriculture, human and animal health, and waste management. Jim Martin often claimed that his product was created by a special process that employed, among other ingredients, seawater collected from a specific spot on the coastline, cow manure, urine from pregnant mares, and several other exotic ingredients. Interestingly, several observers have pointed out that in the time since Martin's death in the mid-1970s, a number of microbial products formulators and vendors, almost all located in Texas, have emerged with a rather wide range of products all of which seem to be based upon Jim Martin's magical microbial formula; many of the vendors claim this explicitly, while a smaller percentage deny a direct connection between their microbial product and Martin's product. While there is general agreement in the field that there is rather wide variance and divergence across  these modern-day microbial product offerings, it seems that at least one or two of Martin's primary original formulations contained PNSB in a consortium with non-organic acid producing microbes, along with some exotic micronutrients, thus qualifying it to be included under the umbrella of this SAM Type 5 category. (Another variant, as we shall see in the SAM Type 7 section, seemed to contain some varieties of yeast and other non acid-producing microbes in a consortium with PSB and cyanobacteria (aka blue-green algae), along with some exotic micronutrients.)

SAM Type 6 - Microbial Consortia Containing Organic Acid-Producing Microbes and PSB and/or Cyanobacteria as Primary Dominant Members
Consortia of this type are occasionally found in nature, and such consortia have also been used at times, but rarely, in commercial products for waste remediation and pond/lake treatments.

SAM Type 7 - Microbial Consortia Containing non-Organic Acid-Producing Microbes and PSB and/or Cyanobacteria as Primary Dominant Members
Consortia of this type are occasionally found in nature, and such consortia have also been used at times, but relatively rarely, in commercial products for waste remediation and pond/lake treatments, with one likely exception which is noted below.

Commercial Applications
Jim Martin and His Microbial Culture/Microbial Catalyst
I mentioned the Arizona-born self-trained inventor named Jim Martin and some of his microbial culture products from the 1950s and 1960s in the section above devoted to SAM Type 5 microbial consortia. While it appears that some of his early cultures fell into the SAM Type 5 category, there exists quit a bit of evidence (some of it proprietary and confidential) that another oft-used variant proffered by Martin seemed to contain some varieties of yeast and other non acid-producing microbes in a consortium with PSB and cyanobacteria (aka blue-green algae), along with some exotic micronutrients.

SAM Type 8 - Microbial Consortia Containing Bacillus Subtilis with Organic Acid-Producing Microbes as Primary Dominant Members
Consortia of this type are occasionally found in nature, particularly in agricultural settings, and such consortia have also been used at times in probiotic nutritional supplement products and in commercial products for waste remediation and odor control.

SAM Type 9 - Microbial Consortia Containing Bacillus Subtilis with non-Organic Acid-Producing Microbes
Consortia of this type are occasionally found in nature, particularly in agricultural settings, and such consortia have also been used at times in probiotic nutritional supplement products and in commercial products for waste remediation and odor control, and also in specialized waste management products, including microbial products intended for digestion of grease (fats).

SAM Type 10 - Microbial Consortia Containing as Primary Dominant Members Microbes Other Than Those Listed in Types 1-9
Exemplars of SAM consortia occurring in nature, or in the laboratory or in commerce, which fall into the category of SAM microbial consortia which contain as the primary and dominant members only microbes that were not listed yet in Types 1 through 9 (above) are somewhat rare. Perhaps the best examples of such SAM consortia are as follows:
  • Japanese researchers and others have found a consortium of about 33 bacteria in a Burmese salted fermented fish/shrimp (prawn) paste widely sold by traditional brewers/vendors across Burma (Myanmar); the consortium has been found to exhibit significant antioxidative properties and mild to moderate syntropic properties.
  • some consortia found at times on the borders of hot springs and mudpots in the wild (and, it has been speculated, around hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor as well) -- where unique consortia of specialized and sometimes exotic thermophilic yeast and bacteria can be found -- have been found by researchers to exhibit significant SAM properties. However, interestingly, it has been my private observation that if one digs deeply enough into the makeup of such consortia, one can often find  evidence of the presence of thermophilic varieties of PNSB, PSB or cyanobacteria included in the community as well, in which cases the consortia should likely be re-classified as examples of SAM Types 4, 5, 6 or 7, as appropriate.
Email List Group Devoted to Syntropic Antioxidative Microbes (SAM) and their Applications
I (Vinny Pinto) operate an email list group at Groups.io devoted to syntropic antioxidative microbes and to various applications of SAMs; the group is listed below. Please note that the list group is a restricted-membership list group, and thus, once you have applied to join, you will then shortly receive an email from the groups.io mailserver, entitled something along the lines of "Your Pending Membership in….", which will ask you for certain information; you will need to send the requested information (including your first and last name) back to the list group moderators by replying to the message if you wish your application for membership to be approved.

And here is the email list group:
Syntropic Antioxidative Microbes (SAM): Probiotic Microbes (VP)
This list group is a continuation of the SAM-Applications and SAM-Ormus legacy list groups at Yahoo Groups that were operated by Vinny Pinto for 15+ years until the October 2019 downscaling of Yahoo Groups.

The primary focus of this list group is to discuss topics in the realms of the highly beneficial probiotic microbes known as syntropic antioxidative (and often anti-entropic) microbes, aka SAM, and particularly the near-magical probiotic microbial group known as purple non-sulfur bacteria (PNSB), particularly Rhodopseudomonas palustris.
While the name and description of this list group are publicly listed at Groups.io and on search engines, all posts sent to the list group are private and are viewable by list group members only. This is a moderated list group. Further, all applicants wishing to join the list group must state their reasons for wishing to join along with their name and general location, and all posts sent to the list group must be signed with the poster's first and last name in order to be published. We do not tolerate hate posts, and we do not tolerate trolls, nor troll posts.

To join this group, click the "join" link from the group's home page at:

Or send an email to:

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