The all time famous LAB (Lactic Acid Bacteria) a basic and magical liquid that will change it all!!
Lactic acid bacteria are everywhere on your skin, on the surface of fruits and plants, in cheese, vinegar, sauerkraut and kimchi. They belong to the group of probiotics. Lactic acid bacteria feed on lactose and other forms of sugar. They are extremely capable at decomposing organic matter and making nutrients such as calcium, phosphorus and potassium available for plants.
In Korean Natural Farming LAB is used to kick start many fermentation processes. In organic agriculture it is used to fight fungal diseases and counteract nutritional deficiencies in plants. In farming LAB is used to control odors in stalls, farms and to clean surfaces. Holistic microbiologists are using LAB to clean laboratories and surfaces which usually would be sterilized with alcohol. LAB is also useful to treat organic residues before composting them, feeding them to worms or animals. LAB can also be used to treat septic tanks and grease traps.
Some recipes allow substitution of LAB with lacto fermented liquids or whey as these both contain Lacto bacilli. The recipe below will guide you on how to make a LAB concentrate.
- 150g of rice (preferably organic brown rice, as more microorganisms live on the surface of it)
- 800 ml of non-chlorinated water, rain water, filtered water or city water that has sat in a container with a wide mouth for at least 24h
- 1 L of organic fresh milk (preferably raw)
- 1 large wine/champagne or any other glass bottle approx. capacity 1 L (green or brown glass bottles are best as they protect microorganisms from sunlight)
- A large glass container approx. 1 gal
- Funnel or sheet of paper
- Place the rice in the glass bottle with help of the funnel or paper funnel.
- Add water.
- Cover the bottle with a cork.
- Place bottle in a dark room temperature place for 2 to 3 days. The warmer the place is the faster the liquid will ferment.
- Burp (remove the cork) briefly every day to avoid an explosion 🙂
Day 2 or 3
- The liquid should have a sour fermented smell, similar to buttermilk or lacto ferment.
- Strain the liquid with the rice.
- Discard the rice in your compost bin or feed it to the chickens.
- Place the liquid in a 1 gal glass container and add 1 L of milk. Cover the container with a lid or cotton muslin. It does not have to be airtight but it should be protected from particles that can fall in.
- Leave the container with the rice liquid and milk in a dark room at room temperature.
Day 4 or 6
- After 2 or 3 days the liquid will separate into 3 layers:
– A fine layer of skin or cream
- The entire contents are strained to separate the whey, that contains the majority of the lactic acid bacteria that we aim to reproduce. The cheese curd is edible as long as the process up to this point has been done with food grade containers and ingredients.
- Once the whey has been separated it is mixed 1:1:1 with molasses or brown sugar and water. This will enable the LAB to be stored, preserved and used as a mother culture to further produce new LAB daughter cultures.
- The LAB can be stored like this in a dark green or brown glass container at room temperature in a dark place for up to 2 years. We store ours in the fridge to ensure an even longer livelihood.
- For 1ha (approx 2 acres) you can then use 20ml of LAB mother culture, 20ml of molasses and 960ml of water and make a daughter culture which is left to rest for 24h. This 1L daughter culture is in turn diluted with 200L of water to apply on 1ha of crops.
- Other dilutions suggest using foliar dilutions of 2%-5% for very young, tender plants and starts, 5%-10% dilution for larger more mature plants and 20% dilution for fruit trees and soil drenching. Mild dilutions are enough to control smells in stables and pens if applied regularly.
- For grease trap, septic and sink/shower trap cleaning do not dilute use the daughter culture as is.
- LAB is used as a dietary supplement for cattle, pigs, goats, chickens and others mixed in with their food or water. Low dilutions tend to be sufficient if provided regularly.
- Always test your final product before using it in a selected area or animal to determine if your dilution is appropriate.
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