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For our english friends and all the other who speak englisch:
to get a first idea of what the works of Raoul H. France and Annie France-Harrar is all about ..

Annie Francé-Harrar

Humus. Life in the soil and fertility

Extract from: "INTRODUCTION", P. 7- 11

(Free-phrased summary of the original text)

This book is the result of almost 40 years of work carried out by Dr. h.c. Raoul H. Francé and Annie Francé-Harrar.

With the term “Edaphon", Raoul H Francé defines the scientific basis of modern soil biology and explains the procedure for creating humus.

On this topic he published “Edaphon – tests on the ecology of the micro-organisms living in the soil” and “Life in the soil" illustrated with many of his own drawings.

The birth of the term “Edaphon”

Raoul H. Francé was an expert on living micro-organisms in soil and on the systematics of protozoans and algae, of micro fungi and bacteria. Together with his students he defined the groups (i.e. communities of microorganisms) living in Edaphon in the years between 1906 and 1920.

Raoul H. Francé and Annie Francé-Harrar examined the most important landscapes in the world:

European soils and tropical soils, desert soils in Africa and Australia, the soils of the jungles in the Near East, India, the West Indies, Central America and a whole string of Polynesian and Melanesian islands in the South Pacific, Egypt and Syria, the southern states of the USA, Florida, the Everglades, Southern Dalmatia, the coasts along the eastern Mediterranean, Turkey, Greece and nearly the whole of the Balkans, Hungary, Austria, Scandinavia and Holland.

Edaphon - a uniform formation

All these numerous tests carried out worldwide showed that Edaphon basically has the same formation over the entire planet which does however differ locally due to climatic and environmental influences. It therefore stands beyond doubt that the fertile regions of the Earth are humus regions. The formation of humus is however incontestably the work of micro-organisms. This process is preceded by the microbe-activated decomposition of all organic remains and by fine erosion both of which form the necessary basis for humus.

The work of the living micro-organisms in the soil

For each stage of humus formation there is a basic biocoenosis which must be present, and there are “facultative symbioses” which can or may be present. However there are often others present which do not belong to a certain phase, which show an incorrect or defective process – usually in rotting – and these must be replaced as quickly as possible by the correct work groups.
Generally speaking, humus is a pure soil, in all events purified by the masses of decomposition organisms, which cater for the break-down of waste materials.
For this reason it does not contain any pathogenic germs which penetrate the soil through liquid manure, waste water, litter, manure and every kind of decaying waste which are characteristic for polluted soils. A lot of unfavourable influences can be detected in a living specimen. These are then confirmed in plant tests, becoming evident in the form of sudden diseases, soil fatigue and abnormalities in growth, flower and fertility.
In the same way however this also means that remedies are always fundamentally possible.

The problem of waste and the use of urban waste in Mexico

In Mexico Annie Francé-Harrar had the opportunity of putting her knowledge of Edaphon and the process of humification into practice by producing humus from organic materials.

The initial problem in Mexico was, as everywhere, what to do with the urban waste.
“Our waste problems are now solved. We monitor the processing of waste in the Mexican towns and cities and take over the necessary laboratory checks to ensure the consistent quality of the final product. In the climate of the cold sub-tropics the “Tierra fria”, as in the town of Mexico, it takes eight weeks to transform refuse, waste from abattoirs, sewage sludge etc. into humus using our method. In the actual tropics it takes only six weeks, in moderate climates (Europe, USA) twelve weeks. In northern climates a few weeks more will be necessary, depending on the amount of sun available.”

In general it can be said that the quickest and easiest way to make humus is by using urban waste, sewage sediments and similar. The average output using both the more expensive and the less precise manual method is approx. 66 per cent; this can be increased to 75 per cent of the initial material when machinery is used. The average moisture content of humus, which is a “living” material, must never be allowed to fall under 40 per cent.
The moisture in question here is not just “water”, but a high-value infusion rich in organisms and nutrients which the plant root utilises optimally.


When processing large amounts of straw, plantation waste, coffee pulp, sugar cane and agave fibres, maguey plants, empty corn cobs, wood chippings, cotton and peanut wastage etc. to humus – materials which are in part very difficult to decompose - it was necessary to find a modus Vivendi which accelerates the decomposition. After intensive tests a fast-working product was developed which was named “Saprofil”. This is of purely biological origin and based on the natural process of cellulose degradation.
Here the duration of the decomposition procedure, which is otherwise not an economically viable process because it usually takes years when left to nature – can be considerably shortened.
Interested parties and ranch owners were given tried-and-tested recipes together with “Saprofil”. At the same time the methods of producing the cellulose humus were monitored and the producer was advised of the best form of application.

In this way thousands of tonnes of cellulose humus were produced in Mexico.
This cellulose humus is microbiologically of a very high quality and has an extraordinarily high edaphonic variety of forms.
Its appearance resembles that of first-class humus produced in a deciduous forest.

The "humus deficit" in farming

Even if all town, industrial and country waste was put together, it would still not be possible to produce sufficient organic substance to replenish the lack of humus in agriculture!

The solution to the "humus problem"

All the large terrestrial circuits continually combine living plasma with dead minerals. This task is largely assigned to microorganisms. The process is many millions of years old and is long since established in all its subtleties.

Is it possible to control this process, which nature carries out very slowly, so that the duration profile meets the practical requirements of gardeners and farmers?
Yes it is. It was made possible by “Petrofil” which was developed by Annie Francé-Harrar.


“Petrofil” was developed in Mexico. Its development was to a certain extent the answer of soil biology and Edaphology to the cry of distress of the wasted soils. In her laboratory Annie Francé-Harrar produced tens of thousands of “Ladrillos", individual slabs of “Petrofil”.
Petrofil has an unlimited shelf-life. One individual slab contains mineral-decomposing organisms sufficient for 1 cbm of compost.

“Petrofil” contains all the microbes required for forming humus after the organic matter is fully decomposed.

"Bolitas": seeds wrapped in “Petrofil”

The same substance is also used to coat seeds which are sown in soils that are particularly lacking in microorganisms.

Soils, in which no organic matter is present, form a layer of earth five to ten years after seeds are sown according to the above method. The only requirement is that water must be available.

When bolitas, i.e. seeds of maize, beans etc. wrapped in Petrofil are sown, the highly active mineral-loving organisms are released and, thanks to their strong proliferation, transform the soil into an organically infiltrated substance.
Of course the first soil created in this way has a high mineral content. But it is at least soil and contrary to its former state already contains a certain amount of active organisms.

Under the microscope you can see how the microorganisms in the zoogloea they have formed often capture the smallest of mineral particles in their gelatine, which they hold on to and digest. They thus transform the soil into an organically infiltrated substance.
This is what gives the soil its beneficial crumbliness.

In the first year

While in the first year the harvest is usually still quite modest, you can at least reckon with the start of soil formation!

Although the feared airless, cement-like structure can be expected with soils with a high mineral content, e.g. clay soils, soil formed in this way is at least well ventilated right from the initial phase. For this reason, roots - even the tenderest of Adventi roots - develop well which in turn is beneficial for the nutrition of the plant.

In the second and third years

The layer which is interspersed with organisms and organic substances now measures over 30 cm. This is the actual living zone of Edaphon. According to our tests, undemanding leaf-vegetables such as cabbage and lettuce can be planted in such soil.
The soil can now be improved by adding the lacking edaphic microbe quota.

In the third and fourth years

Satisfactory crops can be now be harvested.
The soil improves noticeably because the minerals are continually decomposed by the abundantly available microbes and used for the formation of organic matter.

The method for soil improvement using “Petrofil” which is based on the lithobiontic organism groups can be used everywhere even in the dry steppes and semi-deserts, in mountainous and steppe regions – as long as there is a supply of water.

"Edaphon" ("Edafil" in Europe)

This “serum” is a natural biocenosis of the active organisms available in good soil, which are lacking in impoverished soil. “Edaphon” is intended for soils which lack healthy microflora although they may have adequate organic matter.

“Edaphon” is also suitable for compost when the decomposition process has finalised. After this decomposition process the compost must be populated by living, edaphic micro organisms, i.e. protozoans and minute creatures, in order to transform the compost into humus.
These are contained in the “humus forming serum Edaphon”.

“Petrofil” is a special form of “Edaphon”.
In degenerated soils, the structure of which is damaged, the organic matter must be propagated with the help of organism which are capable of reducing the mineral excess. These organisms, the lithobionts, are contained in “Petrofil”.


A further product is “Saprodon” which also plays an indirect role in the production of humus. Saprodon takes over the task of biological sewage clarification so that the clarified water can be used for animals and plants and as industrial water.
Furthermore, due to its rapid activity it can eliminate all foul smells in cesspools, public toilets and slow-flowing sewage pits of various origin.
In conformity with the natural example of the known self-cleaning process of fouled, contaminated waters these can be biologically clarified by “sowing” a particularly active biocenosis of organisms.
They can break down protein, fat, sugar, cellulose, pectin, aromatic substances and alkaloids and transform them into humus.

The interaction of chemical and biological soil formation

Annie Francé-Harrar went deeply into the problem of the two different sectors of chemical and biological soil formation with the aim of finding what is best for the soil and using the knowledge gained in both directions.
This is made possible by a certain combination of “Petrofil” with mineral fertilisers.

But: No method of “refreshing” exhausted soil is viable unless it produces humus.
This cannot be done by the “fertiliser” alone.

The optimistic result of Annie Francé-Harrar’s work

Not only the soils impoverished by “conventional” farming methods but also the former granaries of the old world can be restored to their original state.

In a man’s lifetime, soil which today is regarded as substandard, infertile or lost can be restored so that it is suitable for growing food crops.

Diese Übersetzung hat gespendet:

Herr Schäfer, Unternehmer, ursprünglicher Hersteller der Beinwell-Salbe Kytta ( sowie ökologischer Farben, Gönner und öfter schon mal Spender für France & Harrar.

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