Combined biodynamic 'compost preparations' 502 - 507

Public domain preparation

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About the Preparation -

Preparation name
Combined biodynamic compost preparations 502 - 507
Preparation category
Public domain formulation
Mother tincture made
General description
These six preparations, described by Dr Rudolf Steiner in 1924, are made from yarrow (<a href="">502</a>), chamomile (<a href="">503</a>), nettle (<a href="">504</a>), oak bark (<a href="">505</a>), dandelion (<a href="">506</a>) and valerian (<a href="">507</a>). They are usually added to compost, manure, liquid manure and slurry.

Effect on Plants -

Effect on Soil -

Soil characterisation

Soil leaching (29)

Mineral availability (197)

Respiration without mineralisation (1871)

Soil surface

N2 fixation and decomposition of cellulose was strongest following soil dressings with biodynamic composts. (29)

the release of carbon dioxide produced by the roots and microbes, highest in the biodynamic section. This normally indicates an was the immense decomposition of organic matter. But here there was a greatly increased respiration at the same time maintaining a higher humus content! (1871)

Top soil

Preparations 502-507 can be diluted in the same fashion as 500 and sprayed on the land in the spring or just before or just after seeding (sowing). They make available the otherwise unavailable part of the minerals, especially the phosphorus and potash in the soil. One gets a quick and fast growth of grain, a kind of pushing action, and is enabled to beat the weather. Here we can compete with mineral fertilisers. Analyses supporting this statement will soon be published. This procedure, however, is a two edged sword. For it will, if applied to a poor soil, deplete the soil. It will work only on improved soils with live organic matter. (197)

... the humus content after eight years remained the same in the biodynamic sections as it was under normal biodynamic conditions at the beginning of the experiment. In contrast to it the humus content of the organic plots dropped considerably and even more in the mineral plots. In the organic plots the same amount of compost was applied, with the same nitrogen level preparations. as on the biodynamic plots, but without the compost The organic sections had a higher humus content than the mineral plots, where the nitrogen had been added in an equal amount. So all the plots had the same amount of nitrogen added, but in different forms. Merely by applying the preparations to the compost used in the BD plots over eight years, the humus content had comparatively increased, not only in the top soil but also in the subsoil. (1871)


Abele (1987) using 3 kg soil columns, measured nitrate leaching over 16 days from fertiliser, compost and biodynamic compost giving 45.8 mg, 34.0 mg and 27.5 mg respectively. (29)

A further effect of 500 is a change in structure of the soil, with an increase of porosity. This effect ... is produced ... by the preparations 502-507 if diluted and used as sprays. This was discovered in the laboratory incidentally. It is a remarkable discovery. (197)

Notes and Academic Papers

Fields which do not get manured in one particular year can still receive the benefit of these preparations if we stir them in water for one hour as we do 500 and 501. In fact they are best stirred together with 500. The symtoms of deficiency diseases (manganese, potassium) will disappear... we use one portion (1-2g) of each preparation per four gallons of water. More dos not make the spray more effective, repetition does. (57)

Effects on Compost and Manure -

Inner heap

.. the preparations are applied straight to the dung in the cowshed. .. the loss of nitrogen is reduced 10-15%. In the dry substance .. we have 2% nitrogen compared with 0.7% formerly (192)

Researches have shown that, during the rotting process, the bacterial content of such a manure pile is 10 times that of one not treated in this way. Especially noticeable is the presence of a large number of earthworms (1041)

Enhancement of nutrients and maturation of compost were studied between normal compost heap and compost heap inoculated with biodynamic herbal preparations (BD502-BD507). The compost heap inoculated with BD herbal preparations reduced the time of compost maturity and enhanced the nutrients significantly. The biodynamic compost such as BDC, BDCV-II and BDCV-I recorded for a significant reduction of C: N ratio (13:1, 14:1 and 12:1) on day 105 whereas the compost without BD herbal preparations recorded for high level of C: N ratio (19:1) on day 105. (1567)

[Do...] biodynamic preparations (CMBD treatment) cause positive effects additional to those of composted cattle farmyard manure fertilization (CM treatment)? ..... Application of biodynamic preparations did not cause any positive effects additional to those of composted farmyard manure fertilization. In the CM and CMBD treatments, bacterial PLFA content was 33% higher than in the MIN treatment, whereas bacterial muramic acid (MurN) content was 55% higher. The AMF indicator PLFA 16:1ω5 as well as neutral lipid fatty acid (NLFA) 16:1ω5 were both increased by roughly 80%, as the NLFA/PLFA ratio of 16:1ω5 varied only in a small range around 3.8. This indicates negligible interference from bacteria, suggesting that PLFA 16:1ω5 is a suitable marker for AMF biomass in soil. The indicators for saprotrophic fungi, the ergosterol content and the contribution of 18:2ω6,9 to total PLFA (mol%) were 40 and 60% higher, respectively, in the CM and CMBD than in the MIN treatments. In contrast, fungal GlcN was not affected by the fertilizer treatments. An increased ergosterol/fungal GlcN ratio indicates a shift in fungal community from AMF towards saprotrophic fungi in arable soils. (1612)

Grape pomace and manure compost treated with biodynamic preparations 502 through 507 showed increased ammonium concentration, higher dehydrogenase activity and increased growth response of wheat seedlings in 2002. Compost in 2003 developed a high pH, lost substantial N, and supported less aerobic microbial activity. The biodynamic preparations were not shown to have an effect during these adverse composting conditions. (1645)

Final samples of BD treated compost had 65% more nitrate than the control piles. (1647)

Effects on water -


Humus creation (57)

Odour (191)

Stablisation (301)

Water body

The small particles of manure within the body of the liquid manure ... can be transformed into humus but only under the influence of the compost preparations. The visible sign of this transformation is the change of colour. The opaque yellow liquid becomes clear and light brown. (57)

Most striking was the effect of the preparations upon liquid manure. [Herr Schwarz] had two tubs completely surrounded with earth (but not dug in). In eight weeks the "prepared" liquid manure was odourless and looked like black coffee without any sediment, while after the same time the untreated liquid had not yet settled at all and overflowed in the hot weather. (301)


The effluent changes into a mild, pleasant-smelling liquid manure, stimulating in its effect; the asphyxiating smell of the ammonia is no longer there. After about 6 weeks the the matured liquid is ready for use. When it is prepared in this way there is no rank growth as there is when liquid animal effluent is applied directly. (191)

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