Section 80
Chapter 79,872

Effect of dry matter content on the microbial community and on the effectiveness of a microbial inoculant to improve the aerobic stability of corn silage

Benjamim da Silva, Ér.; Liu, X.; Mellinger, C.; Gressley, T.F.; Stypinski, J.D.; Moyer, N.A.; Kung, L.

Journal of Dairy Science 105(6): 5024-5043


ISSN/ISBN: 1525-3198
PMID: 35465996
Accession: 079871590

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Silage inoculants are commonly used as a tool to improve the fermentation and aerobic stability of corn silage fed to dairy cows. However, their effectiveness can be inconsistent. Our objective was to determine the effect of the dry matter (DM) content of freshly chopped whole-plant corn on its microbial community as affected by an inoculant containing Lentilactobacillus hilgardii, Lentilactobacillus buchneri, and Pediococcus pentosaceus on improving the aerobic stability of silage. Whole-plant corn was harvested at low (31.80%, LDM), medium (33.32%, MDM), or high (39.44%, HDM) DM content and treated with nothing (CTR) or an inoculant (INO) containing L. hilgardii CNCM I-4785 at 150,000 cfu/g fresh forage, L. buchneri NCIMB 40788 at 150,000 cfu/g fresh forage, P. pentosaceus NCIMB12455 at 100,000 cfu/g of fresh forage, β-glucanase (5,750 IU/g), and xylanase (30,000 IU/g) and ensiled for 20 and 60 d. Data were analyzed as a completely randomized design in a 3-by-2 factorial arrangement of treatments. Fresh LDM forage had a higher concentration of reducing sugars, a less rich, diverse, and even bacterial community, and greater relative abundance of Saccharomycetales than MDM and HDM forages. Silages at 20 and 60 d, inoculated LDM had a more modest proliferation of culturable lactic acid bacteria than inoculated MDM. At 20 d, regardless of treatment, LDM had greater concentrations of lactic and acetic acids. Also at 20 d, LDM had lower numbers of culturable yeasts but greater relative abundance of Enterobacteriaceae than MDM and HDM. For silage at 20 d, HDM silage was more aerobically stable than LDM and MDM and inoculation improved aerobic stability 1.8-fold compared with CTR. For silage at 60 d, there was an interaction between DM content and inoculation. The improvements in stability by inoculation, compared with CTR, were greater in MDM (261 vs. 41 h) and HDM (320 vs. 66 h) silages than in LDM (85 vs. 46 h). The lower DM content and possible slower pH decline in LDM might have facilitated the development of undesirable bacteria and coupled with its greater concentration of reducing sugars and lactic and acetic acids, which are substrates for aerobic microorganisms, might explain the more modest improvements in aerobic stability from inoculation in LDM compared with MDM and HDM. Our findings suggest that the DM content of whole-plant corn affected its epiphytic microbial community and the effectiveness of the inoculant, which improved aerobic stability at all DM but to a greater extent in HDM and MDM than in LDM, especially after 60 d of ensiling.

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