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J Appl Microbiol. 1999 Oct;87(4):583-94.

Anaerobic lactic acid degradation during ensilage of whole crop maize inoculated with lactobacillus buchneri inhibits yeast growth and improves aerobic stability


Aerobic deterioration of silages is initiated by (facultative) aerobic micro-organisms, usually yeasts, that oxidize the preserving organic acids. In this study, a Lactobacillus buchneri strain isolated from maize silage was evaluated for its potential as a bacterial inoculant that enhances aerobic stability of silages. In four experiments, chopped whole crop maize (30-43% dry matter (DM)) was inoculated with Lact. buchneri and ensiled in laboratory silos. Uninoculated silages served as controls. Analysis of silages treated with Lact. buchneri at levels of 103-106 cfu g-1 after about 3 months of anaerobic storage showedthat acetic acid and 1-propanol contents increased with inoculum levels above 104 cfu g-1,whereas lactic acid decreased. Propionic acid, silage pH and DM loss increased withinoculum levels above 105 cfu g-1. Time course experiments with maize inoculated with Lact. buchneri at 4 x 104-2 x 105 cfu g-1 showed that up to 7-14 d after ensiling, Lact. buchneri had no effect on silage characteristics. Thereafter, the lactic acid content of the inoculated silages declined and, simultaneously, acetic acid and, to a lesser extent, propionic acid and 1-propanol, accumulated. Inoculation reduced survival of yeasts during the anaerobic storage phase and inhibited yeast growth when the silage was exposed to O2, resulting in a substantial improvement in aerobic stability. The results indicate that the use of Lact. buchneri as a silage inoculant can enhance aerobic stability by inhibition of yeasts. The ability of the organism to ferment lactic acid to acetic acid appears to be an important underlying principle of this effect.

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