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Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2006 Jul;71(3):329-38. Epub 2005 Oct 5.

Use of real time PCR to determine population profiles of individual species of lactic acid bacteria in alfalfa silage and stored corn stover.

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Department of Biological Systems Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, 53706, USA.


Real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) was used to quantify seven species of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) in alfalfa silage prepared in the presence or absence of four commercial inoculants and in uninoculated corn stover harvested and stored under a variety of field conditions. Species-specific PCR primers were designed based on recA gene sequences. Commercial inoculants improved the quality of alfalfa silage, but species corresponding to those in the inoculants displayed variations in persistence over the next 96 h. Lactobacillus brevis was the most abundant LAB (12 to 32% of total sample DNA) in all of the alfalfa silages by 96 h. Modest populations (up to 10%) of Lactobacillus plantarum were also observed in inoculated silages. Pediococcus pentosaceus populations increased over time but did not exceed 2% of the total. Small populations (0.1 to 1%) of Lactobacillus buchneri and Lactococcus lactis were observed in all silages, while Lactobacillus pentosus and Enterococcus faecium were near or below detection limits. Corn stover generally displayed higher populations of L. plantarum and L. brevis and lower populations of other LAB species. The data illustrate the utility of RT-PCR for quantifying individual species of LAB in conserved forages prepared under a wide variety of conditions.

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