The effects of air stress during storage and low packing density on the fermentation and aerobic stability of corn silage inoculated with Lactobacillus buchneri 40788.


Kung L Jr(1), Savage RM(2), da Silva EB(2), Polukis SA(2), Smith ML(2), Johnson ACB(2), Miller MA(3).
Author information:
(1)Department of Animal and Food Sciences, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Delaware, Newark 19716. Electronic address: [Email]
(2)Department of Animal and Food Sciences, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Delaware, Newark 19716.
(3)Phaseolus Consulting, Wyndmoor, PA 19038.


We determined if a microbial inoculant could improve the fermentation and aerobic stability of corn silage subjected to various challenges during storage that included an air stress challenge and low packing density. In Experiment 1, whole-plant corn was untreated (CTR) or treated (INO, Lactobacillus buchneri 40788 and Pediococcus pentosaceus 12455. Five individually replicated 7.5-L silos, at a density of 240 kg of dry matter (DM)/m3, for each treatment were kept sealed (NAS) for 19 wk, air stressed early (ES, 3 h/wk for wk 1-9), or air stressed late during storage (LS, 3 h/wk for wk 10-19). Inoculation increased the number of agar-culturable lactic acid bacteria regardless of air stress status, but it did not affect the relative abundance of Lactobacillus. Early, but not late air stress, resulted in silages with a higher relative abundance of Acetobacter when compared with NAS. Silages treated with INO had greater concentrations of acetic acid than CTR. Numbers of yeasts were lowest for INO regardless of air stress and CTR-LS had the most yeasts among all treatments. Silages that were not air stressed had a higher relative abundance of Candida tropicalis than air stressed silages. Monascus purpureus was detected in ES and LS but not in NAS, and its relative abundance was numerically higher in CTR-ES than in INO-ES and statistically higher in CTR-LS compared with INO-LS. Early air stress numerically reduced aerobic stability compared with NAS, and there was a statistical tendency for lower stability in LS compared with NAS. Inoculation improved aerobic stability regardless of when the air stress occurred. In Experiment 2, corn silage was prepared with the same primary treatments of CTR and INO but was packed at a low (LD; 180 kg of DM/m3) or a normal (ND; 240 kg of DM/m3) density and sealed (NAS) or air stressed (AS; 24 h on d 28, 42, and 89) for 92 d of storage. The concentration of acetic acid was greater in INO compared with CTR and in AS compared with NAS. Numbers of yeasts were lower in NAS compared with AS regardless of inoculation and they were lower in INO-AS compared with CTR-AS. Treatment with INO improved aerobic stability but the improvement was better in NAS versus AS and better in ND versus LD. Overall, our experiments corroborate past findings showing that INO markedly improves the aerobic stability of corn silage but they are the first to show that improvement can be sustained even when the silage was exposed to regular air stresses and when packed at a low density.