Submitted to: Federation of European Microbiological Societies Microbiology Reviews
Publication Type: Review article
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/12/1996
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Inoculants are used as silage additives to enhance lactic acid fermentation and to better preserve the ensiled crop. In most commercially available inoculants, homofermentative lactic acid bacteria (LAB) have been used because they are fast and efficient producers of lactic acid, improving natural silage fermentation. They also have beneficial effects on animal performance. However, these types of inoculants are not always advantageous. They do not necessarily prevent secondary fermentation by clostridia in moist silages, and they often impair the aerobic stability of grass and small grain silages. Therefore, new criteria for silage inoculants should be established which consider the specific needs of the crop being ensiled. New approaches which are being taken to develop improved inoculants for silage include the following: 1) using LAB isolates which are more specific to the target crops, 2) inclusion of heterofermentative LAB to produce volatile fatty acids to inhibit yeasts and moulds upon aerobic exposure, 3) inclusion of organisms other than LAB in inoculants to inhibit detrimental microorganisms, and 4) selection or engineering of LAB strains to inhibit specific microorganisms. Many of these new strategies for formulating inoculants are being tested, but further research is needed to determine the most successful approaches.