Aims: Acetic acid is considered an important preservative in tropical grass ensiling. The objective of the current experiments was to follow the ensiling fermentation of low dry matter (DM) tropical grass as a model to study changes in bacterial communities during acetic acid fermentation. Methods and Results: Direct-cut and wilted guinea grass silage was prepared with and without molasses. A high acetic acid level was observed during the fermentation of direct-cut silage, and long storage increased the butyric acid and ethanol content if molasses was not added. The lactic acid production in wilted silage was greater than the acetic acid production, but prolonged ensiling decreased the lactic to acetic acid ratio regardless of molasses addition. Adding molasses enhanced the lactic acid content in both direct-cut and wilted silage. The bacterial community, identified by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis, was affected by wilting and molasses addition. Bands for Pantoea sp. and Morganella sp. became faint when acetic acid fermentation was suppressed, and those for Pediococcus pentosaceus and Lactococcus garvieae were detected when lactic acid fermentation was enhanced by wilting and molasses addition. Lactobacillus plantarum and Lactococcus lactis were found throughout the ensiling process in all silage types. Conclusion: Distinct changes occurred in the bacterial community in guinea grass silage because of wilting and molasses addition. These changes could explain how lactic acid fermentation was enhanced but could not help determine which bacteria were associated with enhanced acetic acid fermentation. Significance and Impact of the Study: The study reveals the effects of wilting and molasses during ensiling of low DM tropical grasses and the associated bacteria.
- Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis
- Tropical grass
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology