Animal Production Science Animal Production Science Society
Food, fibre and pharmaceuticals from animals
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Changes in carbohydrate and protein fractions during ensiling of alfalfa treated with previously fermented alfalfa juice or lactic acid bacteria inoculants

L. Tao A , H. Zhou B , N.-F. Zhang A , B.-W. Si A , Y. Tu A , T. Ma A and Q.-Y. Diao A C
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Feed Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Key Laboratory of Feed Biotechnology of the Ministry of Agriculture, Beijing, 100081, China.

B Institute of Grassland Science, College of Animal Science and Technology, China Agricultural University, Beijing, 100081, China.

C Corresponding author. Email: diaoqiyu@caas.cn

Animal Production Science - https://doi.org/10.1071/AN15067
Submitted: 13 February 2015  Accepted: 13 September 2016   Published online: 28 November 2016

Abstract

The effects of previously fermented juice (PFJ) prepared from alfalfa and lactic acid bacteria (LAB) inoculants on the dynamic changes of nutritive components in ensiled alfalfa after various ensiling periods were investigated by using the Cornell Net Carbohydrate and Protein System. The third-cut alfalfa was harvested at the budding stage, exposed to sunlight, weighed occasionally to estimate the dry matter (DM) content until the actual DM finally obtained was 347.8 g/kg fresh weight, and then chopped to 1–2-cm lengths. Chopped forages were treated with (1) distilled water (control), (2) alfalfa PFJ or (3) LAB at 1 mL/50 g fresh weight. The application amounts of PFJ and LAB to the fresh forage were 8.73 log (colony-forming units/mL) and 7.32 log (colony-forming units/mL) respectively. All silages were prepared in mini-silos of 100-mL polypropylene centrifuge tubes and kept in an incubator at 30°C, and triplicate silos from each treatment were opened after 1, 3, 7, 14 and 35 days of ensiling. Results suggested that silage treated with LAB and PFJ was of better quality than was the control silage, as evidenced by lower volatile fatty acid concentrations, as well as higher lactic acid, sugar, starch, soluble fibre and digestible natural detergent fibre production at various ensiling periods (P < 0.05), and a lower protein degradation as suggested by the low non-protein nitrogen production (P < 0.05). The effect of PFJ on alfalfa fermentation quality and protein degradation was greater than that of LAB, as evidenced by the lower pH value and volatile fatty acid content and the higher concentrations of lactic acid (P < 0.05). In addition, the cost of PFJ for 1 tonne of alfalfa silage is ~1/7–1/5 of that of LAB. In conclusion, adding PFJ to alfalfa forages before preservation as silage is a cost-effective way to improve the silage formation quality; in addition, its effect as a fermentation stimulant may be comparable to, or even better than, that of LAB inoculants at various ensiling periods.

Additional keywords: additive, alfalfa silage, CNCPS, dynamics, nutritive value.


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