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ISSN : 1598-5504(Print)
ISSN : 2383-8272(Online)
Journal of Agriculture & Life Science Vol.53 No.1 pp.85-92

Effects of Hybrid and Inoculant on Rumen Digestibility and Fermentation Indices of Corn Silage

Seong Shin Lee1, Dimas H. V. Paradhipta1, Young Ho Joo1, Hyuk Jun Lee1, Dong Hyeon Kim2,3, Sang Bum Kim3, Sam Churl Kim1,2*
1Division of Applied Life Science(BK21Plus, Insti. of Agri. & Life Sci.), Gyeongsang National University, Jinju, 52828, Korea
2Department of Animal Sciences, IFAS, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32608, USA
3Dairy Science Division, National Institute of Animal Science, RDA, Cheonan, 31000, Korea
Corresponding author: Sam Churl Kim Tel: +82-55-772-1947 Fax: +-55-772-1949 E-mail:
January 11, 2018 March 22, 2018 April 10, 2018


This study was aimed to determine the effects of hybrid and inoculant on in vitro rumen digestibility and rumen fermentation indices of corn silage. Two corn hybrids(Kwangpyeongok (KW) vs. Pioneer 1543(PI)) were ensiled for 100 days with two inoculants(L. plantarum(LP) vs. L. buchneri(LB)) applied at 1.2 × 105 cfu/g of fresh forage. Silages were incubated in rumen fluid medium at 39oC for 72 hours. Both of KW and PI had no difference(p>0.05) on in vitro digestibility of dry matter(IVDMD) and neutral detergent fiber(IVNDFD), while application of LB produced higher(p<0.05) IVDMD and IVNDFD than LP. Hybrid and inoculant applications did not affect(p>0.05) total gas volume, ammonia-N, total VFA, and acetate concentrations in the rumen. Applied LB was higher(p<0.05) propionate concentration than LP, while hybrids had no effect(p>0.05). Furthermore, the interaction effect(p<0.05) was occurred in propionate concentration. Butyrate concentration did not affected(p>0.05) by hybrid and inoculant applications, but there was an interaction effect between hybrid and inoculant(p<0.05). Applications of hybrid and inoculant had effects(p<0.05) on iso-butyrate and valerate, without any interaction effects(p>0.05). This study concluded that application of KW and PI has no effects on in vitro rumen digestibility and rumen fermentation indices of corn silage, while application of LB increase the rumen digestibility in both of corn hybrids.


    Rural Development Administration


    The corn silage provides higher level of energy compared to other forages, which is used to supply the nutritional requirement in beef cattle or dairy cows. Nowadays, many corn hybrids have been developed to improve the productivity, efficiency, and nutritional quality of corn forage. According to Hunt et al.(1993), quality of corn silage was greatly varied by different hybrid genetics due to different chemical compositions. In South Korea, Kwangpyeongok(KW) and Pioneer 1543(PI) are the domestic and imported corn hybrid, respectively, which are the most widely applied in ruminant industry. As domestic hybrid, KW is more adaptive that result a higher dry matter(DM) yield and resistance with local diseases (Moon et al., 2001). Another, PI produces higher quality of grain that increases the nutrient value of whole-plant corn(Buiro et al., 2015). The comparison between these hybrids on rumen digestibility and animal performance was not tested before.

    In the other side, lactic acid bacteria(LAB) play the important role to ensure the quality of corn silage. Application of LAB as silage inoculant stimulates lactate production and increase quality of silage (McDonald et al., 1991). LAB inoculants are usually classified into two groups, homo and heterofermentative LAB, which had different respond in fermentation quality and aerobic stability(Filya, 2003). Previous studies indicated that LAB from silage could survive in the rumen fluid(Weinberg et al., 2004) and potentially increased the digestibility of silage(Weinberg et al., 2007). However, effects of homo and heterofermentative LAB in improving rumen digestibility of silage were unclear, especially in different corn hybrids. Therefore, this study was conducted to determine the effect of hybrid and inoculant on in vitro rumen digestibility and rumen fermentation indices of corn silage.

    Materials and Methods

    1. Corn silage and sampling

    Two corn hybrids, Kwangpyeongok(KW; National Crop Experiment Station, RDA, South Korea) and Pioneer 1543(PI; DuPont, Johnston, IA, USA), were harvested from the animal research unit, Gyeongsang National University, Jinju, Korea. Corn forage was harvested at 30% of DM and chopped to 4-6 cm length. After then, the corn forages were ensiled for 100 days in 10 L mini silo with inoculant applications following: L. plantarum(LP) and L. buchneri(LB) applied at 1.2 × 105 cfu/g of fresh forage, respectively. After 100 days of ensiling, all silos were open and sub-sampled(2 kg) for the measurement of nutrient contents, rumen digestibility, and rumen fermentation characteristics.

    2. Chemical compositions

    The subsampled silage(10 g) was dried at 105°C for 24 h to measure the moisture content. And again, 500 g of silage was dried at 65°C for 48 h, and the dried silage was ground to pass 1-mm screen using a cutting mill(Shinmyung Electric Co., Ltd, Daegu, Korea). The chemical compositions of silage were measured in triplicates. Crude protein(CP) and ether extract(EE) were analyzed by the procedures of Kjeldahl and the Soxhlet(AOAC, 1990), respectively. Crude ash(CA) was determined with a muffle furnace at 550°C for 5 h. Neutral detergent fiber(NDF) and acid detergent fiber(ADF) were measured by the method of Van Soest et al.(1991) using Ankom 200 fiber analyzer(Ankom Technology, Macedon, NY, USA). Hemicellulose(HEMI) was calculated by the difference between NDF and ADF.

    3. In vitro ruminal incubation

    The animals used in this study were cared according to the guidelines of the Animal Care and Used Committee at Gyeongsang National University, Jinju, South Korea. Rumen fluid was collected after 2 h of morning feeding from two non-pregnant cannulated Hanwoo heifers, which fed rice straw and grains mixed at 8:2 ratio. The collected rumen fluid was composited, and then filtered via 2 layers cheesecloth. The measurement of in vitro rumen digestibility was protocoled following Adesogan et al.(2005). Rumen fluid medium was made by mixing rumen fluid with Van soest medium at 1:2 ratio. Dried silage sample(0.5 g) was placed into the incubation bottle with 40 mL of rumen fluid medium. After then, the incubation bottle was gassed with CO2 and closed tightly to reach anaerobic condition. Four replications for each treatment were used along with 2 blanks in this study. All samples and blanks were placed into the incubator at 39°C for 72 h. Total gas pressure was measured by ANKOMRF gas pressure system(Ankom Technology, Macedon, NY, USA). After 72 h of incubation, the sample was transferred into 50 mL conical tube to separate the remained sample and supernatant(rumen fluid medium) using centrifugation at 2,568 × g for 15 min(Supra 21 k, Hanil Electric Corporation, South Korea, with rotor A50S-6C No.6). The remained sample was used to measure in vitro digestibility of DM(IVDMD) and NDF(IVNDFD), while the supernatant was used to measure rumen fermentation indices, such as pH, ammonia-N, and volatile fatty acid(VFA). The pH was measured by a pH meter(SevenEasy, Mettler Toledo, Switzerland). Ammonia-N concentration was determined by the colorimetric method described by Chaney & Marbach(1962). The concentration of VFA was measured by HPLC(L-2200, Hitachi, Tokyo, Japan) fitted with a UV detector(L-2400, Hitachi, Tokyo, Japan) and a column(Metacarb 87H, Varian, CA, USA) according to the method described by Adesogan et al.(2004).

    4. Statistical analysis

    The data was analyzed as 2 × 2(hybrid × inoculant) factorial design with 4 replicates per treatment through procedure of Statistical Analysis System 9.3 (SAS, 2002). Mean separation was performed by Tukey’s test. The significant differences were declared at p<0.05.

    Results and Discussion

    The chemical compositions of KW and PI ensiled for 100 d with inoculant applications were presented in Table 1. The mean of chemical composition in KW compared to PI silages from two inoculant applications were DM 28.4 vs 26.7%, CP 8.62 vs 9.61%, EE 3.86 vs 3.78%, CA 6.85 vs 5.96%, NDF 47.0 vs 47.3, ADF 25.9 vs 27.1%, and HEMI 21.1 vs 20.2%. In the other side, the mean of chemical compositions in LP compared to LB silages from two corn hybrids were DM 27.3 vs 27.8%, CP 9.24 vs 8.99%, EE 3.75 vs 3.89%, CA 6.44 vs 6.37%, NDF 47.0 vs 47.3%, ADF 26.2 vs 26.7%, and HEMI 20.8 vs 20.6%.

    The effects of hybrid and inoculant on in vitro digestibility of corn silage were shown in Table 2. Applied LB had higher IVDMD(P=0.002; 65.3 vs 61.1%) and IVNDFD(P=0.005; 55.7 vs 51.9%), while the hybrids application had no effect(p>0.05). The interaction between hybrid and inoculant was not found(p>0.05) in IVDMD and IVNDFD. Some of LAB has ability to produce fibrinolytic enzymes, which can increase digestibility of silage(Nsereko et al., 2008;Adesogan et al., 2014). Applied LB in our corn silages might show fibrinolytic activity. Nsereko et al.(2008) explained that several strains of LB were able to produce ferulate esterase as fibrinolytic enzymes to breakdown the lignin linkage, which increase rumen digestibility. Cleavage of esterified linkages within the plant cell wall matrix is one of the ways increasing the extent of cell wall digestion in rumen(Wang & McAllister, 2002). On the other hand, Weinberg et al.(2007) reported that several LAB strains potentially increased rumen digestibility of silages due to the beneficial interaction with rumen ecosystem. In previous studies, application of bacterial inoculants also had various effects on rumen digestibility of silages(Aksu et al., 2004;Arriola et al., 2011;Basso et al., 2014). Improvement of rumen digestibility by LAB depended on rumen pH, substrates or feeds, and strain and dose of LAB(Jiao et al., 2017).

    The effects of hybrid and inoculant on rumen fermentation indices of corn silage were shown in Table 3. Both of hybrid and inoculant had no effects (p>0.05) on rumen pH, total gas volume, ammonia-N, and total VFA. During the rumen fermentation, the rumen pH was influenced by concentration of VFA (Hobson & Stewart, 1997) and ammonia-N(Bach et al., 2005). Therefore, without any effect on VFA or ammonia-N concentrations by hybrid and inoculant the rumen pH would not affected in this present study. In the VFA profiles, concentration of acetate did not affected(p>0.05) by hybrid and inoculant. In the VFA profiles, concentration of acetate did not affected(p>0.05) by hybrid and inoculant. The concentration of propionate in LB was higher(P=0.001; 26.7 vs 24.6%) than LP, while hybrid had no effect (p>0.05). Butyrate concentration did not affected (p>0.05) by hybrid and inoculant. The interaction between hybrid and inoculant was found(P=0.006) only in propionate and butyrate. Furthermore, inoculated corn hybrids with LP resulted in higher valerate (p<0.05; 1.38 vs 1.30%). The acetate to propionate ratio in LP was higher(p<0.05; 2.54 vs 2.26) than LB, while hybrid applications had no effect(p>0.05).

    The higher propionates concentration in LB might be occurred due to fibrinolytic activity effects, which provided more soluble carbohydrate by degrading structure carbohydrate in corn silage. According to Sutton et al.(2003), concentration of propionate in the rumen reflected the digestibility of structural carbohydrate. It is indicated that higher structural carbohydrate in animal feed increase propionate concentration in the rumen. In general results, application of hybrids had no effects on rumen digestibility and rumen fermentation indices of corn silage. Applied hybrids only affected minor VFA profiles, such as iso-butyrate and valerate. Applied KW as silage had higher concentration of iso-butyrate (p<0.001; 0.41 vs 0.33%) and valerate(p<0.001; 1.39 vs 1.29%) than PI, while inoculated corn hybrids with LP also resulted in higher valerate(p<0.003; 1.38 vs 1.30%). The acetate to propionate ratio in LP was higher(P=0.002; 2.54 vs 2.26) than LB, while hybrid had no effect(p>0.05). Previous studies reported that application of different hybrids also resulted in different rumen digestibility of corn silage(Andrae et al., 2001;Der Bedrosian et al., 2012). However, the effects on animal performance might be similar (Ballard et al., 2001). In the other studies, Bal et al.(2000) reported that comparison between grain corn hybrid(Pioneer 3563) and leafy corn hybrid (Mycogen TMF 106) had no differences on rumen digestibility of DM, NDF, and starch. However, comparison between brown midrib corn hybrid(Cargill 657) and conventional corn hybrid(Pioneer 3563) showed the different on rumen digestibility. Various effects on rumen digestibility may be influenced by large difference of chemical composition from each hybrid(Hunt et al., 1993).

    The comparison between KW and PI had no different on IVDMD, IVNDFD, and rumen fermentation indices. In addition, all corn hybrids inoculated with LB had higher IVDMD, IVNDFD, and propionate concentration than LP. The interaction between hybrid and inoculant was found only in propionate and butyrate concentration. This study is concluded that application of hybrid has no effects on in vitro rumen digestibility and rumen fermentation indices, while application of LB is recommended to improve rumen digestibility in both of corn hybrids.


    This research was performed with the support of “Cooperative Research Program for Agriculture Science & Technology Development(Project No. PJ013869022 019)” Rural Development Administration, South Korea.



    Chemical compositions of corn silages ensiled for 100 days (%, DM)

    Effects of hybrid and inoculant on in vitro digestibility of corn silage incubated with rumen fluid for 72 hours

    Effects of hybrid and inoculant on fermentation indices of corn silage incubated with rumen fluid for 72 hours


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