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Fermentation profile and microbial diversity of temperate grass silage inoculated with epiphytic microbiota from tropical grasses

Abstract

This study was designed to evaluate the effects of epiphytic microbiota from Italian ryegrass (IRIR), Napier grass (IRNP) and Sudan grass (IRSD) on ensiling characteristics and microbial community of Italian ryegrass silage. Each treatment was prepared in triplicate and ensiled in plastic bag silos for 1, 3, 7, 14, 30 and 60 days. The γ-ray irradiation sterilization method, microbiota transplantation and next generation sequencing technology were used. Results indicated that significantly (P < 0.05) higher ratio of lactic acid to acetic acid, and lower acetic acid and ammonia nitrogen contents were observed in IRNP than IRIR and IRSD after 60 days of ensiling. Lactobacillus was the most predominant in each treatment at the late stage of fermentation. Lactococcus was eventually replaced by Lactobacillus in IRSD, whereas higher abundance of Lactococcus was continuously found in IRNP. Co-occurrence network analysis demonstrated Lactococcus was pivotal in determining the silage fermentation pattern of Italian ryegrass. According to the 16S rRNA gene-predicted functional profiles, the metabolism of amino acids was enhanced by the epiphytic microbiota from Italian ryegrass and Sudan grass, while the carbohydrate metabolism was accelerated by the epiphytic microbiota from Napier grass. Overall, IRNP had a homo-fermentative process, whereas IRIR and IRSD possessed a hetero-fermentative pattern. The Lactococcus and heterofermentative Lactobacillus were mainly responsible for this. It also confirmed that the exogenous microorganisms that promote the carbohydrate metabolism and inhibit the metabolism of amino acids could be a good potential source to improve the silage quality of temperate grass.

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Acknowledgements

This work was partially supported by China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (2021M691607), and Research and demonstration on the key technology of crop straw and agricultural and sideline products feeding (2019C10010).

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All authors read and approved the manuscript. Conceived and designed the experiments: TS; Performed the experiments and wrote the paper: SW; Sampled and analyzed data: JZ; ZD; DD; Analyzed the data: JL; SW.

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Correspondence to Tao Shao.

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Communicated by Erko Stackebrandt.

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Wang, S., Li, J., Zhao, J. et al. Fermentation profile and microbial diversity of temperate grass silage inoculated with epiphytic microbiota from tropical grasses. Arch Microbiol 203, 6007–6019 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00203-021-02555-5

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Keywords

  • Ensiling
  • Fermentation quality
  • Microbial community
  • Temperate grass
  • Tropical grass