Microorganisms naturally colonise every environment, from forage to the human digestive system. Bacteria are microorganisms that can adapt themselves to environmental conditions such as temperature, oxygen concentration, nutrient supply, acidity and moisture content. If we change their environmental conditions, we also change the ability of the microorganism to survive. Silage is therefore a dynamic ecosystem and bacteria are the catalyst for silage fermentation.
But not all bacteria are the same. Indeed, as shown below, there are 3 categories:
- Enterofermentative bacteria which represent the undesired microorganisms. They lead to silage spoilage and/or protein losses.
- Heterofermentative Lactic Acid Bacterial: produce lactic acids as well as co-products.
- Homofermentative Lactic Acid Bacteria: the most desired bacteria when making silage as they are the most effective to produce lactic acids.
So regarding to the bacterial population profile and the fermentation conditions, the level of desired lactic acids produced can highly vary.
Bacteria profile depends on multi-parameters such as the nature of your crop, chop length, harvest method, ensiling practise and the use or not of biological inoculant.