Date of Award

Summer 8-20-2021

Level of Access Assigned by Author

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Animal Sciences


Juan Romero

Second Committee Member

Seanna Annis

Third Committee Member

Brian Perkins

Additional Committee Members

Sue Ishaq


The main objective of this study is to improve the understanding and awareness of conserved feed spoilage and to develop novel technologies that can prevent it. In chapter 1, we conducted a meta-analysis to evaluate the effects of chemical (50 articles)and biological (21 articles)preservatives on hay spoilage during storage. Multi-level linear mixed-effects modelswere fit including moderators:Preservative Class (PC), forage type (FT); moisture class (MC), and application rate (AR). Dry matter (DM) loss was affected by PC×FT (P=0.045), PC×AR (P<0.001), and PC×MC (P=0.009),relative to the overall effect of preservatives (-0.37% units). DM loss in propionic acid (PropA)-treated hay was numerically reduced to a greater extent in grasses (-16.2), followed by mixed hay (-1.76), but it was actually increased (+2.2%)in legume hay.Increasing ARof PropA resulted in decrease in DM loss (β = -1.34).Application ofBuffered Organic Acids,Other Organic Acids, PropA,and Anhydrous Ammoniadecreased visual moldiness by -22.1, -29.4, -45.5 and -12.2% units, respectively (PC; P<0.001). Sugars increased in treated grass hay (+1.9) and decreased in treated legume hay -0.8% DM, respectively (P<0.001). Microbial inoculants had small effects on hay spoilage since the overall DM loss effect size was - 0.21%. Inoculated grass hay preserved moresugars (+1.47) than treated legume hay (+0.33) relative to untreated hay (x=4.63% DM; P<0.001). In conclusion, organic acid-based preservatives effectively prevent spoilage of hay as influenced by FT, MC and AR, but microbial inoculants had only small effects. In chapter 2, we evaluated the effects of chemical and biological preservatives and ensiling stage on spoilage, ruminal in vitro fermentation, and methane production of wet brewer’s grain (WBG) silage. Treatments (TRT) were sodium lignosulfonate at10 g/kg (NaL1) and 20 g/kg (NaL2; fresh WBG), propionic acid at 5 g/kg fresh WBG (PRP, 99%), a combination inoculant (INO; Lactococcus lactisand Lactobacillus buchneri each at 4.9 log cfu/fresh WBG g), and untreated (CON). Three stages (STG) were tested:treated WBG (Fresh) was ensiled for 60 d(Ensiled), after which they were opened and aerobically exposed for 10 d (AES). Data were analyzed as a RCBD (5 blocks) with a 5 TRT × 3 STG(Fresh, Ensiled and AES) factorial arrangement. Our results show that Ensiled PRP-treated WBG markedly preserved more sugars (250) and starch (190) than all other Ensiled TRT (x=136 ± 16.2sugarsg/kg DM and x=121 ± 6.15 starch g/kg DM, respectively; P<0.001). Due to its superior nutritive value, PRP-treated AES was less aerobically stable than CON (61.9 vs. 90.1 h; P = 0.03). Preservation was not improved by INO, NaL1 or NaL2, but the latter prevented the increase of neutral detergent fiber (NDF)across STG (x=384).In vitro ruminal fermentation of Fresh WBG resulted in higher methane concentration (0.94) and yield (0.27) than theother STG (x=0.84 ± 0.07mMand x=0.23 ± 0.03mmol/g fermented OM, respectively). In conclusion, PRP was the most effective at preserving WBG during ensiling but failed to improve aerobic stability. In chapter 3, we evaluated the effects of application rate (AR) of sodium lignosulfonate (NaL) and propionic acid(PRP)on high moisture alfalfa hay spoilage during storage and its nutritive value. Treatments (TRT; NaL and PRP) were applied at four AR: 0 (CON), 2.5, 5 and 10 g/kg (fresh basis) to alfalfa hay at 68.5% DM, packed into mini balesand stored for 33 d.Data were analyzed as a RCBD(5 blocks) with a 2 TRT x 4 AR factorial arrangement. At d 33, DM losses were decreased by PRP at 5 and 10 g/kg (0.9), vs.CON (6.92) andNaL (6.63 ± 1.13%). Visual moldiness (0-10) and mold counts were also decreased by PRP at 5 (2.4 and 5.30) and 10 g/kg (0 and 2.7) relative to CON (6.0 and 7.13) and NaL (5.85 ± 0.67 and 7.21 ± 0.31 log cfu/fresh g, respectively). Both TRT increased apparent in vitroDM digestibility at all AR relative to CON (x=543 vs 501 ± 12.0g/kgof DM, respectively), but the acetate-to-propionate ratio was higher for NaL at 10 g/kg (3.02) vs. CON (2.89 ± 0.04). In conclusion, NaL failed to prevent spoilage of high moisture alfalfa hay while PRP was effective at doses >5 g/kg. Both TRT at 10 g/kg improved the rumen in vitro fermentation measures of high moisture alfalfa hay but PRP did so to a greater extent.

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