Dynamics in the microbiology of maize silage during whole-season storage

Ida Marie Lindhardt Drejer Storm, N.B. Kristensen, B.M.L. Raun, Jørn Smedsgaard, Ulf Thrane

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Aims: To monitor seasonal variations in the microbiology of maize silage and to determine whether the risk of fungal spoilage varies during whole-year storage. Methods and Results: A continuous survey of 20 maize silage stacks was conducted over a period from three to 11 months after ensiling. Filamentous fungi, yeasts and lactic acid bacteria (LAB) were enumerated at five time-points, and cultivable species of filamentous fungi were identified. Significant differences in the numbers of filamentous fungi, yeast and LAB were detected. The highest numbers of fungi were five to seven and the lowest 11 months after ensiling, while the LAB decreased in numbers during the study. Filamentous fungi were isolated from all stacks at all time-points. The most abundant toxigenic mould species were Penicillium roqueforti, Penicillium paneum and Aspergillus fumigatus. Conclusions: There are significant variations in the microbiology of maize silage over a whole storage season. The risk of fungal spoilage was highest 5-7 months after ensiling and lowest after 11 months. Significance and Impact of the Study: This information is valuable in the assessment of health risks connected with spoiled maize silage and may be useful in the management of maize silage stacks, when whole-season storage is applied.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Applied Microbiology
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)1017-1026
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • fungi
  • toxins
  • identification
  • fungi in silage
  • fermentation
  • agriculture
  • population ecology


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