Ensiling characteristics and ruminal degradation of Italian ryegrass and lucerne silages treated with cell wall-degrading enzymes

Yu Zhu, Naoki Nishino, Yoshiro Kishida, Senji Uchida

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20 Citations (Scopus)


Two experiments were carried out to investigate the effect of added cell wall-degrading enzymes at ensiling on the fermentation and in situ degradation of grass and legume silages. Primary growths of Italian ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum Lam) and lucerne (Medicago sativa L) were wilted and ensiled in laboratory-scale silos with or without enzymes. Silages were opened at 2, 5, 15 and 45 days after storage; the fermentation quality and the contents of cell wall components (NDF, ADF, ADL) were determined. The 45 day silages were subjected to in situ incubation experiments, and the kinetics of DM and NDF degradation was estimated. The enzyme treatment enhanced the lactic acid production (P < 0.01) and reduced the pH value (P < 0.01) of both Italian ryegrass and lucerne silages. The contents of cell wall components, however, were not affected by enzymes, except for NDF of Italian ryegrass silage. The in situ incubation experiments revealed that added enzymes increased the rapidly degradable DM (P < 0.01) and appeared to decrease the rate of degradation of DM and NDF of Italian ryegrass silage. The rapidly degradable DM was not altered when lucerne was treated, but the rate of degradation of NDF was significantly reduced (P < 0.05). These results suggest that although added cell wall-degrading enzymes could improve the preservation of grass and legume silages, the effects on ruminal degradation may be different according to the herbage treated. Enzymatic hydrolysis during ensilage may be restricted to easily digestible cell walls, leaving relatively less digestible components that would be retained in treated silages.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1987-1992
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the Science of Food and Agriculture
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1999


  • Cell wall-degrading enzymes
  • Italian ryegrass
  • Lucerne
  • Silage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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