Effects of whey, molasses and exogenous enzymes on the ensiling characteristics, nutrient composition and aerobic stability of maize cobs
The study was conducted to assess the effects of whey, molasses and exogenous enzymes on fermentation, aerobic stability and nutrient composition of ensiled maize cobs. Five treatments were ensiled in 1.5 L anaerobic glass jars over 32 days, namely i) control (maize cobs without additives (CON); ii) maize cobs with sugarcane molasses only (MOL); iii) MOL and whey (MOW); iv) MOW and exogenous enzyme at 0.5 g/kg maize cob mixture (ENZ1) and v) MOW and exogenous enzyme at 1 g/kg maize cob mixture (ENZ2). There was a day effect on gross energy (GE) for CON, MOL, ENZ1 and ENZ2 and none for MOW. There was a day effect in ADF for MOL, ENZ1 and ENZ2 and none for CON and MOW. There was lower dry matter (DM) on day 32 compared with day 0 for all treatments. There were treatment effects for GE, crude protein (CP), ash, ether extract, amylase-treated neutral detergent fibre and acid detergent fibre (ADF). On day 32, the neutral detergent fibre (NDF) and ADF concentrations in CON were higher than in MOL, MOW and ENZ2. At day 32, CON silage pH (4.2) was lower than the pH values of ENZ1 (4.5) and ENZ2 (4.6) silages. Acetic acid levels were higher in ENZ1 than ENZ2 silages. Ammonia nitrogen (NH3-N) levels averaged 25 ± 6.6 g NH3-N/kg total nitrogen, which is indicative of satisfactory ensiling. The MOL, ENZ1 and ENZ2 silages produced more carbon dioxide than CON and MOW silages. The addition of molasses and whey did not improve the nutritive quality of the maize cobs after ensiling. Ensiling maize cobs with molasses, whey and exogenous enzymes resulted in lower DM and fibre levels in the maize cobs, which could enhance intake and digestibility of nutrients when offered to pigs as a component of a balanced diet. Further investigations using higher concentrations of whey and molasses are warranted to improve the energy and protein composition of the maize cobs.
Keywords: Exogenous enzymes, fibre, fermentation, volatile fatty acids