Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) inocula play a key role in the preservation and fermentation of forage crops within inoculated silages. LAB is a significant group of the bacterial community as they successfully reduce pH, inhibit the survival of undesirable microorganisms and control nutrient loss in fermented silage. Ensiled plants and metabolites such as simple plant carbohydrates have been utilized by LAB (homo-fermentative and hetero-fermentative LAB) to initiate the production of organic acids including lactic and acetic acids. LAB as a biological silage additive provides stable feed value and secondary metabolic products during rapid anaerobic primary silage fermentation. They are able to ferment a large number of forage crops and also to reduce pH levels in fermented forages, which helps to suppress the growth of spoilage microorganisms. Furthermore, silage inoculants can enhance silage quality, nutritional recovery and shelf life of the inoculated product. When ingested silage, Lactobacilli in the rumen may degrade secondary plant metabolites as part of the rumen microbiota, along with endogenous enzymes. Also, the forages harvesting time are key factors in the development of essential metabolites particularly carbohydrates and proteins which is essential nutrition for LAB survival and production of organic acids. The higher population of LAB could reduce the pH faster and control of deleterious microbial growth in silage. This review presents LAB function in silage production and the potential impacts of its fermentative activity. In addition, the advantage of LAB additives in silage production is discussed, with a focus on recent literature.

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Published in AIMS Agriculture and Food, v. 6, issue 1.

© 2021 the Author(s), licensee AIMS Press.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0).

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We acknowledged Cooperative Research Program for Agriculture Science and Technology Development supported funds for this research work (Project No. PJ01358902). The project titled "technique development for manufacture of high-quality legume silage" sponsored by RDA, Korea. This study was also supported by the Postdoctoral Fellowship Program of the National Institute of Animal Science funded by RDA, Korea.