Spoiled silages can harbor pathogenic and antimicrobial-resistant microbes. The potential of some antimicrobial additives to inhibit certain pathogenic and antimicrobial-resistant bacteria in air-exposed silage was measured using pure and mixed bacterial cultures. With pure cultures, laurate and monolaurin (5 mg·mL−1) caused decreases (P < 0.05) of 4 to >7 log10 colony-forming units (CFU)·mL−1 in Listeria monocytogenes and Enterococcus faecalis compared to controls. Ten-fold higher amounts of these inhibitors were needed to equivalently decrease staphylococci. 2-Nitropropanol (1 mg·mL−1) decreased (P < 0.05) E. faecalis and L. monocytogenes 2.9–3.8 and 2.4–7.2 log10 CFU·mL−1 after 6 and 24 h incubations, respectively. In air-exposed whole-plant corn silage the inhibitors caused decreases, although not necessarily significant, of 0.7–2.2 log10 CFU·mL−1 in L. monocytogenes, staphylococci and culturable aerobes after 24 h incubation, with modest yet significant (P < 0.05) inhibition (<0.1–0.3 log10 CFU·mL−1) of yeasts and molds. Tests for carry-over effects against ruminal microbes revealed laurate, monolaurin, and 2-nitropropanol inhibited methanogenesis by >50% (P < 0.05) after 24 h incubation and inhibited L. monocytogenes and enterococci. The antimicrobial activities exhibited by these compounds may yield opportunities to optimize their use to rescue spoiled silages.
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