Safety and efficacy of <em>Lactobacillus hilgardii</em> CNCM I-4785 as a silage additive for all animal species
Following a request from the European Commission, the Panel on Additives and Products or Substances used in Animal Feed was asked to deliver a scientific opinion on the safety and efficacy of a strain of Lactobacillus hilgardii when used as a technological additive intended to improve ensiling at a proposed application rate of 1.5 × 108 colony-forming units (CFU)/kg fresh material. The bacterial species L. hilgardii is considered by EFSA to be suitable for the qualified presumption of safety approach to safety assessment. As the identity of the strain has been clearly established and as no antibiotic resistance of concern was detected, the use of the strain as a silage additive is considered safe for livestock species, for consumers of products from animals fed the treated silage and for the environment. In the absence of data, no conclusion can be drawn on the skin and eye irritancy or skin sensitisation of the additive. The additive should be considered as a potential respiratory sensitiser. Three studies with laboratory-scale silos were made using samples of easy and moderately difficult to ensile forage. In each case, replicate silos containing untreated forage were compared with identical silos containing the same forage treated with the combination of Lactobacillus hilgardii CNCM I-4785 and Lactobacillus buchneri NCIMB 40788 each at an intended concentration of 1.5 × 108 CFU/kg fresh matter each. The results showed that the addition of Lactobacillus hilgardii CNCM I-4785 at the proposed dose, when used in combination with an equal concentration of Lactobacillus buchneri NCIMB 40788, improves significantly the aerobic stability of the silage tested. This was shown in maize forage with a dry matter content ranging from 30% to 40%.