A programme of study was undertaken to assess the safety and palatability of fermented liquid feed. A series of laboratory experiments was conducted to select an inoculant capable of fermenting liquid feed at 20°C. Whilst combinations of cultures dropped the pH the most rapidly, the Lb. plantarum (PC) strain decreased the pH the lowest. A series of trials were conducted using a rifampicin mutant of Lb. plantarum (PC) to examine the fate of the starter culture. In an experiment using liquid milled wheat the addition of the starter culture resulted in an improvement in the inhibition of coliforms over the control (no inoculant). A series of fermentations prepared using Lb. plantarum (PC) were challenged with potential porcine pathogens at three temperatures (20°, 30° and 37°C) and after the feed had been fermented for different periods of time (24, 48, 72 and 96h). This study demonstrated that fermentation is an effective mechanism for eliminating potential porcine pathogens from liquid feed, However, the rate at which these pathogens are inactivated is dependent on temperature, duration of fermentation and challenge strain. The effect of temperature on the ability of E. coli and Salmonella spp. to survive in fermented liquid feed has implications for the management of liquid feeding systems. A study was conducted to examine the effect of feed form on the microbiology of the young piglets' gut. The benefits of feeding a FLF diet compared with a non-fermented liquid feed (NFLF), a conventional pelleted dry feed (DF) and leaving the piglet to continue to suckle the dam (S) for two weeks post-weaning were assessed. No coliforms bacteria (< 3.0 log10 cfu gˉ¹) were detected at the terminal ileum section of pigs fed FLF compared with 8.5, 8.1 and 6.0 log10 cfu gˉ¹ digesta in DF, NFLF and S pigs respectively. These results have implications in terms of .piglet health and dietary prevention of enteric diseases.

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