Animal reproduction science

Rabbit sexual behavior, semen and sperm characteristics when supplemented with sprouted wheat.

PMID 22270001


The sprouted wheat (SW) contains the 6-methoxy-2-benzoxazolinone (6-MBOA), a phenol compound that stimulates reproduction in certain small wild herbivorous mammals. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the effect of short-term supplemental dietary SW on libido, semen and sperm characteristics of rabbit bucks. Five-month old New Zealand White pubertal rabbits (n=18) were randomly allocated to one of two treatments: supplementation or not (control) supplemented with SW. The experimental design was completely random with nine replications, experimental unit was one buck. Semen collection for each male was conducted once a week with two ejaculations during 20 weeks. The SW was given during four consecutive days prior to each semen collection. Analysis of variance was under a mixed model: treatment, ejaculate number and season were fixed and rabbit random effects. There was no effect of treatment (P>0.05) on reaction time, gel presence, volume, pH, sperm motility, sperm number per ml and sperm number per ejaculate. The percentage of normal alive spermatozoa was 13.5% greater in SW-supplemented bucks than in the control and the percentage of abnormal alive spermatozoa was 44.1% greater in the control than in the SW-supplemented bucks. The morphology of dead spermatozoa, integrity of acrosome, number of normal alive motile sperm and semen doses per ejaculate were not influenced (P>0.05) by SW supplementation. The proportion of presence of gel and semen volume in the first ejaculate was greater than the second ejaculate (+140% and +56.4%). However, the semen quality in the latter was greater (P=0.0001) than the former in terms of an increase in motility (+29.7%). Reproductive traits were more desirable (P<0.05) in winter than autumn. Dietary wilted SW as a source of biological 6-MBOA enhanced sperm characteristics in terms of a greater percentage of normal alive and lesser percentage of abnormal alive spermatozoa but did not affect the number of normal motile live sperm and suitable semen doses in rabbit bucks in autumn and winter.

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6-Methoxy-2-benzoxazolinone, 97%