Extracts of forage plants affect the developmental competence of ovine oocytes in vitro

Anna Aryani Amir, Jennifer M. Kelly, David O. Kleemann, Zoey Durmic, Dominique Blache, Graeme B. Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Forage plants may contain secondary compounds that disrupt reproduction in ruminants so, as 'duty of care', proposed new forage species need to be tested for harmful effects on reproduction before industrial release. We evaluated the effects of Bituminaria bituminosa, Medicago sativa, Chicorium intybus, Trifolium subterraneum, Trifolium pratense, Biserrula pelecinus and Eremophila glabra, on the in vitro developmental competence of ovine oocytes. Crude methanolic extracts of each plant were added to the medium (final concentrations: 0, 50 or 100 μg dry extract per mL) used for in vitro maturation of cumulus-oocyte complexes derived from abattoir-sourced adult ewe ovaries. After in vitro fertilisation, we quantified cleavage rate, blastocyst rate, hatching rate, blastocyst efficiency, and total blastocyst cell number (TCN). Extract from B. pelecinus, at 50 μg/mL concentration, increased cleavage rate at (P < 0.05), and at 100 μg/mL, increased blastocyst rate and efficiency (P < 0.05). The other plant extracts did not affect these measures. TCN was affected by stage of development and treatment, but not by the interaction between stage and treatment. Within treatments, TCN was increased by C. intybus (at both 50 and 100 μg/mL) but decreased by M. sativa (at both 50 and 100 μg/mL P < 0.05). We conclude that methanolic extracts of forage plants, present during in vitro oocyte maturation, did not disrupt subsequent fertilisation and embryo development until the blastocyst stage. On the contrary, B. pelecinus appears to improve fertilisation and embryo development. Overall, these observations suggest that these plants will not disrupt in vivo oocyte maturation but further testing is still required, especially for the other stages of the reproductive process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1814-1819
Number of pages6
JournalAnimal Production Science
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 7 Mar 2019


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