Mineral profiling of ostrich (Struthio camelus) seminal plasma and its relationship with semen traits and collection day

A. M.J. Smith, M. Bonato, K. Dzama, I. A. Malecki, S. W.P. Cloete

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11 Citations (Scopus)


Successful assisted reproduction techniques, with specific focus on in vitro semen storage for artificial insemination, are dependent on certain key elements which includes the biochemical profiling of semen. The objective of this study was to complete an ostrich seminal plasma (SP) evaluation by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) among seven males at different daily intervals (day 1, 3, 7, 11, 15, 19, 21, 23, 25, 26, 27, 28) for a period of 28 days during spring (August to September) for mineral profiling. The effect of collection day and male on sperm concentration, semen volume and seminal plasma volume, was explored as well as the relationships amongst these specific sperm traits and SP minerals. Variation amongst SP mineral concentrations, accounted for by the fixed effects of sperm concentration, semen volume, seminal plasma volume, collection day and male, ranged from 18% to 77%. Male had the largest effect on variation in SP minerals, namely: phosphorus (P), potassium (K), calcium (Ca), sodium (Na), boron (B), iron (Fe), cobalt (Co), nickel (Ni), copper (Cu), molybdenum (Mo), barium (Ba), arsenic (As) and selenium (Se). Sperm concentration instigated fluctuations of P, magnesium (Mg), B, zinc (Zn), Fe, aluminium (Al), Se, manganese (Mn) and lead (Pb). Semen volume had an effect on Na, K, B, Pb and Ba while seminal plasma volume only influenced variation in Na. There were fluctuations among collection days of specific micro minerals, Ni and Mo, with initial Ni concentrations being relatively greater and Mo at lesser concentrations. Semen volume, seminal plasma volume and sperm concentration varied amongst males. Sperm concentrations during the initial collection days, 1 and 3, were less than that for days 7 to 28. Significant variation of SP minerals and sperm characteristics among ejaculates and males suggest an association of these specific elements with sperm function and are, therefore, considered to be of potential importance to success of assisted reproduction technology for the ostrich. The relationship amongst sperm concentration and collection day confirms the need to conduct an initial period of collection to stabilise a greater sperm concentration to optimise sperm numbers for artificial insemination purposes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98-106
Number of pages9
JournalAnimal Reproduction Science
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018


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