Overcoming physical and chemical constraints to short and long-term storage of spermatozoa from the emu (Dromaisu novaehollandiae)

Sushil Sood

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

    488 Downloads (Pure)


    [Truncated abstract] Emu farming is based on natural mating that is constrained by a short breeding season, monogamy, and male broodiness. These compel farmers to retain an excess of males and prevent the mating of elite males with large numbers of females, arresting chance of rapid genetic improvement and limiting the future development of industry. A solution is to replace natural mating with artificial insemination (AI), a technology that has enabled other bird industries to develop lines to match management and market needs. However, to be successful, AI requires reliable protocols for storage of semen either in liquid or frozen form. To date, the protocols for the emu have been less than ideal, with short durations of storage and poor sperm survival.

    The general aim of these studies was to improve the outcomes for emu spermatozoa during liquid storage and cryopreservation. We hypothesised that sperm would be better preserved if we optimised the physical and chemical conditions of the storage and freezing protocols. With respect to liquid storage, the study evaluated the effects of semen exposure to low temperatures (5, 10 or 20 °C) during collection and the effects of three storage temperatures (5, 10 or 20 °C) on the sperm survival for 24 – 48 h. Neither the collection temperature nor the interactions with storage time or storage temperature had any effect on sperm viability, motility or morphology suggesting that emu semen may be collected at ambient temperatures (5 to 20 °C) typical of the breeding season. On the other hand, both storage temperature and storage time affected sperm viability, motility and morphology. After 48 h, the percentages of viable, normal and motile sperm did not differ significantly at 5 and 10 °C, and higher than at 20 °C. Beyond 6 h of storage, there was a higher percentage of abnormal sperm at 5 °C than at 10 and 20 °C, suggesting that emu semen is better preserved at 10 °C than 5 or 20 °C over 48 h storage.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2011


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