Animal Reproduction (AR)
Animal Reproduction (AR)
Original Article

Feed supplementation with palm kernel cake-based concentrate increases the quality of water buffalo semen

A.X. Santos, P.R. Kahwage, C. Faturi, T. Quinzeiro Neto, J.B. Lourenço Junior, M.R.S.P. Joele, A.R. Garcia

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Feed supplementation can represent a relevant strategy to raise reproductive indexes in water buffalo herds. When diets rich in lipids are offered to ruminants, there is a benefit to reproduction. Considering that palm kernel cake (PKC) and coconut meal (CM) are lipid-rich industrial by-products, this study aimed to evaluate the effect of concentrates made of PKC or CM on the nutrient intake by water buffalos (Bubalus bubalis), to investigate their effects on semen characteristics, and to correlate semen parameters to the supplementary intake of lipids, crude protein, and minerals. Fifteen water buffalos kept on pasture were used as semen donors. The animals received daily dietary supplementation (1% of body weight) for 252 days, and were divided into three groups: Control (n = 5; conventional concentrate), CM-Base (n = 5; coconut meal concentrate), and PKC-Base (n = 5; palm kernel cake concentrate). Aspect, color, volume, pH, gross motility, vigor, progressive sperm motility, plasma membrane integrity, and sperm morphology of ejaculates were evaluated (173 samples). The daily average for voluntary concentrate intake was 4.778 ± 1.233 kg in the Control group, 3.112 ± 0.693 kg in CM-Base, and 4.558 ± 1.077 kg in PKC-Base group (P > 0.05). Diet based on palm kernel cake supplementation had a positive effect on semen quality. The plasma membrane integrity levels were increased in PKC-Base animals (Control: 68.0 ± 19.5; CM-Base: 72.0 ± 22.6; PKC-Base: 82.1 ± 12.2; P < 0.05). In addition, progressive sperm motility was higher in the PKC-Base group (71.7 ± 15.1% PKC-Base; 59.3 ± 20.5% Control; 56.7 ± 24.8% CMBase; P < 0.05). Lower sperm concentration values were observed in the PKC-Base group, but they did not deviate from the physiological standards from 524.10 ± 20.70 to 1,031.4 ± 28.70 x 106 sptz/ml, or of 1,493 x 106 sptz/ml. The other sperm parameters did not have significant differences (P > 0.05). Hence, palm kernel cake-based dietary supplementation for water buffalos provided more lipids and minerals, which intake is related to the improvement of sperm quality, with higher sperm motility and higher levels of spermatozoa with plasma membrane integrity


Bubalus bubalis, coconut meal, palm kernel cake, plasma membrane, semen quality
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