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

Can feed supplementation of the refined vegetable oils enhance the seminal quality of rabbit bucks (Oryctolagus cuniculus)?

Aly Bassunny Okab, Talaat Mohammed Nasser, Sabah Gaber El-Banna, Mostafa Abdelsattar Ayoub, Emad Mohammed Samara, Ahmed Abrahim Al-Haidary

Downloads: 2
Views: 1095


Exploring new feeding strategies are a necessary aspect for improving the reproductive performance in rabbits. Twenty healthy rabbit bucks with a mean live body weight of 1.01 kg (SD = 0.12) and age of 6 months old were used for a period of 17 weeks to examine the influence of feeding soybean and sunflower oils on their reproductive performance. Rabbits were randomly assigned into 4 groups (5 bucks/group), where bucks in the 1st group, served as a control, were fed for 14 weeks on a standard ration without any oil supplementation, while bucks in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th groups received -on the basis of the inclusion rate- a ration supplemented with 3% soybean oil, 3% sunflower oil, and 1.5% soybean oil plus 1.5% sunflower oil, respectively. Climatic, bio-physiological, blood and seminal measurements were all been determined. The obtained results suggested that offering rations supplemented with soybean and/or sunflower oils at the level of 3% of DM to rabbit bucks had no impacts on their health status, based on the findings that feed conversion ratio, blood hematology as well as liver and kidney functions were all not altered; thereby, indicating that the refined vegetable oils can be safely supplemented into rabbits rations. Most importantly, the collected evidences proposed that supplementing vegetable oil-enriched rations to rabbit bucks during their adulthood may demonstrate subsequent positive influences on their reproductive characteristics as early as the 3rd/4th week after feeding on such oils. This was generally manifested by the higher (P < 0.05) sperm concentration, total sperm output, percentage of motile sperms, as well as the lower (P < 0.05) percentages of dead and altered acrosomal sperms that observed in bucks compared to their control twins. Based on the obtained results herein, feeding rations supplemented with soybean and/or sunflower oils at the level of 3% of DM to rabbit bucks during their adulthood would produced an acceptable semen quality compared to the control bucks. Research dealing with such aspect may improve our understanding of the nutritional requirements and production of rabbits. However, further researches are definitely imperative because of the number of bucks per group was considerably low in the current experiment.


physiology, rabbits, reproduction, semen, soybean oil, sunflower oil.


Ahluwalia B, Pincus G, Holman RT. 1967. Essential fatty acid deficiency and its effects upon reproductive organs of male rabbits. J Nutr, 92:205-214.

Aitken RJ, Harkiss D, Buckingham D. 1993. Relationship between iron-catalysed lipid peroxidation potential and human sperm function. J Reprod Fertil, 98:257-265.

Al-Athari AK, Watkins BA. 1988. Distribution of trans and cis 18:1 fatty acid isomers in chicks fed different fats. Poult Sci, 67:778-786.

Al-Daraji HJ, Al-Mashadani HA, Al-Hayani WK, Al-Hassani AS, Mirza HA. 2010. Effect of ω3 and ω6 fatty acid supplemented diets on semen quality in Japanese quail (Coturnix coturnix japonica). Int J Poult Sci, 9:656-663.

Attia YA, Burke WH, Yamani KA. 1994. Response of broiler breeder hens to forced molting by hormonal and dietary manipulation. Poult Sci, 73:245-258.

Ayyat MS. 1991. Growth and carcass production performance of growing rabbits as affected by dietary energy level. Zagazig J Agric Res, 18:109-122.

Baião NC, Lara LJC. 2005. Oil and fat in broiler nutrition. Braz J Poult Sci, 7:129-141.

Baldini M, Giovanardi R, Vannozzi GP. 2000. Effects of different water availability on fatty acid composition of the oil in standard and high oleic sunflower hybrids. In: Proceedings of the 15th International Sunflower Conference, 2000, Toulouse, France. Toulouse, France: ISA. pp. 79-84.

Beynen AC. 1988. Dietary fat levels and growth performance by rabbits. J Appl Rabbit Res, 11:21-24.

Blesbois E, Lessire M, Grasseau I, Hallouis JM, Hermier D. 1997. Effect of dietary fat on the fatty acid composition and fertilizing ability of fowl semen. Biol Reprod, 56:1216-1220.

Bongalhardo DC, Leeson S, Buhr MM. 2009. Dietary lipids differentially affect membranes from different areas of rooster sperm. Poult Sci, 88:1060-1069.

Brun JM, Theau-Clément M, Bolet G. 2002. The relationship between rabbit semen characteristics and reproductive performance after artificial insemination. Anim Reprod Sci, 70:139-149.

Burr GO, Burr MM. 1930. On the nature and the role of the fatty acids essential in nutrition. J Biol Chem, 86:587-621.

Calvani M, Benatti P. 2003. Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFA). Sigma tau SPA Sci Dept. pp. 11-26. Available on: 20-%20Feb%202K3.pdf.

Caputo FA, Mattes RD. 1992. Human dietary responses to covert manipulations of energy, fat and carbohydrate in a midday meal. Am J Clin Nutr, 56:36- 43.

Castellini C, Lattaioli P. 1999. Effect of number of motile sperms inseminated on reproductive performance of rabbit does. Anim Reprod Sci, 57:111-120.

Castellini C, Lattaioli P, Moroni M, Minelli A. 2000. Effect of seminal plasma on the characteristics and fertility of rabbit spermatozoa. Anim Reprod Sci, 63:275-282.

Castellini C, Dal Bosco A, Mugnai C. 2003. Oxidative status and semen characteristics of rabbit bucks as affected by dietary vitamin E, C and ω3 fatty acids. Reprod Nutr Dev, 43:41-53.

Castellini C. 2007. Reproductive activity and welfare of rabbit does. Ital J Anim Sci, 6:743-747.

Cerolini S, Mangiagalli PSG, Gavalchini LG, Noble RC. 2000. Effect of ω3 and ω6 fatty acid supplemented diet and vitamin E level on semen quality in cockerels. Br Poult Sci, 41:8-10.

Cheeke PR, Cunha TJ. 1987. Rabbit Feeding and Nutrition. Orlando, FL: Academic Press. 376 pp.

Christ B, Lange K, Jeroch H. 1996. Effect of dietary fat on fat content and fatty acid composition of does milk. In: Proceedings of the 6th World Rabbit Congress, 1996, Lempdes, France. Lempdes, France: WRSA. pp. 135-138.

Cobos A, Cambero MI, Orodonez JA, de la Hoz L. 1993. Effect of fat- enriched diets on rabbit meat fatty acid composition. J Sci Food Agric, 62:83-88.

Coppock CE, Wilks DL. 1991. Supplemental fat in high-energy rations for lactating cows: effects on intake, digestion, milk yield, and composition. J Anim Sci, 69:3826-3837.

Esmaeili V, Shahverdi AH, Alizadeh AR, Alipour H, Towhidi A. 2012. Fatty acid profiles of ram’s sperm after removing some fatty acid sources from the diets and persistency of fatty acids in sperm. Int J Fertil Steril, 5:211-216.

Estienne MJ, Harper AF, Grawford RJ. 2008. Dietary supplementation with a source of omega-3 fatty acids increases sperm number and the duration of ejaculation in boars. Theriogenology, 70:70-76.

Fernandez C, Fraga MJ. 1992. The effect of sources and inclusion level of fat on growth performance. J Appl Rabbit Res, 15:1071-1078.

Fernández-Carmona J, Pascual JJ, Cervera C. 2000. The use of fat in rabbit diets. In: Proceedings of the 7th World Rabbit Congress, 2000, Valencia. Spain. Valencia, Spain: WRSA. pp. 29-59.

Fleming AD, Yanagimachi R. 1984. Evidence suggesting the importance of fatty acids and the fatty acid moieties of sperm membrane phospholipids in the acrosome reaction of guinea pig spermatozoa. J Exp Zool, 229:485-489.

Ghonim AIA, Awad AL, El Moustafa KEM. 2010. Effect of feeding different levels of energy and crude protein on semen quality and fertility of domyati ducks. Egypt Poult Sci, 30:583-600.

Guesnet P, Pascal G, Durand G. 1986. Dietary alinolenic acid deficiency in the rat: effects on reproduction and postnatal growth. Reprod Nutr Dev, 26:969-985.

Hagen DR, Gilkey AL, Foote RH. 2002. Spermatozoal velocity and motility and relationship to fertility in the rabbit inseminated with low sperm numbers. World Rabbit Sci, 10:135-140.

Hossain MDS, Tareq KMA, Hammano KI, Tsujii H. 2007. Effect of fatty acids on boar sperm motility, viability and acrosome reaction. Reprod Med Biol, 6:235-239.

Hui YH. 1996. Bailey's Industrial Oil and Fat Products, Edible Oil and Fat Products: Processing Technology. 5th ed. New York, NY: Wiley Publ. 708 pp.

James WPT. 1988. Healthy Nutrition: Preventing Nutrition-related diseases in Europe. Copenhagen: WHO Regional Office for Europe. pp. 4-6. (WHO Regional Publications. European series, 24).

Kelso KA, Cerolini S, Speake BK, Cavalchini LG, Noble RC. 1997. Effects of dietary supplementation with a-linolenic acid on the phospholipid fatty acid composition and quality of spermatozoa in cockerel from 24 to 72 weeks of age. J Reprod Fertil, 110:53-59.

Keteslegers JM, Maiker D, Maes M, Underwood LE, Thissen JP. 1995. Nutritional regulation of insulin-like growth factor-1. Metabolism, 10:50-57.

Lenzi A, Gandini L, Maresca V, Rago R, Sgrò P, Dondero F, Picardo M. 2000. Fatty acid composition of spermatozoa and immature germ cell. Mol Hum Reprod, 6:226-231.

Mann T. 1948. Fructose content and fructolysis in semen. Practical application in evaluation of semen quality. J Agric Sci, 38:323-331.

Martin GB, Tjondronegoro S, Blackberry MA. 1994. Effects of nutrition on testicular size and the concentrations of gonadotrophins, testosterone and inhibin in plasma of mature male sheep. J Reprod Fertil, 101:121-128.

Martin GB, Blache D, Miller DW, Vercoe PE. 2010. Interactions between nutrition and reproduction in the management of the mature male ruminant. Animal, 4:1214-1226.

Marzouki ZMH, Coniglio JG. 1982. Effect of essential fatty acid deficiency on lipids of rat Sertoli and germinal cells. Biol Reprod, 27:312-315.

McDonald P, Edwards RA, Greenhalgh JFD, Morgan CA, Sinclair LA, Wilkinson RG (Ed.). 2011. Animal Nutrition. 7th ed. Harlow, Essex, UK: Prentice Hall/Pearson. 692 pp.

Menon NK, Moore C, Dhopeshwarker GA. 1981. Effect of essential fatty acid deficiency on maternal, placental, and fetal rat tissues. J Nutr, 111:1602-1610.

Naseem M, Goh YM, Hafandi A, Amal NM, Kufli CN, Rajion MA. 2007. Effects of vitamin E and soybean oil supplementation on sperm parameters in male Sprague-Dawley rats. Trop Biomed, 24:45-48.

Nissen HP, Kreysel HW. 1983. Polyunsaturated fatty acids in relation to sperm motility. Andrologia, 15:264- 269.

Palmquist DL, Jenkins TC. 1980. Fat in lactation rations: review. J Dairy Sci, 63:1-14.

Parlanti IA, Orellana LC. 1985. The influence of an essential fatty acid deficient-diet on the reproductive performance of female rats. Reprod Nutr Dev, 25:851- 860.

Pascual J, Cervera C, Blas E, Fernández-Carmona J. 1999. Effect of high fat diets on the performance, milk yield and milk composition of multiparous rabbit does. Anim Sci, 68:151-162.

Piles M, Tusell L, Lavara R, Baselga M. 2013. Breeding programmes to improve male reproductive performance and efficiency of insemination dose production in paternal lines: feasibility and limitations. World Rabbit Sci, 21:61-75.

Poulos A, Darin-Bennett A, White IG. 1973. The phospholipid- bound fatty acids and aldehydes of mammalian spermatozoa. Comp Biochem Physiol, 46:541-549.

Ravel D, Chambaz J, Pepin D, Manier MCh, Bereziat G. 1985. Essential fatty acid interconversion during gestation in the rat. Biochem Biophys Acta, 833:161-164.

Rocha AAD, Cunha ID, Ederli BB, Albernaz AP, Quirino CR. 2009. Effect of daily food supplementation with essential fatty acids on canine semen quality. Reprod Domest Anim, 44:313-315.

Samadian F, Towhidi A, Rezayazdi K, Bahreini M. 2010. Effects of dietary n-3 fatty acids on characteristics and lipid composition of ovine sperm. Animal, 4:2017- 2022.

Santoma G, de Blas JC, Carabafio RM, Fraga MJ. 1987. The effects of different fats and their inclusion level in diets for growing rabbits. Anim Prod, 45:291- 300.

Scaife JR, Moyo J, Galbraith H, Michie W, Campbell V. 1994. Effect of different dietary supplemental fats and oils on the tissue fatty acid composition and growth of female broilers. Br Poult Sci, 35:107-118.

Sener E, Yıldız M. 2003. Effect of the different oil on growth performance and body composition of Rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss W., 1792) juveniles. Turk J Fish Aquat Sci, 3:111-116.

Smith JT, Mayer DT. 1955. Evaluation of sperm concentration by the haemocytometer method. Fertil Steril, 6:271-275.

Soliman AZ, Ghazalah AA, El-Abbady MR, Aba-ElSamee MO. 1999. Broiler performance is affected by crude protein, metabolizeable energy and fat during hot summer season. Egypt J Nutr Feeds, 2(spec issue):621- 631.

Squires EL. 2006. The role of ω3 and ω6 fatty acids in regulation of reproductive function in horses. J Anim Sci, 85:492-493.

Strzezek J, Fraser L, Kuklinska M, Dziekonska A, Lecewicz M. 2004. Effects of dietary supplementation with polyunsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants on biochemical characteristics of boar semen. Reprod Biol, 4:271-287.

Suleiman SA, Ali ME, Zaiu ZMS, El-Malik EMA, Nasr MA. 1996. Lipid peroxidation and human sperm motility: protective role of vitamin E. J Androl, 17:530-537.

Theau-Clément M, Ailloud E, Sanchez A, Saleil G, Brun JM. 2016. Relationships between rabbit semen characteristics and fertilizing ability after insemination. Animal, 10:426-431.

Thomas CD, Peters JC, Reed GW, Abumrad NN, Sun M, Hill JO. 1992. Nutrient balance and energy expenditure during ad libitum feeding on high fat and high carbohydrate diets in humans. Am J Clin Nutr, 55:934-942.

Vieira SL, Viola ES, Berres J, Coneglian JLB, Freitas DM, Bortolini TCK. 2006. Water intake and digestive metabolism of broilers fed all-vegetable diets containing acidulated soybean soapstock. Braz J Poult Sci, 8:159-165.

Vrablik TL, Watts JL. 2013. Polyunsaturated fatty acid derived signaling in reproduction and development: insights from Caenorhabditis elegans and Drosophila melanogaster. Mol Reprod Dev, 80:244-259.

Waterhouse KE, Hofmo PO, Tverdal A, Miller Jr RR. 2006. Within and between breed differences in freezing tolerance and plasma membrane fatty acid composition of boar sperm. Reproduction, 131:887-894.

Wathes DC, Abayasekara DRE, Aitken RJ. 2007. Polyunsaturated fatty acids in male and female reproduction. Biol Reprod, 77:190-201.

Whitney MB, Hess BW, Burgwald-Balstad LA, Sayer JL, Tsopito CM, Talbott CT, Hallford DM. 2000. Effects of supplemental soybean oil level on in vitro digestion and performance of pre pubertal beef heifers. J Anim Sci, 78:504-514.

Yaakub H, Masnindah M, Shanthi G, Sukardi S, Alimon AR. 2009. The effects of palm kernel cake based diet on spermatogenesis in Malin x Santa-Ines rams. Anim Reprod Sci, 115:182-188.

Zaniboni L, Cerolini S., 2009. Liquid storage of turkey semen: changes in quality parameters, lipid composition and susceptibility to induced in vitro peroxidation in control, ω3 fatty acids and alphatocopherol rich spermatozoa. Anim Reprod Sci, 112:51-65.

5b7310840e8825ea0c8068a7 animreprod Articles
Links & Downloads

Anim Reprod

Share this page
Page Sections