Mycotoxins Affect Semen Quality (Research)

Mycotoxins affect the breeding herd, but that's most frequently associated with the sow herd. However, don't forget about boars.

Researchers at the Lithuanian Institute of Animal Science studied a mycotoxin-detoxifying agent fed to young boars and its impact on semen quality.

The feed additive has a wide spectrum of activity. It reduces the absorption and biotransformation of mycotoxins such as aflatoxin, ochratoxin, trichothecenes and nivalenol.

In the experiment, 10-month-old boars were divided into one of three groups: a control group receiving mycotoxin-free feed; a positive group given feed containing 0.57 mg/kg of zearalenone and a third group receiving the detoxifying agent at a rate of 1 kg per ton.

Ten days prior to the experiment, boars received high-quality feeds. Researchers evaluated semen for quality and quantity. The boars were fed according to their respective groups for 32 days. Researchers collected semen once a week. During a final 21-day recovery period, all boars received only high-quality feeds, and researchers again collected semen.

Three days after feeding zearalenone-contaminated feed, semen ejaculate volume dropped by 41 percent compared with the control group. However, the boars recovered after a week of receiving non-contaminated feed. Ejaculate volume in boars receiving the mycotoxin-detoxifying agent remained similar to the control group.

The untreated boars that received mycotoxins had a substantially lower sperm count per ejaculate in just one week compared with the control group. However, the boars" sperm count recovered within one week when they received non-contaminated feed.

Zearlone affected sperm motility, but it recovered within a few days once the contaminated feed was removed. Sperm motility of boars fed detoxified feed and that of the control group was similar.

Researchers concluded that the mycotoxins negatively affect boar semen and that a detoxifier can neutralizes the impact of toxicity.