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South African Journal of Animal Science

On-line version ISSN 2221-4062
Print version ISSN 0375-1589


TORRES-ZAPATA, S. et al. Ovulatory response and embryo quality in Katahdin ewes supplemented with palm oil. S. Afr. j. anim. sci. [online]. 2016, vol.46, n.3, pp.261-268. ISSN 2221-4062.

The aims of this study were to evaluate the superovulatory response (SR), embryo quality and embryonic development in Katahdin ewes that received a dietary supplement of palm oil (PO). Ten ewes were assigned to receive 35 g palm oil (n = 10, PO3) and 10 to receive 70 g palm oil (n = 10, PO6) for 25 days. On day 0, the ewes were synchronized with 0.3 mg progesterone-releasing devices (CIDR-G®). From days 6 to 9, the donors were superovulated with 200 mg follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) (Folltropin-V®) at decreasing doses every 12 hours (40 - 40, 30 - 30, 20 - 20 and 10 - 10 mg/ewe). On day 8, the devices were removed and donors were mated twice with fertile rams at 12-h intervals. Seven days after mating, the embryos were recovered and evaluated for their stage of development and quality grade (1 = excellent, 2 = good, 3 = bad and 4 = degenerated). In addition, on days 0, 7 and 15, blood samples were taken to determine cholesterol, triglycerides, insulin and insulin-Iike growth factor-1 (IGF-1) concentrations in serum blood. Using chi-square and t-tests, the superovulatory response (SR), ovulation rate (OR), total embryonic structures (TES), transferable embryos (TE), degenerated embryos (DEs) and developmental stage and quality were evaluated. No significant differences were observed between treatments for SR, OR, TES and TE variables or for cholesterol, triglycerides, insulin and IGF-1 concentrations. There were differences in the numbers of DE, as well as a trend for more homogeneous developmental stage in the embryos of ewes supplemented with PO6, as well as a higher number of quality 1 embryos and lower numbers of quality 3 and 4 embryos. Palm oil supplementation could be a recommendable practice to improve the quality of embryos and homogenous developmental stage (morula and blastocyst).

Keywords : Fatty acids; ovarian activity; sheep.

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