Seasonal variations in semen quality, testosterone levels, and scrotal size following dietary flaxseed oil and ascorbic acid in South African indigenous rams.

Ngcobo, Jabulani Nkululeko
Nedambale, Tshimangadzo Lucky
Mpofu, Takalani Judas
Nephawe, Khathutshelo Agree
Chokoe, Tlou Caswell
Ramukhithi, Fhulufhelo Vincent
The purpose of this study was to determine the seasonal variations in semen quality, testosterone levels, and scrotal size, following dietary flaxseed oil and ascorbic acid in South African indigenous rams. A total of 22 South African indigenous rams were randomly distributed into five treatment diets from June 2021 to May 2022 (12 months). To allow for the spermatogenesis period, semen was collected after sixty days of dietary supplementation with treatment diets. Blood was collected twice a week using an 18-gauge needle and vacutainer tubes and sent to the laboratory for testosterone analysis. Semen and blood collection were repeated eight times each season. The scrotal size (circumference, length, and width) was measured using a flexible measuring tape. Data was subjected to the General Linear Model (GLM) in Minitab® 2017. Treatment means were separated using Fisher’s t-test and considered significantly different when the p-value was less than 0.05. Seasons and diet had an effect on progression, total motility, and testosterone levels. For instance, NC during the spring season had the lowest progressive motility (42.84 5.32), followed by the summer (49.38 4.49), winter (62.46 4.35), and autumn (63.26 3.58). Notably, when treatment diets were introduced, improvements were realized, and there were significant differences (p < 0.05) among the seasons following supplementation of FLAX, ASCA, and FLAX + ASCA, except for FLAX in the autumn season (53.83 4.16). Total motility did not differ significantly (p > 0.05) between the seasons when the NC and PC diets were supplemented; nevertheless, there was an improvement when FLAX, ASCA, and FLAX + ASCA were supplemented. Testosterone levels were significantly influenced by the seasons when negative and PC diets were supplemented. It is noteworthy that supplementing FLAX + ASCA can reverse the influence of the season on the testosterone levels (spring, 27.52 4.42; summer, 20.23 5.11; autumn, 25.24 3.96; and winter, 25.92 4.42). In conclusion, seasons do affect semen quality and testosterone levels of South African indigenous rams. However, flaxseed oil and ascorbic acid can reverse the seasonal variations in semen quality and testosterone levels.
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Research Projects
Organizational Units
Journal Issue
Conservation, Omega n-3, Semen quality, Docosahexaenoic acid, Fertility
Embedded videos