Survival and fertility of bovine sperm kept at variable temperatures in coconut milk extender

C. Norman, C. E. Johnson, I. D. Porterfield, E. Goldberg, R. S. Dunbar, H. S. Min, H. O. Dunn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Bovine spermatozoa aged for 6—7 days at room temperatures (18—30° C.) in a coconut milk extender retained their fertilizing capacity. However, their fertilizing ability appeared to be impaired by environmental hazards in the form of oxygen damage, exposure to visible light, and temperature shock. Protective measures developed and used in the preparation and in the storage of the sperm suspensions to minimize premature loss of sperm function involved the addition of catalase and egg yolk to the extender and the maintenance of cell suspensions in the dark in vials containing a minimal air space. The experimental evidence obtained with this improved coconut milk extender established its ability to support and sustain the fertilizing capacity of bovine sperm for 6—7 days at room temperatures at a level comparable to the fertilizing capacity of refrigerated sperm in milk-glycerol or egg yolk-citrate-glycine extenders. The economic importance of this room temperature diluent is suggested by the fact that it eliminates the costly refrigeration required to maintain stored and shipped bovine semen at 5° C. Coconut milk extender modified by the addition of 5% egg yolk also proved to be a satisfactory storage medium for sperm at low temperatures. It was found to be superior to both egg yolk-citrate and skim-milk extenders in conserving motility at 5° C. The fertilizing capacity of Ayrshire and Brown Swiss sperm stored at 5° C. in coconut milk extender which contained 15% coconut milk and 5% egg yolk compared favourably with the fertilizing capacity reported for sperm stored at 5° C. in other more widely used diluents. The number of motile sperm recovered from this extender after freezing to 79° C. was comparable to the number of motile sperm recovered from the egg yolk-citrate and skim-milk test diluents. The results of this study indicate that coconut milk extender is a versatile, easily prepared medium which can be used to preserve functional sperm over a wide temperature range.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-39
Number of pages7
JournalThe Journal of Agricultural Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 1962

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Genetics


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