• Effects on the Quality of Frozen‐Thawed Alpaca (Lama pacos) Semen Using Two Different Cryoprotectants and Extenders

    Aim: To evaluate two extenders and two cryoprotectant agents (CPA) for alpaca semen cryopreservation. Methods: Semen samples were obtained from four adult alpacas (Lamapacos) and frozen using extender I (TRIS, citrate, egg yolk and glucose) or extender II (skim milk, egg yolk and fructose), each containing either glycerol (G) or ethylene glycol (EG) as CPA. Consequently, four groups were formed: 1) extender I‐G; 2) extender I‐EG; 3) extender II‐G; and 4) extender II‐EG. Semen was diluted in a two‐step process: for cooling to 5 °C (extenders without CPA), and for freezing (extenders with CPA). Viability and acrosome integrity were assessed using trypan blue and Giemsa stains. Results: When compared, the motility after thawing was higher (P < 0.05) in groups II‐EG (20.0 %± 6.7 %) and II‐G (15.3 %± 4.1 %) than that in groups I‐G (4.0 %± 1.1 %) and I‐EG (1.0 %± 1.4 %). Viable spermatozoa with intact acrosomes in groups II‐EG (18.7 %± 2.9 %) and II‐G (12.7 %± 5.9 %) were higher than that in groups I‐G (5.7 %± 1.5 %) and I‐EG (4.0 %±1.0 %). Conclusion: The skim milk‐ and egg yolk‐based extenders containing ethylene glycol or glycerol to freeze alpaca semen seems to promote the survival of more sperm cells with intact acrosomes than the other extenders. more »
  • Comparison of the Effect of Ovulation-Inducing Factor (OIF) in the Seminal Plasma of Llamas, Alpacas, and Bulls

    We have recently reported the presence of an ovulation-inducing factor (OIF) in the seminal plasma of llamas and alpacas—species characterized as induced ovulators. The study was designed to test the hypothesis that the seminal plasma of bulls will induce ovulation in llamas, and to compare the ovulation-inducing effect of seminal plasma of conspecific versus hetero-specific males. The seminal plasma of alpacas, a closely related induced ovulator (Lama pacos), and cattle, a distantly related ruminant species (Bos taurus) considered to be spontaneous ovulators, were compared with that of the llama (Lama glama). Ovulation and maximum corpus luteum diameter were compared by ultrasonography among female llamas (n = 19 per group) treated intramuscularly with 2 mL of phosphate buffered saline (PBS, negative control) and those treated with 2 mL of seminal plasma of bulls, alpacas, or llamas (conspecific control). The diameter of the preovulatory follicle did not differ among groups at the time of treatment. Bull seminal plasma induced ovulations in 26% (5/19) of llamas compared to 0% (0/19) in PBS group (P more »
  • Reproductive Biotechnologies in Swedish Male Alpacas

    Alpacas have become more popular during the last decades. The herds have been built up by importing live animals since reproductive biotechnologies, for example artificial insemination and semen preservation, are not well-developed in this species. A major problem is the viscosity of the seminal plasma which hinders processing or evaluation of the semen. Enzymes have been used to deal with the viscous seminal plasma but they may damage spermatozoa or render them incapable of fertilization. The use of reproductive biotechnologies would permit the introduction of new genetics without the need to import live animals, thus improving animal welfare and reducing the risk of spreading diseases. Therefore, our aim was to improve reproductive biotechnologies to help develop the Swedish alpaca breeding industry. Laboratory techniques were performed to select the best spermatozoa with Single Layer Centrifugation (SLC), in order to improve cryopreservation. These techniques were developed first using bull semen. There was an improvement in sperm quality in the SLC-selected samples, particularly from poor quality semen. In addition, the SLC technique could be modified to process small volumes. Alpaca epididymides were obtained after routine castration for husbandry purposes, with the intention of comparing semen extenders using extracted epididymal spermatozoa. Most of the organs came from pre-pubertal animals and therefore did not contain spermatozoa. Nevertheless, a decision-making tool for alpaca husbandry under Swedish conditions was developed. We suggest a combination of testicular size and body condition score as a tool for decision-making in the selection of potential sires for animal husbandry under Swedish conditions. A phantom was designed and built to collect semen samples in Sweden, and semen collection trials were also performed in Perú. The advantages and disadvantages of different semen collection techniques were evaluated. However, the problem with semen viscosity still has to be solved. Therefore a semen collection method should be established so that semen handling methods can be developed. We conclude that a phantom could be the best method to use for semen collection in Sweden, since it is a fairly simple technique and, as far as we are aware, there are no animal welfare concerns. more »
  • Advancing Assisted Reproductive Technologies in Camelids (Especially the Alpaca)

    Despite being widely used for long-term storage and dissemination of male genetic material in many species, semen cryopreservation and artificial insemination (AI) are not well-developed for camelids. The main reason for the delay in developing these technologies is the poor semen quality of camelids and the viscous nature of the seminal plasma, particularly in alpacas and llamas. An effective sperm cryopreservation and artificial insemination program would allow alpaca producers to cheaply and safely disseminate superior male genetics throughout the national herd and beyond. This report is aimed at all alpaca industry members and researchers in camelid reproduction and production. Alpaca farms are spread across Australia, but concentrated in the eastern states. All alpaca producers will find this report relevant. It will be of particular interest to those already incorporating assisted reproductive technologies (such as embryo transfer) into their husbandry or those wanting to increase the genetic diversity of their herd. more »
  • Continued Development of Artificial Insemination Technology in Alpacas

    The aim of this project was to develop the technology for artificial insemination (AI) in alpacas by establishing efficient and reliable methods for the collection, processing, preservation and artificial insemination of alpaca semen, continuing the work of RIRDC project AAA-1A (publication 03/104). more »