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Seasonal and climatic factors have a significant influence on fertility associated sperm phenomic attributes in crossbred breeding bulls (Bos taurus × Bos indicus)

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Abstract

Although seasonal variations in semen quality and fertility have been studied to a considerable extent in breeding bulls, the effect of climatic variables on sperm functional competency has not been understood in detail. The present study analyzed sperm functional parameters in breeding bulls, over a period of 1 year, and assessed the effect of climatic variables on fertility associated sperm parameters. Seasons were categorized into summer, rainy, autumn, and winter based on the meteorological data. Semen was collected from crossbred bulls (n = 7) across the seasons and evaluated for functional membrane integrity, acrosome reaction status, protamine deficiency, capacitation, and lipid peroxidation status using specific fluorescent probes. The results of the present study revealed that bulls produced higher (p < 0.05) viable and acrosome intact spermatozoa during the autumn. The proportion of uncapacitated spermatozoa was also higher (p < 0.05) during autumn. Further, correlation of sperm functional attributes with environmental variables revealed that sperm viability was significantly (p < 0.05) and negatively correlated with daylength and temperature; acrosomal integrity was significantly (p < 0.05) and negatively correlated with day length; and protamine deficiency had significant (p < 0.05) positive correlation with day length and average temperature, and negative correlation with relative humidity. It was concluded that semen produced during autumn was superior to the semen produced during other seasons in terms of sperm functional competencies required for fertility.

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Acknowledgements

Authors are grateful to the National Fund for Basic, Strategic and Frontier Application Research in Agriculture (NFBSFARA) for funding the project “Infertility in crossbred bulls; search for spermatogenic cell markers for early prediction of fertility” (BS-3009) under which the present study was conducted. The authors acknowledge the Director, ICAR-National Dairy Research Institute for providing necessary facilities for conducting the study.

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Correspondence to Arumugam Kumaresan.

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Tripathi, U.K., Kumaresan, A., Saraf, K.K. et al. Seasonal and climatic factors have a significant influence on fertility associated sperm phenomic attributes in crossbred breeding bulls (Bos taurus × Bos indicus). Int J Biometeorol 67, 311–320 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00484-022-02407-x

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