Consumption of fructose and glucose, production of lactic acid and total acid, and motility were compared during aerobic and anaerobic incubations of boar spermatozoa.
Boar spermatozoa were unable to sustain progressive motility under anaerobic conditions in the presence of glycolysable substrates and exhibited only vibratory or oscillatory motions of the flagellum. In the absence of exogenous substrates, they were completely immotile anaerobically.
After comparatively short initial periods of anaerobic incubation at 37° C, motility and fructolytic capacity were irreversibly impaired in seven of thirteen tests. However, initial aerobic incubation fortified the spermatozoa to a great extent against adverse effects of subsequent anaerobic incubation.
On average, 85% of the sugar broken down anaerobically appeared as lactic acid; 15% was converted mostly to other acidic products, constituting 11% of the total acid. In the presence of air, part of the lactic acid was oxidized. The end products of oxidation were not entirely CO2 but some non-volatile acids as well.
Washed spermatozoa incubated without substrate produced no free acid, either aerobically or anaerobically.