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W. RICHARD DUKELOW

The isolation from ethylene dichloride extracted wheat germ oil (edc-wgo) of long-chain alcoholic compounds which exhibit androgen-like properties has recently been reported (Levin, Collins, Varner, Mosser & Wolf, 1962; Levin, 1963). Improved fertility has been reported in hamsters (Soderwall & Smith, 1962), cattle (Marion, 1962) and sheep (Dukelow & Matalamaki, 1963) following the use of edc-wgo as a food supplement. This communication records findings on sows which were fed the agent before mating until slaughtered during early pregnancy. Eighty sows (11 to 12 months of age) of mixed breeding were allotted either to a treated or a control group immediately after weaning their first litter. The treated group received 60 ml edc-wgo/week. This oil was pre-mixed with the soybean oil meal fraction of the feed and then incorporated in a normal 14% protein ration. No wheat or wheat
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W. RICHARD DUKELOW

Summary.

One hundred and sixty female mink of four colour strains (Pearl, Cameo, Dawn Pastel and Violet) were assigned to eight groups according to age and colour. One-half of each group received wheat germ oil extracted with ethylene dichloride, while control mink received corn oil supplemented with mixed tocopherols. Mean performance data for the control and treated groups respectively were as follows: days from first attempted mating until actual first mating, 3·0 and 2·1; conception rate, 66·3 and 60·0%; young born/pregnant female, 2·29 and 2·45; weight of young at 3 weeks of age, females 93·6 and 95·5 g, and males 101·7 and 105·1 g. Differences between control and treated groups were not statistically significant. Highly significant differences were observed between strains for conception rate, number of male and female young and total young/pregnant female. A significant interaction was noted between wheat germ oil treatment and strain in the number of days required to achieve mating. Previous reproductive history of the females (parous or non-parous) had little effect on the characteristics studied.

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W. RICHARD DUKELOW

Summary.

A flock of ninety ewes was divided into two groups and one group was orally drenched with ethylene dichloride extracted wheat germ oil (edc-wgo) over two breeding seasons. In ewes drenched with edc-wgo the lambing percentages of mated ewes increased by 12·9% and the number of ewes lambing by 7·6%. In Guernsey cows given edc-wgo there was no significant effect on the number of services per conception. The possible effects of oxygen uptake increasing components in edc-wgo on early reproductive processes are discussed.

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W. RICHARD DUKELOW and WILLIAM L. WILLIAMS

Spermatozoa attain the ability to fertilize an ovum by incubation in the reproductive tract for a given period of time (capacitation). Recently Bedford & Shalkovsky (1967) and Bedford (1967) have indicated that the final stages of capacitation may be species-specific, normally occur in the oviduct and require from 0·5 to 2·5 hr in the rabbit. Capacitation enables the spermatozoon to penetrate the cumulus oophorus, corona radiata and to initiate fertilization. The work of Dukelow, Chernoff & Williams (1967) suggested that the final stages of capacitation may involve an ovum-sperm interaction occurring on the surface of, or within, the zona pellucida. These workers have suggested that the oviducal environment was detrimental to the fertility of uterine capacitated spermatozoa resident in the oviduct for several hours before ovulation. The objectives of the present study were to determine (1)

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W. RICHARD DUKELOW, H. N. CHERNOFF and W. L. WILLIAMS

Summary.

Seminal plasma from eight species was assayed for decapacitation factor (df) activity. Seminal plasma from the bull, boar, stallion, rabbit and monkey all contained df activity whereas human, rooster and dog seminal plasma did not. The hypothesis is suggested that the presence, or absence, of df in the seminal plasma of a species is indicative of the need for, or lack of, capacitation within that species. Incubation of partially purified df with hyaluronidase, glucose oxidase, lysozyme or Pronase does not affect df activity ; however, such activity was destroyed by incubation with α- or β-amylase. Sialic acid, sialyl lactose and maltose were all ineffective in causing decapacitation or in preventing subsequent decapacitation of uterine sperm.