Herbal yeast product, Equi-Strath®, alters the antioxidant status of stallion semen
Effects of a plasmolysed yeast product enriched with herbs, malt, honey and orange syrup on semen characteristics and oxidative status in stallions were evaluated. Twenty stallions (mean age ± standard deviation = 9.5 ± 4.5 years) were randomly divided into a treatment group (n = 10) receiving 0.06 mL/kg bodyweight of plasmolysed herbal yeast, and a control group (n = 10) receiving the same amount of placebo daily in the feed for 10 weeks. Ejaculates were collected weekly from all stallions starting at Week 0. Volume, sperm concentration, motility, and velocity were evaluated immediately, 24 and 48 h after cooled storage at 5 °C. At the two storage time points, membrane lipid peroxidation was determined using the BODIPY-C11. Additionally, blood samples were collected at Weeks 0, 1, 5 and 9, and analysed for antioxidant status, consisting of superoxide dismutase, cholesterol, thiobarbituric acid reactive substances, and non-esterified fatty acids. Due to the nature of the data, the Mann-Whitney U test was applied as preliminary analysis. The BODIPY-C11 in the semen was less at 24 h and greater at 48 h after collections in Week 1 to 3 (P < 0.01) and Week 1 to 10 (P < 0.05) compared with Week 0 in the treatment compared to control group. There were no significant differences between groups for all values for other seminal and blood variables evaluated. In conclusion, feed supplementation with plasmolysed herbal yeast temporarily improved the antioxidant status of stallion semen, which might be of benefit for preservation of cooled semen.