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Interpretive Summary: Hydroxy-selenomethionine as an organic source of selenium in the diet improves boar reproductive performance in artificial insemination programs

By Anne Zinn

A study recently published in the Journal of Animal Science compared different selenium sources in the diet on boar’s semen quality and fertility. This was the first study of record to evaluate the effects of hydroxy-selenomethionine as a dietary supplement for boards on raw semen characteristics and quality of seminal doses, as well as the reproductive performance achieved when used for artificial insemination. It was hypothesized that boars fed a hydroxy-selenomethionine diet would have greater selenium availability to meet their reproductive functions, which could in turn impact sperm production and quality, fertility ability, and their size. 

Results demonstrated that board fed hydroxy-selenomethionine had more selenium in their seminal plasma and tended to have a higher total sperm count in the ejaculate when compared to those that were fed sodium selenite, showing the greater bioavailability of the organic source in the male reproductive system. Additionally, under in vivo conditions, seminal doses from boars fed OH-SeMet tended toward a higher pregnancy rate and also resulted in a higher percentage of pregnant females in the overall period. 

Overall, the results of the present study indicate that the replacement of sodium selenite with hydroxy-selenomethionine in boars’ diet can improve sperm production and ultimately results in better reproductive performance for them, which will in turn bring greater productivity and profitability to artificial insemination centers and commercial pig farms.

The full paper can be found on the Journal of Animal Science webpage.