Complementary medicine has gained an increased popularity in the
recent years. Food manipulation and traditional plant therapies are commonly
prescribed by ayurvedic and other folk systems of medicine in various
countries including Middle East. Oral consumption of probiotics (live
microbial feed supplement that enhance the host health by modulating the
intestinal microbial balance) has been associated with the prevention,
alleviation or cure of diverse intestinal disorders such as lactose intolerance,
viral and bacterial diseases (McNaught and MacFie, 2001).
Milk contains components that provide critical nutritive elements, immunological
protection and biologically active substances to both neonates and adults.
In general, the major protein fractions in bovine milk include α-lactalbumin,
β-lactoglubulin, caseins, immunoglobulin, lactoferrin, proteose-
peptide fractions (heat-stable, acid soluble phosphoglycoproteins) and
minor whey proteins such as transferrin and serum albumin. From these,
bioactive peptides may be generated in vivo through gastrointestinal processes
(Clare and Swaisgood, 2000).
Probiotic may also be a functional food, but more specifically it is
a live microbial feed supplement that beneficially affects the host beyond
correcting for traditional nutrient deficiencies by improving its intestinal
balance (Fuller, 1999). Hence, it may be considered a functional food
with the special property of containing live, beneficial microorganisms
(Mclntosh, 1996). A prebiotic is defined as a non-digestible food ingredient
that beneficially affects the host by selectively stimulating the growth
and/or activity of one or a limited number of bacteria in the colon (Gibson,
Probiotics, prebiotics and synbiotics aimed at improving intestinal health
currently represent the largest segment of the functional foods market.
Evidence continues to emerge demonstrating that these ingredients have
a potential to improve human health in specific intestinal disorders (Fabian
and Elmadfa, 2006).
Hydrosols, also known as floral water, distillate water or aromatic water,
are the co-products or the by-products of hydro and steam-distillated
plant materials. Hydrosols are quite complex mixtures containing traces
of the essential oils and, of course, several water-soluble components.
They have practically been used as beverages for a long time in
the middle eastern countries. Some of herbs have commonly been used in
foods mainly for their flavor, aromas and preservabilities. Additionally,
herbal tea have been used as alternative medicines and natural therapies
two decades ago. hydrosols, widely used in food products and as drinks,
were tested for their inhibitory effects against pathogenic bacteria such
as E. coli O157:H7, Staphylococcus aureus and Yersinia
enterocolitica, it is likely that some edible plant hydrosols may
be used as antimicrobial agents to prevent the deterioration of food products
(Sağdiç, 2003; Sağdiç and Özcan, 2003).
The recent advances in such a studies have promoted us to investigate
the effect of such a mixture on the male sexual behavior and semen quality.
Therefore, the objective of the present study aimed at investigating the
effect of oral administration of a safely nutritive mixture on the libido,
semen characteristics, male sex hormone (Testosterone) and kidney and
liver functions of goat bucks raised under hot climate.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Probiotic Fermented Milk Cultures: Starter cultures
of Streptococcus thermophilus, Lactobacillus acidophilus
and Bifidobacterium bifidum were obtained from Chr. Hansens Laboratory,
Preparation of Probiotic Fermented Milk: Probiotic fermented
milk was prepared according the method described by Tamime and Robinson
(1999) and Al-Wabel et al. (2007). Probiotic cultures (Streptococcus
thermophilus, Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium
bifidum) were inoculated and incubated for 4-8 h at 42° C. After
coagulation, the curd were tested for pH, then was stirred in an electric
blender and stored refrigerated (4-6°C). Chemical compositions analysis
were carried out according to the official method (AOAC, 2000).
Preparation of Medicinal Plant Hydrosols: Hydrosols
of the used medicinal plants were prepared by the hydro-distillation according
the method described by Deans and Svoboda (1990) and Bakri and Douglas
(2005). About 100 g of plant materials were cut into small pieces, placed
in a flask (2 L) with 1000 mL of double distilled water and hydro-distilled
for 1 h. After hydro-distillation, the mixture with trace essential oils
in the flask was identified as hydrosol. The amount of obtained hydrosol
was approximately 200 mL. The hydrosol was then filtered and preserved
in sterile dark bottles (500 mL) in a cool environment (4°C) until
Preparation of Synbiotic Fermented Milk: Synbiotic fermented
milk was prepared by adding the active ingredients of herbal hydrosols
to the probiotic fermented milk at a 3% (30 g L-1), apple acid
at 1% (10 ml L-1) and honey at 30% (300 g L-1).
Chemical composition and sensory evaluation for the appearance, color,
flavor and overall properties of probiotic and synbiotic fermented milk
were adopted from NASA (1999): very good, (++) good, (+) accepted and
Table 1 and 2 show the chemical composition
of probiotic fermented milk and honey.
Animals: Fifteen adult Damascus (n = 11) and Aradhi
(n = 4) goat bucks were individually housed in a closed pen. Each animal
was offered 300 g concentrated pelleted ration (13% crude protein) in
addition to an Alfa Alfa hay and water as a free choice. Seven bucks were
orally given 20 mL of the synbiotic mixture every other day (3 times/week)
for a period of 8 weeks (Low-dose group). Six bucks were given 40 mL of
the same mixture on the same schedule (High-dose group). Two bucks served
as control (given no synbiotic). Bucks libido was estimated by the time
(seconds) lapsed from releasing the buck outside its pen until the penis
was completely erected upon riding the estrous doe.
Semen Collection: Since these bucks are designed as
sires for semen collection to inseminate goat does in a research project,
there has been a record for their semen traits before application of the
synbiotic material. At the commencement of the experiment, semen ejaculates
were collected just before administering the material and just after administration
of the material thereafter. An estrous doe was brought to the male location
and the buck was released from its pen and using a stop watch, the time
(sec) elapsed from its release until the complete penile erection was
recorded as an indicator of the libido. A regular artificial vagina for
sheep and goats was used.
Semen Parameters: The ejaculate volume (mL), semen pH, gross
motility, individual progressive motility, percent dead sperm, percent first
and second sperm abnormalities, sperm concentration (Neubaur haemocytometer),
estimated Total Sperm Output (TSO) and estimated Total Motile Sperm (TMS) in
the ejaculate. The TSO and TMS were estimated as follow:
TSO=Ejaculate volume (mL)xSperm concentration (No.
TMS=TSOxPercent progressive motility
||Chemical composition of probiotic fermented milk (%)
||Chemical composition of honey
Blood Sampling and Sera Harvesting : A venipuncture
procedure was used to withdraw blood simples of the jugular vein once
per week of the bucks just before semen collection. Blood was collected
in non-heparinized vacutainer tubes. Blood samples were cooled in the
refrigerator (4-6°C) for two hours and centrifuged at 3000 x g for
30 min. Sera were harvested, labeled and stored deep frozen (-70°C)
until used for assays.
Testosterone Determinations: Testosterone was determined
in serum by the EIA method (Rassaie et al., 1992; Raji et al.,
2005) using the horse-raddish peroxidase as a tracer and Tetra Methyl
Benzidine (TMB) as a chromogen (Human Gesellschaft für Biochemica
und Diagnostica mbH, Germany). The intra and interassy coefficient of
variation were 5.2 and 7.6%, respectively.
ALT and AST, Urea and Creatinine Analyses: Alanine aminotransaminase
(ALT) and Aspartate aminotransaminase (AST) activities were determined
according to the method of Reitman and Frankel (1957).
Urea and creatinine were determined in serum according to the methods
of Tietz (1970) and Bonsnes and Taussky (1945), respectively.
Statistical Analysis: Data of testosterone, blood metabolites and semen
physical characteristics as repeated measures on the same buck were analyzed
using GLM procedure of SAS program (SAS, 1996). The following linear model was
||Observation on ijklth ejaculate
||Fixed effect of ith treatment (breed-dose).
||Random effect of jth buck within ith
||Fixed effect of kth week of sampling
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
The sensory evaluation properties were found to have good scores and
were acceptable for consumers (Table 3).
Effect of Synbiotic on Bucks Libido: Administration
of the synbiotic mixture caused significant (p<0.01) stimulation for buck
sex drive, this was shown in the reduction of the duration (seconds) between
buck release from its pen until a complete erection was achieved. Damascus bucks
given the Low Dose (DL) were the only exception since they didnt show
an improvement in their libido as compared to the controls 13.99±1.65
for control, Damascus-Low dose (DL), Damascus-High dose (DH), Aradhi-Low dose
(AL) and Aradhi-High dose (AH), respectively.
||Sensory evaluation properties of functional probiotic and
synbiotic fermented milk
|+++: Very good, ++: Good, +: Accepted, -: Un-accepted
||Effect of treatment with synbiotic on serum testosterone and
semen characteristics of Damascus and Aradhi goats bucks (LSM±SEM)
|*TSO: Total Sperm Output/ejaculate, **TMS: Total Motile Sperm/ejaculate,
Means within a row with different superscript significantly differ at p<0.01,
¤Total number of ejaculates in the experiment were 120 (8 ejac./animal)
Libido was also improved by time as frequent doses of the mixture were given.
Effect of Synbiotic on Serum Testosterone and Semen Characteristics:
As shown in Table 4 there found significant (p<0.01)
increases in testosterone concentration in the Aradhi bucks. However,
no significant (p>0.05) differences were found in testosterone concentrations
in Damascus bucks when compared to the control. Therefore, breed difference
was found as mean levels of testosterone in Aradhi bucks approached 6
folds that found in Damascus ones. Dose of the synbiotic mixture did not
show difference in either breed. Values of pH ranged between 6.8-7.1 and
were not affected by breed, treatment dose or week of sampling.
There also found significant (p<0.01) increases in ejaculate volume
of treated bucks as compared with control. Increasing the dose of the
mixture resulted in significant ejaculate volume increase within breed.
Mean ejaculate volume was higher in Aradhi (2.16 mL) than in Damascus
(1.58 mL) bucks.
Gross as well as individual progressive motility were improved (p<0.01)
by the administration of the mixture. Increasing the mixture dose caused
significant increases of motility parameters within breed. On the contrary,
there was no significant difference in percentage of progressive motility
among breeds. The mean values of progressive motility were; 58.06, 71.02,
80.20, 75.94 and 81.77% for control, DL, DH, AL and AH, respectively.
There also found a significant (p<0.05) increase in sperm concentration
in treated than control bucks. Moreover, increasing the dose of the mixture
significantly increased sperm concentration within breed. The values of
sperm concentration were; 1.22±0.14, 2.11±0.09, 2.68±0.08,
2.71±0.11 and 3.06±0.11x109 sperm mL-1
for control, DL, DH, AL and AH, respectively. Likewise, data for the estimate
of total sperm output/ejaculate and total motile sperm/ejaculate exhibited
similar trends. The values of total sperm output were; 2.30±0.49,
3.70±0.31, 5.35±0.27, 5.58±0.38 and 7.78±0.37x109
for control, DL, DH, AL and AH, respectively. The respective values
for total motile sperm/ejaculate were ;1.46±0.56, 2.90±0.27,
4.55±0.24, 4.48±0.34 and 6.60±0.33x109
sperm. Contrariwise, there existed a significant (p<0.01) decrease
in percentage of dead and abnormal sperm in treated as compared with control
bucks. The treatment reduced percentage of dead sperm to reach 30% of
these values obtained with control bucks (Table 4).
Many studies have shown that probiotics can alleviate lactose intolerance,
lower serum cholesterol, reduce diarrheal incidence, stimulate the immune
system, control infections, act as antibiotics, suppress tumors and protect
against colon/bladder cancer by maintaining a healthy intestinal micro
flora balance (Brigidim et al., 2001; Rolfe, 2000; Oberhelma and
Alvarez-Olmos, 2001; Fuller, 1999; Lee and Salminen, 1995). These probiotics
have shown several mechanisms in the live mammalian body. Such mechanisms
include production of antibacterial substances, competition for nutrients
and adhesion sites in the lower gut and stimulation of host defense mechanisms.
There also found a release of antibacterial peptides from Paneth cells
and an increase in brush border enzyme activity (Buts et al., 1986;
Satoh, 1988). Moreover, these probiotics modify the host immune responses
which appeared to be mainly enhanced by activating macrophage functions
and increasing the activity of normal killer cells and T-cells (Kato et
The ingredients of probiotics are mainly Lactic acid bacteria (Lactobacillus
acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum) which proved to enhance
the functions of the lower gut (Rafter, 2003). Additionally, there might
have a synergistic effect between these bacteria and rumen microorganisms
to enhance their functions in rumen absorption. Also, some lactic acid
bacteria have been shown to increase colonic NADPH-cytochrome P-450 reductase
activity (Pool-Zobel, 2005) and glutathione S-transferase levels (Challa
et al., 1997). Obviously, these enzymes which are involved in several
metabolic processes including spermatogenesis and steroidogenesis might
enhanced such physiological functions in the treated bucks.
Furthermore, the inclusion of active herbal ingredients (i.e., fructo-oligosaccharides
(FOS), terpenoids, saponins, lactoferrin, 4-hydroxyl leucine folate, tannins,
phosphoproteins, alkaloids, panaxoside and dietary fibers) in addition
to honey ingredients in such a mixture could have some stimulatory effects
on the testes level. Panaxoside is an active ingredient of the Korean
Ginsing which have been long known as an aphrodisiac herb.
Table 5 shows data of concentrations of serum urea and
creatinine as bio indicators of renal function and data of activities
of aspartate Amino Transferase (AST) and Alanine Amino Transferase (ALT)
as bio indicators of liver function. There were no significant changes
in levels of AST and urea in serum of treated than control bucks. Contrariwise,
there found a significant (p<0.01) elevation in ALT and creatinine
only in treated Aradhi bucks. Apparently, there were no significant differences
due to mixture dose. Since urea levels in serum is commonly used as a
bio-indicator for renal function, in the current study there found no
changes in urea levels due to treatment which indicates that administering
this mixture didnt affect protein metabolism. The increase in creatinine
levels were only encountered in Aradhi bucks which might be ascribed to
the genetic-makeup of the breed.
Additionally, Johnston (1999) indicated that there are other factors, rather
than liver or kidney function, cause several times increase than normal levels
of creatinine, AST and ALT. Of these factors were muscular exercise and obesity.
These bucks were left free in the open yards with does for natural mating. Interestingly,
the Aradhi have extra movement activities than Damascus bucks. It has been also
indicated (Johnston, 1999) that slight elevations of AST and ALT (within 1.5
times the upper limits of normal values) do not necessarily indicate a liver
dysfunction. Moreover, Johnston (1999) found differences in blood plasma ALT
levels due to different genetic origins. Enzymes, generally, are protein catalysts
present mostly in living cells and are constantly and rapidly degraded although
regenerated by new synthesis (Coles, 1986).
||Effect of oral administration of a synbiotic mixture on liver
and kidney function of Damascus and Aradhi goat bucks (LSM±SEM)
|*Mean in the same row with different superscript significantly
According to Zilva and Panall (1984), normal enzyme level in blood serum is
a reflection of a balance between its synthesis and release, as a result of
different physiological processes in the body. Transaminase enzymes are those
mostly responsible for the synthesis of non-essential amino acids through the
process known as transamination (Carola et al., 1990).
Although, no previous studies have been done to test effects of probiotics
on ruminants, there must taken into account the differences in metabolic
processes between monogasteric and ruminants. Because the oral administration
of such a mixture to goats bucks must be encountered by the populations
and activities of various types of rumen microorganisms, we cant extrapolate,
at this point the results derived of the mice or human studies to be applied
on ruminants. The sources of energy, enzymes, minerals and vitamins could
be utilized as useful constituents not only for the animal body, but also
for the metabolic processes of rumen microorganisms.
In conclusion, oral administration of a synbiotic mixture containing
functional food constituents to goat males enhanced their libido and semen
physical characteristics. Although, much research needs to be done on
the effect of each strain of Lactobacillus, each constituent of
the fermented milk, herbs and honey on the ruminant reproductive physiology.
This must be carried out on the levels of rumen ecology as well as on
the reproductive organs and subsequent fertility.