IPB researchers use zinc supplements to energize catfish sperm

The process of providing zinc supplementation to male broodstock. (Photo: Prive. Doc)

IO, Bogor – Catfish is one of the most thoroughly-developed aquaculture commodities in Indonesia, one whose quality can be sustained with the support of strong broodstock. A team of researchers from the IPB Department of Aquaculture consisted of Nunun Ainun Putri Sari Banun Kaliky, Dr. Mia Setiawati, Dr. Odang Carman, Dr. Nur Bambang Priyo Utomo and Rahman, MSi; research to improve the sperm quality of male Siamese catfish was carried out. 

Superior parentage can be achieved through genetic modification and improvement of sperm and egg quality by increasing nutrient intake. Increasing nutritional intake can not only improve the quality of sperm and eggs but also the quality and quantity of seeds. 

“In broodstock, sperm quality and quantity are important parameters to determine reproductive activity. Its quality is ascertained by determining concentration, motility, eligibility, morphology, metabolic activity and the ability to fertilize an egg. There are a number of factors that can affect sperm performance: temperature, season, stress, hormone stimulation and mother feed,” said Dr. Mia, as quoted in an IPB Press Release. 

For this reason, research conducted by Dr. Mia and the team at the Department of Aquaculture revealed that male catfish were fed with a zinc (Zn) supplement for eight weeks, in doses of 0, 50, 100, 150 and 200 mg/kg of feed. 

Results were encouraging: Zn supplementation seemed to improve both the quality and quantity of catfish sperm. The addition of Zn has a significant effect on semen volume, motility (movement), viability and sperm concentration. 

Zn supplementation at 200 mg/kg feed dose showed the best results, indicated by an increase in the quality and quantity of catfish sperm, recording 51 percent by volume; 11.6 percent motility; 5.81 percent viability and 54.1 percent sperm concentration compared with controls. 

“The results of this study indicate that Zn plays an important role in improving the reproduction of catfish. What’s more, the process of spawning catfish is generally achieved artificially by mixing eggs and sperm. Increasing sperm quality can economize on male broodstock,” she said. (*/est)