Reproduction, Fertility and Development Reproduction, Fertility and Development Society
Vertebrate reproductive science and technology
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Cryopreservation of saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) spermatozoa

S. D. Johnston A G , E. Qualischefski A , J. Cooper B , R. McLeod C , J. Lever C , B. Nixon D , A. L. Anderson D , R. Hobbs E , J. Gosálvez F , C. López-Fernández F and T. Keeley A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A School of Agriculture and Food Science, The University of Queensland, Gatton, Qld 4343, Australia.

B Just Genes Artificial Breeding Services, Everton Park, Brisbane, Qld 4053, Australia.

C Koorana Crocodile Farm, Coowonga, Qld 4702, Australia.

D School of Environmental and Life Sciences, The University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia.

E Taronga Conservation Society, Mosman, NSW 2088, Australia.

F Department of Biology, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid, 20849, Spain.

G Corresponding author. Email: s.johnston1@uq.edu.au

Reproduction, Fertility and Development - https://doi.org/10.1071/RD16511
Submitted: 18 December 2016  Accepted: 21 February 2017   Published online: 30 March 2017

Abstract

The aim of the present study was to develop a protocol for the successful cryopreservation of Saltwater crocodile spermatozoa. Sperm cells were frozen above liquid nitrogen vapour in phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) containing either 0.3 M trehalose, 0.3 M raffinose or 0.3 M sucrose and compared with glycerol (0.3–2.7 M). Although the highest levels of mean post-thaw motility were observed following cryopreservation in 0.3 M trehalose (7.6%) and 0.3 M sucrose (7.3%), plasma membrane integrity (PI) was best following cryopreservation in 2.7 M glycerol (52.5%). A pilot study then assessed the cytotoxicity of glycerol and sucrose prior to cryopreservation and revealed no loss of survival when spermatozoa were diluted in 0.68 M glycerol or 0.2–0.3 M sucrose once cryoprotectants were washed out with PBS or Biggers, Whitten and Whittingham medium containing sperm capacitation agents (BWWCAP). A final study refined the combined use of permeating (0.68 or 1.35 M glycerol) and non-permeating (0.2 or 0.3 M sucrose) cryoprotectants. Spermatozoa were cryopreserved in liquid nitrogen vapour at rates of approximately -21°C min-1 (fast freeze) or -6.0°C min-1 (slow freeze). Post-thaw survival was highest with a combination of 0.2 M sucrose and 0.68 M glycerol and when these cryoprotectants were washed out with BWWCAP, regardless of whether spermatozoa were frozen using a fast (motility 14.2 ± 4.7%; PI 20.7 ± 2.0%) or slow (motility 12.0 ± 2.7%; PI 22 ± 4%) cryopreservation rate.

Additional keywords: glycerol, non-permeating cryoprotectants, permeating cryoprotectants, raffinose, sucrose, trehalose.


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