Seed Germination Test as a Potential Pregnancy Diagnosis Method for Domestic Cattle

IVA SKALOVA1; TAMARA FEDOROVA1; EVA BARANYIOVA1,2
1 Czech University of Life Science, Department of Animal Science and Food Processing, Faculty of Tropical Agri-Sciences, 16500 Prague, Czech Republic
2 Veterinary Research Institute, 621 00 Brno, Czech Republic

Abstract

Skalova; I., T. Fedorova and E. Baranyiova, 2017. Seed germination test as a potential pregnancy diagnosis method for domestic cattle. Bulg. J. Agric. Sci., 23 (3): 453–461

The timely diagnosis of pregnancy is of paramount importance in cattle management and non-invasive diagnostic methods may help to improve the welfare of animals. In the present study, we evaluated the seed germination pregnancy test combined with urinalysis. Urine samples were obtained from 20 non-pregnant Czech Fleckvieh heifers and from 20 artifi cially inseminated heifers during six phases of pregnancy: 0–50 days, 51–100 days, 101–150 days, 151–200 days, 201-250 days, and over 250 days. The seed germination test was conducted in all animals using mung beans (Vigna radiata) and wheat seeds (Triticum spelta). A total of 143 and 150 urine samples from pregnant and non-pregnant control heifers, respectively, were processed, and 37,218 germinated seeds were evaluated. The number of germinated mung beans and wheat seeds were counted over five consecutive days, and the shoot lengths were measured on day 5. On day 1 of the test, there was a higher number of germinated mung beans in urine samples obtained during the fi rst half of pregnancy. The urine of heifers in the later stages of pregnancy showed a reduced number of germinated mung beans (P < 0.01). A negative infl uence of pregnancy on shoot length was also only noticeable in mung beans (P < 0.0001). On the other hand, the shortest shoots were measured in wheat seeds kept in the urine of non-pregnant heifers. Urine pH was higher in pregnant heifers than in non-pregnant heifers (P < 0.0001) but germination of wheat seeds was not signifi cantly (P > 0.05) infl uenced by any urinalysis parameter, as measured using diagnostic urine strips. Thus the seed germination test evaluating the shoot length of mung beans can represent a cheap and non-invasive method to distinguish pregnant from non-pregnant heifers.

Key words: heifers; urine; Vigna radiate; Triticum spelta; shoot length; urine pH
List of abbreviations: ABA – abscisic acid, AI – artifi cial insemination, DoP – days of pregnancy

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