Dominant Components of the Giant Panda Seminal Plasma Metabolome, Characterized by 1H-NMR Spectroscopy
College of Food Science and Technology, Southwest Minzu University, Chengdu 610041, China
College of Resources, Sichuan Agricultural University, Chengdu 611130, China
Key Laboratory of State Forestry and Grassland Administration on Conservation Biology of Rare Animals in the Giant Panda National Park, The China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda, Dujiangyan 611800, China
Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences, University of Bologna, 47521 Cesena, Italy
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Jordi Ribas-Maynou, Albert Salas-Huetos and Isabel Barranco
Received: 19 May 2022
Revised: 9 June 2022
Accepted: 11 June 2022
Published: 14 June 2022
As China’s flagship animal, the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) attracts much attention due to its small population and low natural reproductive rate. Therefore, artificial insemination has become the leading practical approach in the captive breeding programs of giant pandas worldwide. Seminal plasma acts as a medium between spermatozoa and the external stimuli, and its characteristics have been directly linked to fertility in both artificial insemination and natural fertilization. The current work, for the first time, attempts to characterize, by proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-NMR), the metabolome of healthy giant panda seminal plasma. A total of 35 molecules were quantified, with distinct age-related trends highlighted by a multivariate analysis, and the concentrations of 2,3-butanediol were significantly different between individuals younger than 8 years and older than 13 years. In addition, isopropanol’s concentration was significantly linked to estrus stages. Besides, the variations in the metabolome’s profile with storage time were also evaluated. This study may serve as a reference for research wishing to shed light on the biological mechanisms affecting giant panda sperm’s overall quality and may ultimately lead to novel approaches to giant panda artificial insemination.