IMPRESS – Improved production strategies for endangered freshwater species

Handling and Treatment of Male European Eels (Anguilla anguilla) for Hormonal Maturation and Sperm Cryopreservation.

During the last years, several research groups have been working on the development and improvement of new protocols for the European eel handling and maturation. As of yet, weekly injections of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) have proved to maturate males after just 5-6 weeks of treatment, producing high volumes of high-quality sperm during several weeks. In addition, sperm cryopreservation protocols using different extenders, cryoprotectants and cooling and thawing times have been previously described for European eel. Here, we show that Tanaka´s extender solution can be directly used for fertilization or for cryopreservation, making unnecessary the usage of different types of solutions and dilutions. Furthermore, the use of methanol as a cryoprotectant makes this protocol easy to use as methanol has low toxicity and does not activate the sperm. The sperm does not need to be cryopreserved immediately after the addition of the cryoprotectant, and it can be used long after being thawed. Moreover, sperm motility is still high after thawing although it is lower than that of fresh sperm. The aim of this work is to show the best available protocol for European eel handling, maturation, and sperm cryopreservation.

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