Short- and long-term effects of essential oils on swine spermatozoa during liquid phase refrigeration

Sci Rep. 2024 Jan 2;14(1):285. doi: 10.1038/s41598-023-51030-2.


The application of essential oils as potential alternatives to antibiotics in swine semen storage is promising, due to their antioxidant and antibacterial properties. However, detrimental effects on spermatozoa should be clarified first. The aim of this study was to evaluate 9 essential oils (EOs; Satureja montana, Pelargonium graveolens, Cymbopogon nardus, Melaleuca leucadendron, Eucaliptus globulus, Citrus limon, Lavandula angustifolia, Lavandula hybrida, Mentha piperita) and a blend (GL mix) on key morpho-functional parameters of swine spermatozoa. Test compounds were firstly chemo-characterized and experimental doses were prepared by suspending a fixed number of spermatozoa with 3 different concentrations (0.1, 0.5, 1 mg/mL) of EOs. Experimental doses were stored at 16 °C and sampled after 3 and 120 h for analysis. Overall, S. montana, P. graveolens and L. angustifolia EOs induced the strongest alterations, with C. nardus and E. globulus EOs being the best tolerated. Swine spermatozoa represent a good preliminary testing platform to screen toxicity and its different patterns. The comprehensive overview on the potential mechanisms of action of some of the most common EOs, despite of the direct aim of the study being swine reproduction, may be exploited in other fields of research within both veterinary and human medicine.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Lavandula*
  • Male
  • Oils, Volatile* / pharmacology
  • Refrigeration
  • Spermatozoa
  • Swine


  • Oils, Volatile
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents