Centrifugation of Apis mellifera L. drone semen is a necessary step in the homogenization of semen pools for the enlargement of the effective breeding population, as well as in the collection of semen by the so-called washing technique. It is also of interest for the removal of cryoprotectants after cryopreservation. The adoption of methods involving semen centrifugation has been hampered by their damaging effect to sperm. Here, we tested four new diluents as well as three additives (catalase, hen egg yolk, and a protease inhibitor), using sperm motility and dual fluorescent staining as indicators of semen quality. Three of the new diluents significantly reduced motility losses after centrifugation, as compared with the literature standard. Values of motility and propidium iodide negativity obtained with two of these diluents were not different from those measured with untreated semen. The least damaging diluent, a citrate-HEPES buffer containing trehalose, was then tested in an insemination experiment with centrifuged semen. Most queens receiving this semen produced normal brood, and the number of sperm reaching the storage organ of the queen was not significantly different from that in queens receiving untreated semen. These results could improve the acceptance of techniques involving the centrifugation of drone semen. The diluent used in the insemination experiment could also serve as semen extender for applications not involving centrifugation.
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