Discipline: Veterinary Medicine
Onion (Allium cepa L.) was incorporated in the diet (0, 2.5, 5 and 10%) of female Sprague-Dawley rats two weeks prior to copulation, during the three-week gestation period until the weaning of the offspring. Body weight before copulation and during pregnancy (day 1, 5, 10 and 15) were significantly lower in the A. cepa (AC)-fed dams compared to control. By day 20 of gestation, 5% AC had the highest body weight. Overall maternal weight gain for 5% AC likewise was the greatest. There were no significant differences for female fertility index and incidence of parturition. In the offspring of 10% AC, deviation in sex ratio was noted with a greater number of males than females weaned. There was no significant difference among groups for number of litters produced, litter size, ratio of live: dead pups (birth), number of litters weaned, weaning rate, survival index (birth) and weaning weight (males, females). The effect of onion on the reproduction of the dam is on body weight late in gestation. In the offspring of the AC-fed dams, the effect is on the sex ratio at weaning. Results of this study therefore provide proof that dietary incorporation of onion can have effects on the dam and its offspring.