Put the hipsters aside, scientists need your coconut water to artificially inseminate pigs

Scientists from Uganda say coconut water can be used to effectively transport pig sperm used in artificial insemination. (Image credit: Shutterstock)

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Coconut water is a trendy alternative to sports drinks for many people, despite the lack of scientific evidence to show it is more hydrating than regular water. But now, researchers in Uganda have found that coconut water is indeed useful for something other than human hydration: artificial insemination of pigs.

Uganda has the highest pork consumption in East Africa, with each person eating about 7.5 pounds (3.4 kilograms) of meat per year, according to the International Livestock Research Institute (opens in a new tab). However, pig farming methods in many remote Ugandan villages make it difficult for farmers to produce enough pork to meet demand, according to SciDev.net (opens in a new tab), an outlet dedicated to scientific discoveries in developing countries. In most villages, farmers raise one or two boars with dozens of females in the region, which leads to inbreeding. Consanguineous pigs produce lower quality meat that is very high in fat. Animals are also more prone to outbreaks of diseases such as African swine fever – a deadly viral disease that causes fevers and internal bleeding in pigs – and swine respiratory and reproductive syndrome virus (PRRSv) – a respiratory disease that causes reproductive failure in pigs. sows.

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