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

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Scientists in Uganda say that 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 a lack of scientific evidence to prove it is any more hydrating than regular water. But now, researchers in Uganda have found that coconut water is really useful for something other than human hydration — artificially inseminating pigs.

Uganda has the highest pork consumption in East Africa, with each person eating around 7.5 pounds (3.4 kilograms) of the meat per year, according to the International Livestock Research Institute (opens in new tab). However, pig-breeding methods in many of Uganda’s remote villages make it challenging for farmers to produce enough pork to meet demand, according to (opens in new tab), an outlet dedicated to scientific discoveries in developing nations. In most villages, farmers breed one or two boars with dozens of females in the region, which leads to inbreeding. Hogs that are inbred produce lower-quality meat that is very high in fat. The 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 porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSv) — a respiratory disease that causes reproductive failure in sows.

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