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Recently, there has been a notably increased use of microwave energy for heating and processing foods particularly in catering services and in our homes owing to its speed, convenience and efficiency compared to the traditional heating method. Due to the availability and affordability of plastic containers, they are mostly used to contain foods for preheating in a microwave. However, these plastics pose great risk on humans’ health if they get scratched or heated, and leach out chemicals into the contained foods. Also, the microwave energy has been speculated to have posed risks to the health of humans considering the electromagnetic radiations it emits. This study was aimed at evaluating the effect of ingested foods preheated (with microwave) in plastic containers on the reproductive profile of male albino rats. A total of twenty-four (24) male albino rats weighing between 120 to 200 g were used for this study. The rats were divided into three (3) groups (group I, II and III) of eight (8) rats per group. The rats were fed ad libitum with porridge beans and jellof rice with meat and fish daily for 40 days. The foods ingested by group I rats were not preheated in a microwave; the foods ingested by group II rats were put in ceramics and preheated in a microwave for 2 minutes daily; while the foods ingested by group III rats were put in plastic containers (not labeled as ‘‘microwave safe’’) and preheated in a microwave daily for 2 minutes. After an overnight fast, the rats were anaesthetized using chloroform, and blood samples obtained (via cardiac puncture) were used to analyze serum luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and testosterone using the ELISA method. The epididymis was also excised and immediately macerated to obtain semen, which was used for semen analysis. The results obtained showed a significantly decreased (p<0.05) mean LH, FSH, testosterone and sperm count in group III (plastic-microwaved) compared to group I and II. Also noted, was a significantly decreased (p<0.05) sperm count in group II compared to group I. However, there was no significant difference in LH, FSH and testosterone between groups I and II. Conclusively, it was evident from this study that, ingestion of foods preheated (with microwave) in plastic containers overtime, may predispose male rats and thus male individuals to dysfunction in their reproductive system which may eventually lead to male infertility. It is therefore, highly recommended that preheating of foods (with microwave) in plastic containers should be highly prohibited, but should rather be done using ceramics.
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