This paper reports field and laboratory tests of serial sampling, solid phase extraction, and microradioimmunoassay methods for the collection, preservation, and analysis of fecal steroids. The field study was conducted in a troop of 87 yellow baboons (Papio cynocephalus) in the Tana River Primate Reserve, Kenya. Serial samples of four focal females and opportunistic sampling of 18 additional females over 22 days of sampling yielded a total of 62 samples, X = 3.1 ± 0.4/day, demonstrating the feasibility of regular field collection and extraction. Estradiol and progesterone concentrations in the field‐extracted samples exhibited high recovery and statistically significant correlations (P < 0.05) with concentrations in the lab‐extracted samples, suggesting that solid phase extraction could provide a useful alternative to freezing in sites where electricity or liquid nitrogen is not available. Tests of microradioimmunoassays demonstrated that these assays were sensitive, accurate, and precise when applied to the assay of fecal extracts, providing estimates of ovarian steroids that varied significantly with reproductive state. The demonstration that testosterone could be accurately and reliably assayed in fecal extracts suggests that these techniques also could be applied to the study of male reproductive function. Parallels between fecal profiles of cycling and pregnant baboons with patterns reported for serum steroids in baboons suggest that fecal steroids might be useful in distinguishing amenorrhea from early pregnancy in free‐ranging baboons as well as in species lacking external indices of reproductive state. © 1995 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.
American Journal of Primatology – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 1995
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