Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Munn, Thibaudeau Giselle

Committee Member

Willard, T. Scott

Committee Member

Kouba, Andrew

Committee Member

Baldwin, S. Brian

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Biological Sciences

Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Biological Sciences


Preservation of giant pandas, Ailuropoda melanoleuca, is a worldwide concern. This study was designed to examine dietary and reproductive challenges associated with panda management. Phytoestrogens are natural plant compounds that mimic estrogen and often negatively impact mammalian reproduction. Phytoestrogens in bamboo, the panda’s primary food source, is unknown. Here, estrogen radioimmuno- and receptor-binding assays revealed estrogenic activity in three species of Phyllostachys bamboo. These results present indirect evidence of phytoestrogenic mimics in bamboo, but their relevance is still unknown. Studies were also conducted to observe panda reproductive behaviors in an attempt to augment the use of an artificial vagina (AV) for semen collection. A preliminary study confirmed the panda could differentiate between estrus urine and a water ‘control.’ However, when estrus urine was placed on the AV as an attractant, the subject didn’t approach the AV. Further investigation of dietary challenges and reproductive alternatives are needed to substantiate these findings.