Antibiotic reduction in the production of fresh semen doses for porcine artificial insemination

Antibiotic resistance is a global concern developed by the generalised use of antibiotics in animal medicine. Alternative methods to inhibit bacterial growth are needed, so, new technologies to obtain free antibiotic porcine semen doses for artificial insemination will be developed.

Sow breeding in Western European countries is done mainly by artificial insemination (AI) using fresh semen doses. The lack of bacterial growth control in the fresh semen lead to economic losses both in the semen doses Production Centres and the sow farms where they are applied. These losses are due to the decrease in the sperm quality which is caused by the bacterial spermicide effect which reduce the sperm motility, affect the plasma membrane and induce degenerative acrosome exocytosis. In addition, these bacteria may cause infections in the genital tract of the sow when artificially inseminated which also affects the fertility. In particular, it has been demonstrated that the presence of those microorganisms might produce embryonic death, endometritis and other systemic infections in the inseminated sows. The aim of this project is to develop new antibiotic-free technologies for semen preservation and conditioning. To achieve this goal, SEMEN CARDONA, the main Spanish company devoted to the production and commercialization of multi-genetic porcine semen dose and IMV Technologies, a French company worldwide leader in reproduction biotechnologies, create a consortium in order to develop two strategies to prevent bacterial proliferation in porcine semen. On one hand, SEMEN CARDONA will focus on the development of a refrigerated semen diluent using antimicrobial peptides (AMP) as biological agents to supersede the currently used antibiotics. To do so, SEMEN CARDONA will collaborate with the Research Institute TechnoSperm (Girona University, Spain) in order to: 1- Identify the suitable antimicrobial peptides candidates (and their concentrations) to eliminate the bacterial load in the semen without affecting the spermatic quality. 2- Check the effects of the validated AMP candidates on porcine semen. 3- Conduct field artificial insemination tests in farms to validate the suitability of the solution and demonstrate the beneficial effects of AMP addition in the in vitro conservation of the porcine semen in the later in vivo fecundation. On the other hand, IMV Technologies will develop and validate a combination of 3 technologies that should enable the elimination of antibiotics use in porcine semen extenders: • A new extender allowing the conservation of boar semen doses at 4ºC. • The performance of a new bacteriostatic bag used for semen doses packaging. • A new system to rapidly measure bacterial load in raw ejaculate. The first validation part will be to test the performance of these technologies in different conditions (AI centres) and on several boars’ ejaculates differing in terms of bacterial load. This part will be composed of 3 steps: 1- Comparison between the new flow cytometric bacteriological tests (measuring the total number of bacteria) and the standard one (measuring the number of living bacteria), 2- Comparison in vitro and in vivo of the new medium (conservation at 4°C) and the standard (conservation at 16.5°C) medium and 3- To ensure the efficiency of the bacteriostatic bag concerning the bacterial growth and its non-toxicity regarding the spermatozoa. The second validation part will be conducted in the field, to demonstrate the efficiency of these new technologies’ combination in regard to swine artificial inseminations.
Project ID: 
11 735
Start date: 
Project Duration: 
Project costs: 
1 200 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Animal Selection/Production / Husbandry technology
Market Area: 
Animal Husbandry

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