June 17, 2016
Scientific Reports

Maintaining semen quality by improving cold chain equipment used in cattle artificial insemination

Daniel Lieberman, Elizabeth McClure, Stephen Harston, Damian Madan

Artificial insemination of dairy cattle is a common practice in the developing world that can improve farmer incomes and food security. Maintaining the fertilizing potential of frozen semen as it is manipulated, transported and stored is crucial to the success of this process. Here we describe simple technological improvements to protect semen from inadvertent thermal fluctuations that occur when users mishandle semen using standard equipment. We show that when frozen semen is mishandled, characteristics of semen biology associated with fertility are negatively affected. We describe several design modifications and results from thermal performance tests of several improved prototypes. Finally, we compare semen that has been mishandled in standard and improved equipment. The data suggest that our canister improvements can better maintain characteristics of semen biology that correlate with fertility when it is mishandled.

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