Poor handling affects semen motility

Removing a straw from the tank even for a short period of 10 seconds (e.g. to read the bull’s name) can cause a reduction of 11% in the Progressive Motility. Therefore, it is crucial to handle the straws with extreme care during transport, storage, and before insemination to avoid any risk of affecting the semen quality.

MSc Student Cecilia McCann from the University of Strathclyde explains this in this 12-minute video.

The impact of multiple ambient exposures on bull spermatozoa motility due to poor handling practices


Mishandling of artificial insemination (AI) straws that may occur at multiple stages prior to thawing a cryopreserved semen sample can result in thermal fluctuations, which may have a detrimental impact on semen quality parameters. To investigate this, the impact of ambient exposure on motility parameters (% progressive motility and mean swimming speed), which occur as a result of typical mishandling practices was assessed. The project demonstrated a significant negative correlation between ambient exposure and % progressive motility (p: 0.007) but not with swimming speed (p: 0.083). Additionally, as the number of ambient exposures was increased from a single cycle to ten cycles, there was approximately a twofold reduction in % progressive motility compared with a single one-minute ambient exposure. The project provided evidence that increasing the duration and number of ambient exposures significantly impact progressive motility. However, the mean swimming speed (micron/s), morphology and lifetime of this motile population remain unaffected by different ambient conditions.

Published Date: 24th August 2023

Author: Cecilia McCann
MSc Industrial Biotechnology student at the University of Strathclyde

Cecilia McCann is an MSc student in Industrial Biotechnology at the University of Strathclyde. She has previously graduated with a BSc in Microbiology (Virology) from the University of Glasgow. As part of her master’s program, she completed a ten-week placement with Dyneval Ltd. The focus of her project was to determine the impact of multiple ambient exposures on bull spermatozoa motility due to poor handling practices.

Meet international quality standards with a Dynescan

To enhance your knowledge and improve your results, we recommend using our state-of-the-art Dynescan semen analyser. It has been designed to meet all international quality standards and will help you achieve reliable results within minutes.  Why not use the Dynescan to train your team in the correct protocols for handling and thawing straws to ensure that valuable semen is not damaged before insemination.  Coming soon – keep an eye out for our AI tank audit tool which will be valuable checklist to ensure that proper protocols are followed.


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