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Taking the guesswork out of semen analysis

by 5m Editor
16 November 2006, at 11:42am

UK - Following a validation exercise, Leeds Veterinary Laboratories (LVL) now use the Hamilton Thorne Ultimate Sperm analyser to examine raw and extended boar semen from UK pig AI centres, instead of manual techniques, says Anne Jones, BVMS,MSc,MRCVS, Managing Director, Leeds Veterinary Laboratories.

British Pig Executive AI Quality Standard

The analyser was installed to provide this service for the MLC BPEX project to establish a quality standard for the British pig AI industry. A pilot study was run for BPEX during which UK pig AI companies sent randomly-selected extended semen, from routine collections, to LVL. The semen was analysed on the Ultimate and additionally a bacteriological check was done on some packs on the last day of the shelf life.

The Ultimate measures the total sperm count and the motility. It is a very sophisticated machine, being a computer-assisted sperm analyser (CASA) which incorporates a microscope and video with software to interpret the images to produce reliable results. Spermatozoa morphology is still done by direct microscopy. The Ultimate is able to accurately assess the number of spermatozoa which are moving progressively, as well as the total numbers alive but not necessarily swimming along.

A small sample is put into a chamber and the analyser calculates the concentration of spermatozoa by counting ten fields and between 300 to 1000 sperm, far more cells than are generally counted manually. By weighing the pack on arrival, the total number of sperm in the dose is calculated. The person operating the analyser is able to see the sample on the computer screen and ensure that the analyser is counting correctly.

ThePigsite News Desk

5m Editor