Thesis Earvz.docx - Introduction Boar management and semen...

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Introduction Boar management and semen handling factors affect the quality of boar extended semen Abstract Background During the last decades, the use of porcine semen for artificial insemination (AI) by means of fresh diluted semen has increased considerably [ 1 , 2 ]. Compared to natural mating, AI reduces the risk of disease transmission [ 3 , 4 ], it allows the introduction of superior genes into sow herds and additionally, it leads to a better profitability of each boar ejaculate. Therefore, AI has become a very useful tool in countries with intensive pig production. In Western Europe, more than 90% of the sows have been bred by AI for more than two decades [ 1 , 2 ]. Semen is obtained from boars present either in the sow farm or in specialized AI-centers. The latter offer a diversity of breeds and genetic lines and the potential of distributing ready-to-use semen doses of constant quality. To obtain the maximum productivity from each boar, genetic and external factors that might affect semen quality and production must be taken into consideration. Selecting boars with the best semen quality at an early age is imperative to reduce the costs of raising animals that will not be used for semen production [ 5 ]. Once in production, boars that are delivering semen of poor quality are normally put on rest for few weeks and are culled if they do not recover. This implies extra costs for AI centers and they would therefore benefit from a method for early detection of boars that must be culled [ 6 ]. Some morphological markers could be used to identify boars from an early age that will produce high-quality semen and also could be used to facilitate genetic improvement by utilizing those phenotypic differences in order to select the most superior genotypes [ 7 ]. In addition, not only semen production parameters have to be considered when selecting boars for AI, but also their progeny’s potential for meat production [ 8 ]. Housing, feeding and management may have a direct impact on semen output [ 9 11 ] and therefore on the profitability of an AI centre. During processing and storage, sperm suffer stress and it is believed that some feeding strategies can prepare the semen to better resist this stress [ 12 ]. In addition to boar management, ejaculates need to be handled in a controlled manner to avoid sperm damage. An increasing number of AI centres are implementing quality control systems in which every step from collection to packaging is monitored [ 13 ]. The temperature of dilution and storage or the different compositions of the extenders are known to influence semen quality [ 14 , 15 ]. Bacterial contamination has been identified as one of the most critical problems during fresh semen processing [ 13 ]. Not only the negative effect of bacteria on semen quality is of concern but also the increase in bacteria isolated from extended semen showing resistance against antibiotics [ 16 ].
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The present paper will review and critically discuss the different steps during the production of extended pig semen. Emphasis will be put on factors that could jeopardize semen quality such as
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  • Fall '17
  • Maricel Galang
  • Semen

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