Semen storage | Stirling Cryogenics
Semen storage (artificial insemination)
Stirling Cryogenics has been supplying on-site liquid nitrogen plants to biological storage facilities since the mid 60’s, be it bull semen for artifical insemination or embryos. Liquid nitrogen is required for long-term storage of biological material. Its low temperature of -196ºC (77K) and inert caracteristics prevent the deterioration of biological quality.
In artificial insemination centers where liquid nitrogen
facilities are available, mini straws with semen are stored in cryogenic containers. Upon delivery to sub-centers trained inseminators take along the straws to the cattle farms.
A reliable supply of liquid nitrogen is of vital importance for semen storage. Years of work and investment could be totally wasted should the content of a cryogenic vessel perish due to a lack of sufficient liquid nitrogen. Hence, it is important to consider and organize liquid nitrogen availability in an utmost reliable way. The selected method will dictate the needed equipment to a large extent.
Basically there is a choice between receiving bulk liquid nitrogen from industrial gas suppliers and producing liquid nitrogen on-site. The bulk-supplier option is often used in countries with good infrastructures. The obvious advantage is that no liquid nitrogen producing equipment is required in the AI facility itself. The disadvantage is that this option relies upon continuous availability of transportation resources and infrastructure.
Before adopting one of the above options you should carefully consider the possibilities and the guaranteed availability of liquid nitrogen at the location of the artificial insemination centre, since for an AI program to be successful, progeny testing must be based upon the availability of a "semen archive bank" built up slowly and updated every year. Without this, no effective program for genetic improvement of cattle can be practical since the results of a particular insemination stage are not known until about four years after its start.
For reasons of reliable uninterrupted liquid nitrogen supply, the alternative of producing on-site is strongly recommended for artificial insemination facilities where bulk supply cannot be absolutely guaranteed. Many centers in industrialized countries invest in a liquid nitrogen generating plant as an additional source of supply in case of a supply emergency such as strikes, natural catastrophies, etc. An on-site plant is an absolute must for stations in remote areas not having correct infrastructure leading to their site.
More than 4000 StirLIN plants have been supplied worldwide. With the help of feed back from artificial insemination users we have designed the best matching liquid nitrogen production plant, the StirLIN-1 Compact. Available as a 10 l/hr version the StirLIN-1 Compact is skid mounted and 'plug and play'.
The success of cattle improvement in India
Stirling played a key role in the development of artificial insemination in India and many other countries in the world by supplying the most essential element in the chain of requirements: a reliable on site liquid nitrogen plant. After more then 40 years of investment in the implementation of artificial insemination, India has improved the quality of its cattle and increased its dairy and beef production to a level where these have become accessible to more than a billion people. Farmers and co-operatives have learned to appreciate the added value of artificial insemination to genetically improve the quality of the nation's livestock. This ensures top quality cattle and economic value for farmers.
How Stirling Cryogenics can help with AI
Stirling Cryogenics is able to advice farmers and co-operatives on how to improve the quality of the liquid nitrogen supply for use in artificial insemination. Additionally, advice can be supplied on the organisation of the AI centres and auxilliary equipment for liquid nitrogen storage.
Stirling Cryogenics has developed a range of liquid nitrogen production plants named StirLITE and StirLIN. Production ranges from 2,5 up to 151 litres/hour. The technology is based on the world-famous Stirling cryogenerators in combination with air separation using pressure swing adsorption (PSA). Typical benefits of the Stirling range are:
- Fully automatic operation after initial starting by single switch
- No defrosting/warming up required
- Quick start within 5 minutes to liquid production and consequently suited for intermittent use e.g. poor power supply
- Low noise operation for use inside buildings
- Low maintenance costs, maintenance intervals up to 6,000 operating hours
- Proven longevity of at least 15 years. Well maintained plants have shown a technical life of over 40 years
- Supply includes a liquid storage vessel with a sensor control to automatically start and stop the system thus maintaining a maximum of liquid nitrogen
- Fully PLC controlled system
- Extensive technical worldwide support services e.g. maintenance, repair, free help desk during lifetime of the installation, 10 years guaranteed spare parts supply and training on the StirLIN plant of customer's personnel to ensure optimal performance and reliability throughout the plants lifetime
For use in applications as described the following Stirling Cryogenics products may be considered:
Watch this old, but interesting and entertaining video Miracle of Life about AI and Stirling equipment.