CORDIS - EU research results

An alternative to antibiotics in porcine semen doses

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ECOEXTENDER (An alternative to antibiotics in porcine semen doses)

Reporting period: 2019-06-01 to 2019-11-30

Semen Cardona works on the inhibition of any bacteria through antibiotic-free diluents with the help of natural peptides. This is in line what is undoubtedly the future of the livestock sector: produce without antibiotics in any of the points of the value chain. Semen Cardona believes that, however difficult, this condition begins in the first gear: artificial insemination. This system will undoubtedly be an added value for the future production of seminal doses. Ph1 will enable us to fully assess the technical and commercial feasibility of the solution. Pig breeding is currently carried out by means of artificial insemination. Since pig semen can be a carrier for pathological agents, it is essential for refrigerating thinners to contain antimicrobials. In this way, the growth of bacteria in semen can be controlled, thereby preventing losses both for seminal fluid production centres and for pig farms where the semen is used. However, the use of antibiotics has been increasingly restricted to prevent the development of antibiotic resistance. For the above reasons, artificial insemination producers, as well as research centres and the industry is looking for new technologies that do not uses antibiotics. Our company that is one of the most important artificial insemination centres working on the possible substitution of current preservation methods with methods based on antimicrobial peptides rather than antibiotics. Our company comes with a novel approach to combat the presence of antibiotics in semen doses. The objective of the project is the development of new technologies which allow obtaining free antibiotics doses for swine Artificial Insemination (AI).
Semen Cardona produces and commercializes multigenetics porcine semen doses with the maximum health safety, accomplishing all the possible bio safety measures and minimizing at maximum the risk of pathogen agents entry. This project therefore fully fits in our R&D strategy, because besides the opportunity of having a unique product in the market, we are the first ones interested in having such a solution. With ECOEXTENDER we can produce without antibiotics in any of the points of the value chain.SEMEN CARDONA will focus on the development of a dilution for refrigerated semen able to supersede current antibiotics with other biological agents: antimicrobial peptides. The diluents are in a phase of market maturity, although the new solutions to lower the antibiotic load are in an embryonic phase. With a population of around 150 million on the European Union's (EU) agricultural holdings, pigs represent the largest livestock category in the EU, ahead of bovines (about 89 million head). Currently, in Spain the reference market represents a use of 1,540,000 litres of diluent per year, approximately € 2,310,000 per year, in Europe the reference market amounts to 8,470,000 litres per year, approximately € 12,705,000 per year.
This Phase 1 innovation business project was executed during a period of 6 months and achieved all the proposed objectives. We have identified all relevant aspects of the technical and commercial feasibility of our business innovation.
The business idea will continue to be pursued, as thanks to the Ph1 study we managed to understand several factors that will be crucial for bringing ECOEXTENDER to the market.
The discussions with potential customers show that there is a strong demand for ECOEXTENDER product.
Our Market research has indicated high scalability and the demand is rising, as we get more and more approached directly by potential customers. A market study was carried out (outsourced) into the main potential countries that might have a need for the new product, as well as into the non-existence of competition from other suppliers providing the same solution, and the potential for artificial insemination centres (final consumer). The demand is latent, as there is a potential market (many reports have noted the need to reduce antibiotics in animals) but there is currently no such product on the market (see competition). At the same time, the demand is continuous, since it remains in place over long periods (by necessity and in this case also by legal obligation) and is in a period of growth.

As ECOEXTENDER is a very specific and technical product, the communication plan will be done through:
o Our corporate website.
o Participation in Technical Days of the sector.
o Conferences in associations of the sector, such as the ANPS in Spain or the EU WelNet in Europe, the International farmers summit, International technical meeting on artificial insemination
o Articles in specialized magazines of the sector, such as International Pig Topigs, Advances in Swine Technology and Suis.
o Assistance in international fairs in the sector, such as AFIMA in Spain or Space in France.
o Personalized visits of the network of salespersons and group distributors to potential clients
According to the results obtained in activity 2.1 peptides LEAP2 and PMAP23 presented the greatest capacity to control anaerobic bacterial growth and they proved to be the most ideal to continue with the other activities.
With reference to activity 2.4 according to the results of the analysis of the impact of peptides LEAP2 and PMAP23 on the response of spermatozoa to in vitro capacitation and the progesterone-induced acrosome reaction, the highest concentrations of both peptides (LEAP, 10 µM and PMAP23, 5 µM) must be rejected, as both have a negative impact on these phenomena.
Hence, based on the in vitro experiment, we observed that peptide LEAP2 at the 2.5 µM concentration did not reduce the fertilisation capacity of the spermatozoa, and with the in vivo results, it can be concluded that the use of peptide LEAP2 at a concentration of 2.5 µM in an antibiotic-free medium enables the control of aerobic and anaerobic microbacterial growth, without negatively affecting either the quality of the sperm or its fertilisation capacity. Therefore, this peptide, the effectiveness of which does not vary with medium or season, can be used safely as an alternative to antibiotics in porcine semen storage diluents at 17 °C.