AMIKOS – Antimicrobial concepts for artificial insemination

AMIKOS is a third-party funded joint project with the aim of developing a feasible low-temperature storage concept for liquid preservation of boar semen that allows antibiotic-free artificial inseminations. The project partners combine in this approach their long experience in the fields of spermatology, microbiology, reproduction medicine and technology.

Project details
Duration: 04/2017 – 04/2020
Third-party funded: yes
Involved Department(s): Dept Wildlife Diseases
Leibniz-IZW Project Leader(s): Kristin Mühldorfer (Dept Wildlife Diseases)
Leibniz-IZW Project Team: Kathi Scheinpflug, Sabine Schiller (all: Dept Wildlife Diseases)
Consortium Partner(s): University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover (TiHo), Institute for Reproduction of Farm Animals Schönow (IFN), Minitüb corporation, Association for Bioeconomy Research (FBF)
Current Funding Organisation: Landwirtschaftliche Rentenbank and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food in Germany
Research Foci:
Developing theories, methods, and tools


Sperm cryopreservation is not applicable for several mammalian species, including porcine and feline, because sperm cells are temperature sensitive and do not survive the freezing and thawing process. Other preservation techniques use liquid semen extenders with antibiotics because of the risk of microbial contaminations, which can impair sperm quality, insemination and fertilization results. As part of a joint interdisciplinary project named AMIKOS, funded by the Landwirtschaftliche Rentenbank and associated with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food, we are developing a low-temperature storage concept for liquid preservation of boar semen.

Aims of this project are 1) a prolongation of the storage probability of extended semen tubes in reducing bacterial contamination and bacterial growth at 5 °C, 2) by minimizing the use of antibiotics and the associated risk of antimicrobial resistances, and 3) the development of a feasible chilling concept by using a prototype extender for maintaining the semen quality. 

1) Photo by Dr. Anja Peters: „boar stud“, Copyright: A. Peters, IFN Schönow
2) Photo by Dr. Anja Peters:  „semen tube“, Copyright: A. Peters, IFN Schönow
3) Photo by Prof. Dagmar Waberski: „phase-contrast microscopy image of a sperm cell“, Copyright: D. Waberski, TiHo Hannover

Selected Publications

Paschoal AFL, Luther A-M, Jäkel H, Scheinpflug K, Mühldorfer K, Bortolozzo FP, Waberski D (accepted): Determination of a cooling-rate frame for antibiotic-free preservation of boar semen at 5°C. PLOS ONE.

Jäkel H, Scheinpflug K, Mühldorfer K, Gianluppi R, Schardong L, Mellagi APG, Bortolozzo FP, Waberski D (submitted): In vitro performance and fertility of antibiotic-free preserved boar semen during storage at 5°C.

Hensel B, Jakop U, Scheinpflug K, Mühldorfer K, Schröter F, Schräfer J, Greber K, Jung M, Schulze M (submitted): Low temperature presevation of porcine semen: Influence of short antimicrobial lipopeptides on sperm quality and bacterial load.