Antimicrobially active semen extenders allow the reduction of antibiotic use in pig insemination
Antibiotic use in semen extenders for livestock may contribute to the development and spreading of multi-drug resistance. Antimicrobial control in semen doses for artificial insemination of pigs is indispensable due to the relatively high storage temperature (17 °C). The objectives of this study were first, to examine whether the antimicrobial capacity differs between antibiotic-free extenders and second, to determine whether an antimicrobial active extender provides the possibility to reduce antibiotics. Antibiotic-free semen extenders Beltsville Thawing Solution (BTS) and Androstar Premium were inoculated at 103 to 104 CFU/mL with four pure bacterial strains isolated from boar ejaculates or a mixture thereof, and then stored for 144 h at 17 °C. Bacterial counts after aerobic culture decreased in BTS up to one log level and decreased in Androstar Premium by 2 to 3.5 log levels (p < 0.05). In semen samples from nine boars stored in the inoculated Androstar Premium extender containing half of the standard concentration of gentamicin, bacteria counts were below 101 CFU/mL. Likewise, half of the standard dose of apramycin and ampicillin was fully antimicrobially active and sperm quality was maintained. In conclusion, semen extenders with intrinsic antimicrobial activity allow a reduction in antibiotic use in pig insemination.