GameteGuard: an approach to counteract fertility decline in dairy cattle

Period of Performance: 01/01/2014 - 12/31/2014


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Fort Collins, CO 80524
Firm POC
Principal Investigator


This Small Business Innovation Research phase I project addresses profitability as affected by reduced pregnancy rates in artificially inseminated mammals. Pregnancy rates directly impact profitability of dairy farmers; a 2-3% increase may improve profit by $40,000 per 1000 head. Handling, freezing and thawing of bull sperm generates oxidative free radicals leading to irreversible damage to DNA and membranes causing lower pregnancy rates. Phase I will determine if the addition of plant derived antioxidants to semen extenders will improve post-thaw sperm qualit and fertility, as assessed by DNA degradation, mitochondrial assays, and breeding trials. Plant extracts may reduce oxidative stress and improve post-thaw sperm quality, andpregnancy rates.The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is vast. Dairy and beef farmers generally are low-margin operations and increased fertility will provide profit protection during fluctuating milk and beef price cycles. Therefore, family and commercial farmers stand an increased chance of remaining in business. Proprietary plant extracts may help improve fertility, reduce spontaneous abortions and reduce birth defects, possibly in humans as well as cattle. Because all extracts are natural, the treated sperm can be used for the growing organic farming industry.