Dr Vincent Martinez

A pioneering technique has been used to develop an analyser which measures how efficiently bull and ram semen is moving.

Dr Vincent Martinez, co-founder of Dyneval Ltd, developed the concept behind the Dynescan semen analyser after realising that techniques based on statistical physics could be applied to light intensity fluctuations in a video of a semen sample under a low magnification microscope. This allows key parameters of the progressive motility and mean speed of semen to be extracted within minutes.

This data is important for breeders because when semen can maintain motility, conception rates will be higher.

By using the analyser to test semen, cows with uncertain heat timing can be inseminated with semen that has good
longevity, Dr Martinez explains.

“The Dynescan semen analyser can measure the percentage progressive motility – the percentage of cells moving
well – and the speed of progressive cells in a semen sample,’’ he says.

Measurements can be extracted from fresh, frozen, conventional or sexed semen.

Dr Martinez co-founded Dyneval with Dr Tiffany Wood in 2020, and the pair worked with product designers and software developers to bring Dynescan to the market in 2022. The analyser is now used pen-side by vets and  genetics companies.

For pre-breeding examinations on bulls or rams, the Dynescan will provide objective measurements and video evidence of semen quality.

“For straws or pellets used for artificial insemination, semen motility lifetime analysis provides vets and farmers with insight into how long the semen will remain motility in the female reproductive tract,’’ he says.

Measurements performed by vets have shown that conception rates are 8 per cent higher when semen samples are able to maintain motility for more than two hours, he adds.

“This increase will help the average UK dairy farmer of 200 cows retain profit of £8,204 each year, based on a fertility
cost of £5 per cow per day.’’

The company’s next challenge is to scale up the technology so that it can be used on all samples at bull studs to
allow every batch a time-dependent motility signature.

“At every stage during processing, transport, storage and prior to insemination, the Dynescan motility signature can be compared to provide reliable quality control, accessible to every user across the industry,’’ says Dr Martinez.

What the Judges said

Innovative solution with rapid development to provide accurate on farm semen testing. Clear savings to farmers and opportunities to create a more accurate system for farmers and vets alike