Image Credit: Air Products PLC
Human beings have had a monumental impact on the lives and development of other animals. This impact cannot be understated. Certain species have been systematically bred solely for human use, while other species have suffered from human colonization, devastating habitats and seeing populations reduced significantly through hunting.
Human beings now have the ability to assist both species preservation and selective breeding through the utilization of cryogenic freezing.
Both liquid nitrogen and carbon dioxide (CO₂) can be used as alternatives to conventional freezing methods. Each of these offers several advantages, including the safe storage of animal sperm that is essential for breeders.
The capacity to freeze, store and transfer genetic material has led to a revolution in animal breeding, both for commercial and conservation purposes.
Advantages of cryogenic freezing
Once human beings had begun to settle and farm the land, they started to domesticate animals, utilizing them for consumables, work and companionship.
Since the domestication of animal species began, selective breeding has been a cornerstone of this domestication – determining the most useful traits to breed into the next generation of a species.
Both farms and science have evolved over time. The long, often expensive process of transporting specific animals between sites has largely been superseded by the collection, storage, and transfer of genetic material. This not only takes place between farms but also between regions and countries.
Where certain animals are prized for their physical and behavioral traits, these can be used to produce sperm, eggs and embryos that are then commercially traded around the world in what is now a multi-billion dollar industry.
The safe handling of genetic material is paramount for buyers and sellers in this market, and it is important to minimize damage to cells during freezing and thawing. Cryogenic freezing offers a number of advantages, particularly when using products from a reputable supplier such as Air Products. These benefits include:
- Efficiency – the lowest liquid nitrogen consumption on the market
- Stability – the lowest below‐the‐lid nitrogen vapor temperatures
- Sample security – freezers can maintain cryogenic temperatures for up to 23 days, even with no liquid nitrogen supply
The award‐winning MVE Variō is an advanced energy saving alternative to mechanical freezers. The instrument is capable of operating at 20°C to ‐150°C, offering precise internal environmental monitoring, touchscreen control and a reduced carbon footprint.
The freezer’s low power consumption means that its energy requirement is less than 1% of that of traditional mechanical freezers.
The use of advanced freezer technology allows high quality specimens to be collected and stored ahead of future use and sale. This practice means that it is possible for animals to breed whilst continuing to perform their primary purpose, for example, horse racing.
This extends the animals’ contribution and financial worth while minimizing any inconvenience or potential stress from travel. This practice also creates opportunities for wider international distribution, opening up that potential that a wider exchange of genetic information and enhancing domestic livestock diversity.
The technique of cryopreservation is utilized alongside other forms of conservation, aiming to help preserve and protect the genetics of endangered and rare species. This practice is important, both in terms of wild animals and rare‐breed livestock.
As well as the advantages outlined above, cryogenic freezing facilitates the long‐term storage of genetic samples. The same animal can therefore continue producing offspring over an extended period of time, utilizing material collected over a far shorter period. This offers the potential to help recover and even regenerate an entire species.
The perfect partner in cryogenics
Air Products can provide information and solutions for a range of needs, whether a potential customer is new to animal breeding and cryogenics or has an existing setup that requires an upgrade. Air Products can offer a number of services, including:
- A diverse range of ULT and cryogenic freezers and systems, suitable for a range of sample numbers and sizes
- Delivery of liquid nitrogen
- Project management
- Microbulk/bulk storage
- Design and installation of cryo-rooms
- Supply of racking and accessories
- Super insulated vacuum insulated lines (SIVL) suitable for liquid nitrogen transfer
- Expert guidance and advice as required
About Air Products PLC
Air Products touch the lives of consumers around the globe in positive ways every day. With approximately 16,000 employees and operations in 50 countries, we serve customers across a wide range of industries from food and beverage to medical, energy, and transportation. We supply a unique portfolio of atmospheric and process gases, equipment, and services.
Founded in 1940, Air Products has built a reputation for its innovative culture, operational excellence, and commitment to safety and the environment. Our passionate, talented, and committed employees from a diversity of backgrounds are driven by Air Products’ higher purpose to create innovative solutions that benefit the environment, enhance sustainability and address the challenges facing customers, communities, and the world.
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