’Friendly’ Bacteria to Increase Fertility in Cows

A research team at Freie Universität Berlin is investigating bacteria that can contribute to increasing the fertility of dairy cows

No 082/2021 from May 06, 2021

An interdisciplinary research team consisting of life scientists and veterinary researchers at Freie Universität Berlin has developed a method that can promote the health of dairy cows and improve their fertility - with the help of probiotic lactobacilli. The researchers introduced bacteria of the Lactobacillus buchneri strain into the uterus of cows. They found that the microbes were able to increase the fertility of those animals in particular that suffered from inflammation of the uterine lining. The researchers suspect that the lactobacilli help maintain or restore a healthy microbiota, i.e., the symbiotic colonization of the body by beneficial microorganisms. The novel method can thus help to protect the health of the animals treated and to reduce the use of antibiotics at dairy farms. The team, headed by Dr. Christoph Gabler from the Institute of Veterinary Biochemistry at Freie Universität Berlin, received 550,000 euros from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research to pursue the scientific and economic validation of the method.

The researchers involved in the project aim to use this method as a simple, practicable, and gentle way of improving the fertility of both sick and healthy dairy cows. The application of the bacteria does not have any side effects and can be used as a prophylactic treatment. It can also be used to improve the success of artificial insemination. The research team is still investigating suitable application methods for this bacterial strain and its ideal dosage for administration. They are now working on developing a simple treatment method that will work in everyday veterinary medicine and agriculture. At the end of the development process, they aim to provide a treatment kit.

The team is being supported by Profund Innovation, the service institution for knowledge and technology transfer at Freie Universität. Prior to scientific publication, the process was registered for a European patent (EP18708059) in order to legally secure the planned later exploitation. In this process they were supported by the university’s Patent and License Service (PULS). Both Profund Innovation and PULS are part of the Research Division of Freie Universität.


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