• Development of 3-D printed Cryo-Ark for sperm cryopreservation


Project Summary

Sperm cryopreservation technology is used for banking genetic materials for clinical application, biomedical research, agriculture, and conservation of endangered animals. However, commercial cryopreservation equipment can be expensive (> $20,000) for many research laboratories. The goal of this study was to develop a low-cost 3-D printed device that can float on liquid nitrogen to achieve standardized sperm cryopreservation for aquatic species. The design included 3 major components. A top rack that could hold multiple different types of cryopreservation containers, such as 0.25-mL French straws, 0.5-mL French Straws, 0.5-mL vials, and 2.0-mL vials. The second component of the Cryo-Ark was two pillars that could support the top rack at different heights above liquid nitrogen. The third component, the Cryo-Ark base, featured could float above the liquid nitrogen without the need for additional foam accessories as reported in previous studies. Cooling rates were evaluated by placing thermocouples inside cryopreservation containers. Initial evaluation showed cooling rates generated by the Cryo-Ark were reproducible with a range of 5-70 °C/min. Further directions include creating designs for vertical top Rack mounts, height adjusting blocks, and components that can be printed faster.

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