Main content area

Simulation modelling of high‐throughput cryopreservation of aquatic germplasm: a case study of blue catfish sperm processing

Hu, E, Liao, Thunshun Warren, Tiersch, Terrence R
Aquaculture research 2015 v.46 no.2 pp. 432-445
Ictalurus furcatus, Ictalurus punctatus, aquaculture, automation, case studies, computer simulation, computer software, cryopreservation, decision making, equipment, fish, fish industry, fish production, germplasm, hybrids, planning, simulation models, spawning, spermatozoa, work schedules, Wisconsin
Emerging commercial‐level technology for aquatic sperm cryopreservation has not been modelled by computer simulation. Commercially available software (ARENA, Rockwell Automation, Inc. Milwaukee, WI) was applied to simulate high‐throughput sperm cryopreservation of blue catfish (Ictalurus furcatus) based on existing processing capabilities. The goal was to develop a simulation model suitable for production planning and decision making. The objectives were to: (1) predict the maximum output for 8‐h workday; (2) analyse the bottlenecks within the process, and (3) estimate operational costs when run for daily maximum output. High‐throughput cryopreservation was divided into six major steps modelled with time, resources, and logic structures. The modelled production line processed 18 fish and produced 1164 ± 33 (mean ± SD) 0.5‐mL straws containing one billion cryopreserved sperm. Two such production lines could support all hybrid catfish production in the United States and 15 such lines could support the entire channel catfish industry if it were to adopt artificial spawning techniques. Evaluations were made to improve efficiency, such as increasing scale, optimizing resources, and eliminating underutilized equipment. This model can serve as a template for other aquatic species and assist decision making in industrial application of aquatic germplasm in aquaculture, stock enhancement, conservation and biomedical model fish.