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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

Screening for atypical porcine pestivirus in Swedish boar semen used for artificial insemination and a characterisation of the seminal RNA microbiome including the virome

Stenberg, Hedvig; Malmberg, Maja; Hayer, Juliette



This study aimed to characterise the RNA microbiome, including the virome of extended semen from Swedish breeding boars, with particular focus on Atypical porcine pestivirus (APPV). This neurotropic virus, associated with congenital tremor type A-II in piglets, was recently demonstrated to induce the disease through insemination with semen from infected boars.


From 124 Artificial Insemination (AI) doses from Swedish breeding boars, APPV was detected in one dose in addition to a sparse seminal RNA virome, characterised by retroviruses, phages, and some fecal-associated contaminants. The detected seminal microbiome was large and characterized by Gram-negative bacteria from the phylum Proteobacteria, mainly consisting of apathogenic or opportunistic bacteria. The proportion of bacteria with a pathogenic potential was low, and no antimicrobial resistance genes (ARGs) were detected in the datasets.


Overall, the results indicate a good health status among Swedish breeding boars. The detection of APPV in semen raises the question of whether routine screening for APPV in breeding boars should be instigated.


Atypical porcine pestivirus; Congenital tremor; Semen; Breeding boars; Artificial insemination; Seminal; Virome; Microbiome; Pigs; High-throughput sequencing

Published in

BMC Veterinary Research
2023, Volume: 19, number: 1, article number: 219
Publisher: BMC