A device capable of detecting if a cow is pregnant by analysing its breath has taken one step closer to commercial reality.

US based company Agscent has secured $600,000 from the US government to help commercialise a device which will revolutionise how early pregnancy is detected in livestock.

The hand-held breath sampling device is placed over the cow’s nose while in a crush.

The device then draws in breath from the cow and uses nanosensors to identify specific volatile bio-markers which show pregnancy at various stages.

Phase one of development began in 2018

The company has provisional patents applied for a range of these breath bio-markers.

The project has been in development for three years and now moves into phase two, commercialisation.

Phase one of development began in 2018 where the feasibility and efficacy of detecting specific volatile biomarkers in breath samples to determine pregnancy status in cattle was tested.

Commenting on securing the funding, company founder Dr Bronwyn Darlington said that the technology used in the device is similar to that which is being used in human medicine.

“Of course cows don’t count to 10 into a breathalyser so we’ve had to invent a simple but novel way of collecting breath in order apply these technologies to livestock,” she said.

The company is also now conducting exploratory trials with sheep.