How do Cryoprotectants work?

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Offline thedoc

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How do Cryoprotectants work?
« on: 20/09/2011 13:56:13 »
Freezing is a great way to slow down chemical reactions and this is why we use a freezer to stop food going off and why organs that are going to be transplanted are kept cold.  Freezing can do serious damage to biological tissues, but some organisms have evolved very clever chemical ways around this.  Lorna Dougan is biophysicist at Leeds University who's been trying to figure out how this works.
Read a transcript of the interview by clicking here

« Last Edit: 20/09/2011 13:56:13 by _system »


Offline The Penguin

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How do Cryoprotectants work?
« Reply #1 on: 19/10/2011 17:16:17 »
This idea comes from the exploitation of colligative properties. Such is the case when you mix two pure liquids with differing freezing temperatures you can lower the freezing temperature below that of each individual liquid. This has been talked about on the show with regards to water and glycerol mixture. Water has a freezing temperature of 0C and glycerol is 17C, but when you mix them in certain ratios the mixture can drop its freezing temp to around -40C. Since much of natural tissue is  water, adding glycerol helps lower the temperature of the tissue below 0C while preventing it from freezing.