Article

Cell Biophysics

, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 117-131

Determination of the surface tension of biological cells using the freezing front technique

  • J. K. SpeltAffiliated withDepartment of Mechanical Engineering, University of Toronto
  • , D. R. AbsolomAffiliated withDepartment of Mechanical Engineering, University of TorontoResearch Institute, The Hospital for Sick ChildrenDepartment of Microbiology, SUNYAB
  • , W. ZinggAffiliated withResearch Institute, The Hospital for Sick ChildrenInstitute of Biomedical Engineering, University of Toronto
  • , C. J. van OssAffiliated withDepartment of Microbiology, SUNYAB
  • , A. W. NeumannAffiliated withDepartment of Mechanical Engineering, University of TorontoResearch Institute, The Hospital for Sick ChildrenInstitute of Biomedical Engineering, University of Toronto

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Abstract

The freezing front technique for solid surface tension measurements was used to obtain the surface tensions of glutaraldehyde-fixed human erythrocytes, and fresh human lymphocytes and grnulocytes in aqueous media. The results agree well with the values obtained by other methods and indicate that the freezing front technique is sufficiently sensitive to detect small differences (of the order of 0.1 ergs/cm2) in surface tension. This property, along with a number of applications for which it is uniquely suited makes the freezing front technique an important new approach to the measurement of the surface tensions of biological cells and of small particles in general.

Index Entries

Surface tension, of cells freezing front technique, for cell surface tension human erythrocytes, surface tension of erythrocytes, human, surface tension of lymphocytes, human, surface tension of human granulocytes, surface tension of