The Application of Cryogenics to the Reversible Storage of Biomaterials

  • E. G. Cravalho
Part of the Advances in Cryogenic Engineering book series (ACRE, volume 21)


It is well known that the reaction rates associated with the biochemical reactions that are responsible for life and death in biomaterials can be retarded by reducing the temperature of the reactants. On the surface, it would appear possible to arrest the life and death processes of living materials by simply cooling the medium, possibly even to temperatures low enough to precipitate water out of solution in the form of ice. This prospect has intrigued man for centuries, and already in 1693 Boyle [1] published what is probably the first written account of low-temperature biological research. Boyle’s experiments with the effects of freezing and thawing on various biomaterials met with limited success, but his failure has not dampened the enthusiasm of the myriad of researchers who have followed in his footsteps in the ensuing 300 years. There are even accounts in New England folklore [2] of humans preserved in the frozen state. Unfortunately, there is little scientific evidence to indicate that the prospect of suspended animation of humans will be anything more than fantasy in the immediate future. However, there is every reason to believe that serious scientific inquiry into the potential application of cryogenic temperatures for the reversible preservation of biomaterials will lead to ultimate success.


Extracellular Medium Intracellular Water Cool Velocity Intracellular Medium Freezing Protocol 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1960

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. G. Cravalho
    • 1
  1. 1.Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA

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