Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover (TiHo)

Use of in situ Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy in cryobiological research

In this chapter, we describe how Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) can be applied in cryobiological research to study: structure and thermal properties of biomolecules in cells and tissues, physical properties of cryopreservation and freeze-drying formulations, and permeation of molecules into cells and tissues. An infrared spectrum gives information about characteristic molecular vibrations of specific groups in molecules, whereas the temperature dependence of specific infrared bands may reveal information about conformational and phase changes. Infrared spectroscopy is minimally invasive and does not require labeling, whereas spectra can be recorded in any physical state of a sample. Data acquisition and spectral processing procedures are described to study phase state changes of protective formulations, cell membrane phase behavior during freezing and drying, protein denaturation during heating, and permeation of protective molecules into tissues. The latter can be used to estimate incubation times needed to load tissues with sufficient amounts of protective agents for cryopreservation or freeze-drying.

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