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Cryo Letters. 2000 Mar-Apr;21(2):83-90.

Soluble carbohydrates (trehalose in particular) and cryoprotection in polar biota.

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  • 1British Antarctic Survey, Natural Environment Research Council, High Cross, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0ET.


Data are presented here on low molecular weight carbohydrates contents (assessed from samples collected in situ) of selected, representative terrestrial species from the maritime Antarctic. Significant seasonal variation for most species were observed. Increased levels overwinter in arthropods contrasted with cryptogams where levels were higher in spring and summer samples. The occurrence and seasonal variation of trehalose in particular is demonstrated for invertebrate and lichen species. The data are discussed in relation to published results from experimental manipulation of growth temperatures on Antarctic fungi and an Arctic springtail providing further evidence for the protective role of trehalose. The widespread presence of trehalose in polar biota is documented and discussed regarding acclimatisation to both low temperature and partial dehydration.

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