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J Electron Microsc Tech. 1989 Nov;13(3):165-74.

High-pressure freezing for the preservation of biological structure: theory and practice.

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Research Service, VA Medical Center, Denver, Colorado 80220.


The two main advantages of cryofixation over chemical fixation methods are the simultaneous stabilization of all cellular components and the much faster rate of fixation. The main drawback pertains to the limited depth (less than 20 microns surface layer) to which samples can be well frozen when freezing is carried out under atmospheric conditions. High-pressure freezing increases the depth close to 0.6 mm to which samples can be frozen without the formation of structurally distorting ice crystals. This review discusses the theory of high-pressure freezing, the design of the first commercial high-pressure freezing apparatus (the Balzers HPM 010), the operation of this instrument, the quality of freezing, and novel structural observations made on high-pressure-frozen cells and tissues.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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