Annals of Botany

Intracellular ice and cell survival in seeds of Acer

A study of embryonic axes of silver maple, Acer saccharinum, subjected to various drying, cooling and warming treatments, finds that intracellular ice formation is not necessarily lethal.
Intracellular ice and cell survival in seeds of Acer
Intracellular ice and cell survival in seeds of Acer

Efforts to cryopreserve germplasm of recalcitrant-seeded species are hampered by potentially lethal intracellular freezing events. Wesley-Smith et al. study embryonic axes of silver maple, Acer saccharinum, subjected to various drying, cooling and warming treatments and find that intracellular ice formation is not necessarily lethal. In fully hydrated axes cooled at an intermediate rate, the interiors of many organelles are apparently ice-free and this may prevent the disruption of vital intracellular machinery. The findings challenge the accepted paradigm that intracellular ice formation is always lethal, as the results show that cells can survive intracellular ice if crystals are small and localized in the cytoplasm.

%d bloggers like this: