Dissemination of IT for the Promotion of Materials Science (DoITPoMS)



In this TLP, you have learnt how the formation of crystals can occur inside cells by cooling or dehydration, and why this is usually fatal to them. The basic theory behind nucleation and crystallization has been introduced, and the water-sucrose system has been described as an approximation to the composition of cell cytosol.

You should appreciate that some plants and animals have adapted in order to avoid crystallization. The three main ways of achieving this are:

  • through the formation of a glass.
  • through extracellular crystallization (formation of the crystals outside the cell membrane).
  • through the use of antifreeze proteins.