Relating Metabolism Suppression and Nucleation Probability During Supercooled Biopreservation. Academic Article uri icon


  • Aqueous supercooling provides a method by which to preserve biological matter at subfreezing temperatures without the deleterious effects of ice formation. The extended longevity of the preserved biologic is a direct result of a reduction in the rate of metabolism with decreasing temperature. However, because the nucleation of ice from a supercooled solution is a stochastic process, supercooled preservation carries the risk of random ice nucleation. Theoretical supercooled biopreservation research to date has largely treated these biological and thermophysical phenomena separately. Here, we apply a statistical model of stochastic ice nucleation to demonstrate how the possible reduction in metabolic rate is inherently related to supercooling stability (i.e., the likelihood of ice nucleation). We develop a quantitative approach by which to weigh supercooling stability versus potential metabolic reduction, and further show how the stability-metabolism relationship varies with system size for two assumed modes of nucleation. Ultimately, this study presents a generalizable framework for the informed design of supercooled biopreservation protocols that considers both phase transformation kinetics and biochemical or biophysical kinetics.

published proceedings

  • J Biomech Eng

altmetric score

  • 14.35

author list (cited authors)

  • Consiglio, A. N., Rubinsky, B., & Powell-Palm, M. J.

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • Consiglio, Anthony N||Rubinsky, Boris||Powell-Palm, Matthew J

publication date

  • July 2022