Ice Nucleation Promotion Impact on the Ice Recrystallization Inhibition Activity of Polyols.

Academic Article


  • Heterogeneous ice nucleation occurs vis-à-vis nucleating agents already present in solution yet can occur within a rather broad range of temperatures (0 to ca. -38 °C). Controlling this temperature and the subsequent growth of resulting ice crystals is crucial for the survival of biological organisms (certain insects, fish, and plants that endure subzero temperatures), as well as in the context of medical cryopreservation and food science. In these environments, uncontrolled crystal shape and size can rupture the cell membrane causing irreversible and catastrophic damage. Antifreeze (AF) proteins and synthetic AF analogs address this issue to restrict crystal growth and to shape ice crystals. Yet, if the nucleation temperature is not controlled and occurs in a lower temperature range, nascent ice crystals will have grown to a significantly larger size before the AF agents can be active on their surface to halt or slow the Ostwald ripening process during recrystallization. At a higher nucleation temperature, diffusion of AF macromolecules is enhanced, and dynamic crystal shaping can start earlier, producing smaller crystals overall. While antifreeze proteins, the inspiration for these synthetic analogs, are always applied in a salt buffer aqueous environment (most typically phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) buffer), the heterogeneous nucleation events are stochastic and occur within a wide temperature range. Silver iodide (AgI), however, is a highly effective ice nucleation promoter as its crystal lattice structure is a 98% lattice match to the basal plane of hexagonal ice (Ih) crystals acting as a template for water molecule orientation and decreasing the interfacial free energy. Here, we expose the advantage of purposely seeding such nascent ice crystals with AgI at a defined and higher temperature (-7 °C) in ultrapure water (UPW) such that nucleation can only come from AgI (and also in AgI/PBS), resulting in the most potent synthetic IRI observed to date (at concentrations as low as 0.001 mg·mL-1).
  • Authors

  • Mousazadehkasin, Mohammad
  • Mitchell, Nick
  • Asenath-Smith, Emily
  • Tsavalas, John
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • February 13, 2023
  • Published In

  • Biomacromolecules  Journal
  • Keywords

  • Animals
  • Antifreeze Proteins
  • Cryopreservation
  • Ice
  • Temperature
  • Water
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 36648113
  • Start Page

  • 678
  • End Page

  • 689
  • Volume

  • 24
  • Issue

  • 2