Introduction Current Trends in Cryobiology

  • Audrey U. Smith
Part of the The International Cryogenics Monograph Series book series (INCMS)


Cryobiology is that branch of science which deals with the effects of reduced temperatures on living organisms, their constituent parts, and their products. Nearly 300 years have passed since publication of the first monograph on the subject: it was entitled “New Experiments and Observations Touching Cold” and the author was Robert Boyle (1). In it, he described experiments on cold storage of fruit, eggs, and meat and the changes in their texture after freezing and thawing. He found that living frogs and fish would survive short periods of encasement in ice but not complete freezing throughout their bodies. He also described two modes of human death from cold. In one, the subjects became drowsy while their entire body was gradually invaded by cold. This process was painless. The other mode of death affected knights in armour who were seized around the waist by cold and suffered unspeakable torments until they died or were released. Boyle mentioned that corpses buried deep in the snow in Greenland were in a state of perfect preservation 30 years later but underwent rapid putrefaction after thawing.


Cold Storage Polar Bear Rapid Putrefaction Banking Organ Living Frog 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1970

Authors and Affiliations

  • Audrey U. Smith
    • 1
  1. 1.Clinical Research Centre LaboratoriesNational Institute for Medical ResearchLondonEngland

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