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Volume 167, 2013
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What happens to the structure of water in cryoprotectant solutions?

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Cryoprotectant molecules are widely utilised in basic molecular research through to industrial and biomedical applications. The molecular mechanisms by which cryoprotectants stabilise and protect molecules and cells, along with suppressing the formation of ice, are incompletely understood. To gain greater insight into these mechanisms, we have completed an experimental determination of the structure of aqueous glycerol. Our investigation combines neutron diffraction experiments with isotopic substitution and computational modelling to determine the atomistic level structure of the glycerol–water mixtures, across the complete concentration range at room temperature. We examine the local structure of the system focusing on water structure. By comparing our data with that from other studies of cryoprotectant solutions, we attempt to find general rules for the action of cryoprotectants on water structure. We also discuss how these molecular scale interactions may be related to the macroscopic properties of the system.

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Publication details

The article was received on 10 May 2013, accepted on 17 Jun 2013 and first published on 17 Jun 2013

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C3FD00084B
Citation: Faraday Discuss., 2013,167, 159-176
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    What happens to the structure of water in cryoprotectant solutions?

    J. J. Towey, A. K. Soper and L. Dougan, Faraday Discuss., 2013, 167, 159
    DOI: 10.1039/C3FD00084B

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