Sugars Preserve Organs Longer

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Growth of ice crystals during organ preservation at low temperatures leaves them unfit for transplantation. Several carbohydrates have the ability to prevent the growth of ice crystals. This ability correlates with the hydration number which is the number of water molecules bound to one carbohydrate molecule. A team of scientists calculated the hydration index which takes into account the hydration number and the volume of a carbohydrate molecule, and found that it can accurately predict the carbohydrate's ability to inhibit ice crystallization.

Such an index would also help understand how well prospective antifreeze materials would work. The findings have been released in the December 2008 issue of the American Chemical Society.


Down To Earth, February 2009