Relating Metabolism Suppression and Nucleation Probability During Supercooled Biopreservation

Anthony N. Consiglio, Boris Rubinsky, Matthew J. Powell-Palm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of biomechanical engineering
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2022 by ASME.


  • ATP-Bio

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.


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