Thursday, March 1, 2012

It's a cold, cold world

Marine Biology Presentation Summary

Ice presents a big problem for organisms that live in frigid climates. Once the temperature drops below freezing, ice crystals form within cells and eventually burst. However, to this day organisms are found living in these harsh conditions. So how do they do it? Organisms of all types including plants, animals, fungi and bacteria have developed ways to combat the threat of ice formation. One way organisms deal with these conditions is to produce antifreeze proteins (AFP’s). These are specialized proteins that aid in protecting the organism as the temperature drops. Key points in the presentation would include:    
    ·         Introduction
    o   Different organisms that utilize AFP's
    o   Animals, plants, insects
    ·         Background Information
    o   Previous research
    §  Notothenioids
    o   Why important?
    §  First discovery of APF's
    ·         Current research
    §  Diversity of APF's
    o   Analysis of data
    o   Why important?
    ·         Conclusion
    o   Applications of AFP's in society
    §  food technology, preservation of cell lines, organs, cryosurgery, and cold hardy transgenic plants and animals, ice cream preservative, preserve frozen organs and tissues
The antifreeze molecules allow icefish to live in subfreezing water by plugging gaps in existing small ice crystals and preventing the attachment of more ice molecules. Ice crystal growth is thus effectively stopped.

Scientific Literature:
  • For background information and description of the source and properties of AFP's along with their current application and future potential click here.
  • For information on how AFP's inhibit the formation of ice click here.
  • For more information on the presence of APF's in overwintering plants click here.
  • For more information on the structure and function of AFP's click here.
  • For more information on the diversity of AFP's click here.
Additional Information:

1 comment: