Cryo Archives - Quorum Technologies Ltd


In this series Dr Anna Walkiewicz, the Quorum Application Specialist, will talk about different processes within the sample preparation workflow and breaking them down into simple steps, solving common problems and looking at how to improve efficiency and efficacy.

The first coffee talk, The Scary Vacuum, will be addressing issues regarding the vacuum: why do we need to consider if our samples are sensitive to the change of pressure and how they will behave in the vacuum environment.  Dr Anna Walkiewicz will be giving advice how to prepare samples in the correct way, so we see their natural appearance rather than an outcome of the pressure change modifying their morphology. Register here Coffee Talks with Dr Anna Walkiewicz – The Scary Vacuum 14th September – Quorum Technologies Ltd



See a piece below from our customers at the Cambridge Advanced Imaging Centre at Cambridge University.

Cambridge Advanced Imaging Centre (CAIC) forms the hub of a network that draws together imaging activity across the whole University to serve the biomedical community. Many powerful modern imaging techniques have recently been developed, yet their exploitation in biology and biomedical research has largely been prevented by the high cost of their translation into widely available instruments and the specialist skills required for their use, including handling the vast volumes of data they generate. As a consequence, instruments developed in laboratories within specific Cambridge research programmes are often not available to the University’s wider biomedical research community.

Our Verios 460 SEM is equipped with a Quorum PP3010T cryo-SEM preparation system. Cryo-SEM allows imaging of soft, hydrated biological or materials samples in a frozen state. One of the major advantages of cryo-SEM is that samples can be imaged with minimal preparation without the need of any prior fixation or dehydration steps; a disadvantage is that sample throughput is fairly low compared to other methods. Specimens are mounted on an appropriate cryo-SEM shuttle, are plunge-frozen in slushed liquid nitrogen and then transferred to a cooled prep stage. Once on the prep stage, samples can be fractured, sublimed to remove any residual ice, and coated to improve contrast and conductivity (CAIC routinely uses a platinum target). Then, the sample is transferred onto the SEM cryo-stage for imaging. As cryo-SEM requires about 2h of run-up and run-down time of the system apart from the actual imaging time, we recommend half-day or whole-day bookings.

Some images below from their cryo-SEM



Cryo-SEM of microcapsules
Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (ω-3 PUFAs) are extremely important in human physiology. The primary source is typically obtained from fish oils. Whilst there is scientific evidence linking the consumption of ω-3 PUFAs to reduced risk of breast and prostate cancer, high blood pressure and blood circulation – the daily intake in many Western societies falls below the recommended minimum levels. Taking supplements and enrichment of foods is an ideal way to increase the ω-3 PUFAs levels in the diet.

Microencapsulation with modified cellulose by spray-drying provides an alternative way of supplementing where the final product is a fish oil powder additive. The cellulose coating surrounding the oil also improved the stability against oxidative rancidity for up to 12 – 24 months.

The microstructure and encapsulation efficiency can be determined by various methods including cryo-electron microscopy. The cryo-SEM micrograph below shows a variety of spray-dried microcapsules ranging from 1.5 to 17 μm, prepared for imaging using the Quorum PP3010. Preparation includes applying a thin layer on mounting media, vitrification in slushed N2 (-210 °C) and sputtering with Pt (1 – 2 nm). Inset image shows the cellulose coating of a fractured capsule of diameter ≈ 25 μm with wall coating thickness ≈ 571 nm.

Dr M. S. Taylor



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