How Do Animals Survive Extreme Temperature Amplitudes? the Role of Natural Deep Eutectic Solvents

Ana Gertrudes, Rita Craveiro, Zahara Eltayari, Rui L. Reis, Alexandre Paiva, Ana Rita Cruz Duarte

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

66 Citations (Scopus)


Recent findings have reported the reason why some living beings are able to withstand the huge thermal amplitudes between winter and summer in their natural habitats. They are able to produce metabolites decreasing deeply the crystallization temperature of water, avoiding cell disrupture due to the presence of ice crystals and overcoming osmotic effects. In vitro, the possibility to cool living cells and tissues to cryogenic temperatures in the absence of ice can be achieved through a vitrification process. Vitrification has been suggested as an alternative approach to cryopreservation and could hereafter follow an interesting biomimetic perspective. The metabolites produced by these animals are mostly sugars, organic acids, choline derivatives, or urea. When combined at a particular composition, these compounds form a new liquid phase which has been defined as Natural Deep Eutectic Solvents (NADES). In this review, we relate the findings of different areas of knowledge from evolutive biology, cryobiology, and thermodynamics and give a perspective to the potential of NADES in the development of new cryoprotective agents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9542-9553
Number of pages12
JournalACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017


  • Cryopreservation
  • Cryoprotective agents
  • Deep eutectic solvents
  • Glycerol
  • Vitrification


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