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Science Technology

Antifreeze Protein Synthesised 13

Self Bias Resistor writes: "According to an article in New Scientist, an antifreeze protein naturally produced by Antarctic fish has been synthesised by U.S. researchers at the University of California. Apparently, this discovery could have a wide variety of applications such as frost-resistant concrete, as well as making the storage of human organs and frozen food easier."
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Antifreeze Protein Synthesised

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  • cryogenics applications

    automotive applications

    and a new flavor for sports drinks
    • Speaking of automotive/sports drinks (and maybe synthetic proteins)... the intro video to Command & Conquer (where it pretends to be flipping through channels) has at one point a guy on a skateboard drinking from what looks amazingly like a quart of motor oil... Maybe this story is the herald for that new drink - "Mobilade"
  • As far as I know, car anti-freeze is bad for the environment if you let it drain out. One possible application of these chemicals could be anti-freeze that would be bio-degradable (or does this already exist?).


    • If we just warm the Earth enough, we wouldn't have to worry about anti-freeze...

      OTOH, how would we splice these proteins into our human genome such that cryonics would actually be possible without exploding cell walls during freezing? I wish there was more about that in the article.

      Dancin Santa
    • Well that depends on what sort of anti-freze you talk about. If it is the one used in sprinkler-fluid, then it is ordinary ethanol (at least in Europe.. and biodegradable: Hell Yes :-)

      If you are talking about substitutes for fuel or lubricant oil, then i dont know though, but i would suspect, that ordinary oil would not freexe at normal temperatures (except in the extreme arctic or antarctic environments) and similarly with kerosene or petrol, they are liquid below 0C centigrade as they is, and the additives in those is not for antifreeze, bur rathre for engine performance and durability.

      Yours Yazeran

      Plan: to go to Mars one day with a hammer.

  • Surprised no-one has mentioned suspended animation, not just an organ but the whole body. After all we've all seen those pics of kids revived after being almost frozen ... well now with a modest amount of oxygen and a really really slow metabolism new possibilities emerge.

    Ice formation was always the main problem ... perhaps now the "sleep ships" for interstellar travel are one small step closer. Or even Mars.

  • Ummm...maybe I am missing something obvious, but how would an anti-freeze PROTEIN help us form frost-resistant CONCRETE? I guarantee that your average protein is larger than what you will find in anti-freeze, which probably means that the commercial version would permeate better. Never mind the fact that concrete doesn't have cells, protein, tissue, etc... Any ideas?
    • but how would an anti-freeze PROTEIN help us form frost-resistant CONCRETE?

      I think the point is that since the protein can be added to water to reduce the freezing point of the water, it would be useful in allowing the concrete to set up in below freezing conditions. Also, much of the cost of road repair is due to the ground freezing and buckling, I assume that if you add this protien to concrete, it would reduce damage caused by moisture that later seeps into the concrete freezing and thawing. This would not be possible with alcohol based anti-freeze.

    • Concrete take a long time to cure fully. It is an interesting fact that while the Hoover Dam was "Completed" in the 30's, the concrete that was poured to create it will not fully cure for another 40 years or so. Large pours would definatly benefit from a lower freezing point in the liquid used in the mixing of the concrete. Plus, in climates where road repairs can be necessary during the winter months, the concrete can be aloud to cure without worrying about it freezing and creating a weekness from the fractures that form as the water expands under freezing.
  • "Human blood platelets, destined for transfusion, are damaged by cooling to around 4C. The deterioration is linked to a cell membrane transition from a liquid crystalline state to a gel state, says Ann Oliver, but AFGPs seem to provide protection."

    Perhaps a vaccine could be developed, as a precautionary measure, to help those exposed to extreme cold - ie. Deep sea divers, scientists in Antarctica, astronauts on Mars...

    Problem is...I don't think too many people would be so keen on having fish protein in their system - people are freaked out enough with GM foods.

Karl's version of Parkinson's Law: Work expands to exceed the time alloted it.