Author Topic: The Sugar Trehalose Protects Cells from Electron Beam Damage  (Read 2259 times)

Offline JC Spencer

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The Sugar Trehalose Protects Cells from Electron Beam Damage
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2010, 02:27:06 PM »
Comments by J. C. Spencer

Does this finding mean that the sugar trehalose can help protect us from other electron radiation damage? Obviously, more research is needed.  Obviously, trehalose continues to surprise us with it efficacy.  There are only a few good sugars found in nature while nearly 200 are harmful to your health.  Trehalose is one of the good sugars that evidences neurological and other benefits.  We are beginning to understand how trehalose works in protecting the cell, brain, and human body.  We know trehalose maintains integrity of biological systems when under stress.  The researchers at the Université de Lausanne in Switzerland  were surprised to learn that trehalose reduces beam damage from electron microscopy.


Trehalose is an agent useful in maintaining the integrity of many biological systems submitted to various stresses. It is also presumed to improve specimen preparation for electron microscopy and to reduce beam damage. Here we study the effect of trehalose on the preparation and observation by cryo-electron microscopy of thin vitrified films of biological suspensions. We observe that trehalose, as compared to sucrose, can indeed reduce electron beam damage to biological particles, as determined from the dose necessary for the onset of bubbling. Surprisingly, we also find that the contrast of biological particles is higher in a vitrified solution of trehalose than in one of sucrose. This effect can be explained if the water evaporation during the specimen preparation is less in the presence of trehalose than with sucrose, but we do not yet understand the underlying reasons since the evaporation properties of both sugars are similar at a macroscopic level. We conclude that trehalose is truly a remarkable substance and that more investigation is needed in order to fully understand its properties, and that the addition of ca. 320135% trehalose to biological suspensions is a simple and useful method to reduce commonly arising drying artefacts and water evaporation in the thin film vitrification method.
Unexpected property of trehalose as observed by cryo-electron microscopy
by: De Carlo, Adrian, Kälin, Mayer, Dubochet
Journal of Microscopy, Vol. 196, No. 1. (1999), pp. 40-45.

Unexpected property of trehalose as observed by cryo-electron microscopy

De Carlo, Adrian, Kälin, Mayer & Dubochet
0 Laboratoire d'Analyse Ultrastructurale, Bâtiment de Biologie, Université de Lausanne, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland, 1 Section de Pharmacie, Groupe de Pharmacie Galénique, Université de Lausanne, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland