Hexagonal shaped ice spicules in frozen antifreeze protein solutions

P. W. Wilson, M. Gould, A. L. DeVries

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the presence of antifreeze proteins from both Antarctic and Arctic fishes, water freezes in the form of long c-axis spikes or spicular-like crystals. Transmission electron microscopy of the Pt/C replicas of the freeze fractured spicular ice in a small capillary revealed the presence of many hexagonally shaped structures whose cross-sectional dimensions were between 0.5 and 10μm. Well-defined parallel faces were associated with most fractured and etched spicules. When fracture planes occurred near the tip of a spicule, well-defined pyramidal faces were apparent. Steps were sometimes associated with these pyramidal spicular crystal faces. On some of the replicas obvious roughening of certain crystal faces of the spicule was observed, suggesting that the antifreeze proteins may have adsorbed to those faces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)240-250
Number of pages11
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2002


  • Adsorption
  • Antifreeze
  • Electron microscopy
  • Ice
  • Non-equilibrium freezing
  • Spicules

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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