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Name: Jonathan
Status: student
Grade: N/A
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Question:
I'd like to know is it possible to freeze a plant and revive it? If so, what mechanisms are involved?


Replies:
Jonathan,

While this might be possible with some rare species of plants, in general it is not viable to do this. When you freeze a plant the water in each of the cells freezes, which expands and lyses the cell--it basically makes the cell wall bust open. When this happens to all of the cells in the plant it withers very quickly and dies because it no longer has any structural support and cannot segregate the components of each cell as needed.

Matt Voss


This is a difficult question because it depends upon the plant, the freezing temperature, the freezing history (i.e. has the plant had the opportunity to adapt to colder weather), and a number of other variables. Some plants even generate their own "antifreeze". There is a very interesting book entitled "Ice" by Mariana Gosnell that devotes a couple of chapters to the freezing mechanisms in plants. I think you will find a complete answer to your question there.

Vince Calder


It is possible to freeze certain plants that have the capability to withstand freezing. Often such plants are from temperate climates and live more than just a single growing season.

Jim Tokuhisa, Ph.D.



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