Research Highlights: Can Blood Withstand Absolute Zero Temperature?

Blood plasma bag, labelled 'A', filled with theatrical blood (blood plasma bag)

Can Blood Withstand Absolute Zero Temperature?

  • One of the things that make humans alive is the liquid called blood.[2]
  • Whole blood is a mixture of cellular elements, colloids, and crystalloids.[2]
  • Blood consists of red blood cells also known as erythrocytes which is responsible for transport and exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide between the lungs and other tissues.
  • Researchers froze red blood cells in absolute zero temperature.
  • Absolute zero temperature is equal to −273.15 degrees on the Celsius scale or −459.67 degrees on the Fahrenheit scale.
  • Absolute zero is the temperature at which a thermodynamic system has the lowest energy.[3]
  • Red blood cells were collected in anticoagulant citrate dextrose solution.
  • The red blood cells were preserved by glycerolization and sealed in glass ampule bottles.
  • The filled ampule bottles were frozen to -272.29 degrees in liquid helium under high vacuum.
  • Biological tests were performed after thawing.
  • The glycerol was removed from the red blood cells through three-stage dialysis.
  • After the glycerol was removed, test showed that only 1 percent of the red blood cells were ruptured or destroyed.
  • Intracellular potassium level was within the normal range.
  • Potassium is required for normal cell function because of its role in maintaining intracellular fluid volume and transmembrane electrochemical gradients.[4]
  • 2,3-Diphosphoglycerate (2,3-DPG) level was also within the normal range.
  • 2,3-Diphosphoglycerate controls the movement of oxygen from red blood cells to body tissues.[5]
  • ATP level was also within the normal range.
  • ATP is known not only as an energy carrier but can also act as a signaling molecule in blood microcirculation.[6]
  • ATP is released by red blood cells when they are exposed to stresses large enough to induce a sufficient shape deformation.[6]


Cravalho, E. G., Huggins, C. E., Diller, K. R., & Watson, W. W. (1981). Blood freezing to nearly absolute zero temperature: -272.29 degrees C. Journal of biomechanical engineering, 103(1), 24–26.